Richard Ellis Headlines 'Shark!' Exhibit In Sag Harbor | 27east | By Michelle Trauring
From a beach near his home in North Haven, Dan Rizzie is wading in Shelter Island Sound and feeling mostly unafraid—even with little sharks swimming around his feet.He has heard the stories of irresponsible or simply unlucky swimmers and seen the infamous 1975 blockbuster “Jaws.”
The baby boomer once bought into the hype—but no longer.
“You just assume that if there’s a shark in the water, it’s going to kill you, when, in fact, they don’t want to mess with you at all,” Mr. Rizzie explained. “But you’ve got to remember that you’re in their territory.”
Beautifully designed, extremely efficient and spread out all over the world, sharks are the ultimate predators. There are hundreds of species, ranging from the 9-inch-long pale catshark to the whale shark, the largest predatory fish in the world, measuring in at 55 feet, with a mouth the size of a Volkswagen that could swallow a sofa, though they prefer to filter feed.
As a whole, sharks are perhaps the most misunderstood creatures on this planet, according to marine biologist and artist Richard Ellis, whose illustrations will be on view starting Friday—alongside work by Mr. Rizzie, April Gornik, Donald Sultan and more—at the Sag Harbor Whaling and Historical Museum.
“The whale shark looks like a shark, but it’s harmless,” Mr. Ellis said during a telephone interview from his home in Manhattan. “What is responsible for their bad reputation is the occasional shark attack by certain sharks on people. So if there is a creature that gets to be 30 feet long that has gigantic teeth and feeds on things like seals and whales, it becomes fairly obvious—though not necessarily true—that they do terrible things to human beings if they find themselves in the water with one of these babies.”