Sunday, March 04, 2007

Fountain : The Fair I Wanted to Love


Steven Gagnon's Around the World in a New York City Taxi

Fountain was the last fair that I saw in NY. It was free and on a tiny scale that hardly qualified as a fair. It was put together by 8 Williamsburg Galleries and honestly it didn't represent what's going on very well. Partly that's because some of the major Brooklyn galleries have graduated up the food chain-- Pierogi did the Armory, Parker's Box was at Pulse; Eyewash did Red Dot and these fairs were stocked with galleries, born in Brooklyn like Bellwether, Priska Juschka, Schroeder Romero and Winkleman. Still, this was a pretty poor performance. Nuture Art just had someone handing out some info; Jack the Pelican did a, why bother type job that reflected poorly on a great gallery. Momenta Art, Dam Stuhltrager, Stay Gold, Cinders, Figureworks, Supreme Trading, Sideshow, Vertexlist, 31 Grand and other interesting venues opted to put nothing out there at all. Still the fair did have a sincere and fun energy and a decent amount of good work. It was wonderful to be in a place in which you felt that people were happy to see you. All the gallerists were charming and eager to talk about the work and there were things you could buy.

One can understand why some Chelsea galleries thought doing NY fairs was not worth the trouble ( everyone does Miami ). Chelsea is in Manhattan, has a killer brand as the capital of the global art world and has the kind of gallery density and convenience that makes a fair redundant. The problem is that, Brooklyn's dispersed, underground scene still needs a lot of marketing and would benefit from having a fair more than anything. We all know that most of these guys wouldn't be able to get into a NY fair but you could at least send out some freezing souls with signs pointing to Brooklyn.

One standout was a contribution by a Steven Gagnon which consisted of an actual NY Taxi, with video interviews of working cabies projected from inside the cab. The power of their stories worked perfectly with the simple format.

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