Water Colors: Fountain NY 2009

Like the vessel that holds it, the Fountain Art Fair is stripped-down, but glaringly eccentric.

poster for

"Fountain New York 2009" Art Fair

at Pier 66
in the Chelsea 26th area
This event has ended - (2009-03-05 - 2009-03-08)

In Reviews by Amanda Scigaj 2009-03-08 print

The Fountain Art Fair prides itself on independence, so much that this year, for its third anniversary, organizers decided to host it on a barge afloat in the Hudson—a symbolic separation that underscores the show’s desired freedom from the more traditional fairs down the avenue. Clean, white-walled cubicles with neatly lettered placards are traded in for more organic layouts that spill over their boundaries, paired with grease smoke from the kitchen grill churning out hot dogs and clam chowder.

It’s foreseeable that some patrons, even at the five dollar level, might turn their noses up at this seemingly chaotic pairing of the senses. It’s also foreseeable that those same patrons might miss the point entirely. Fountain is a rabidly independent show and its assertiveness is not easy for the squeamish, or those without the requisite sea legs.

Dave Tree, ''Vice and Virtue''

Beginning on the lower level of the barge, dubbed the ‘Murder Lounge,’ artist Dave Tree exhibits works in several mediums that comment on various aspects of American culture. His bottles of virtue and vice on wood are opposite paintings that include a wheelchair-bound man, entitled Army of One, and adjacent to a wall featuring a pair of giant granny panties.

Coco Dolle, ''Legacy Fatale''

Moving upstairs to the bulk of the exhibition space is a melee of galleries, mediums, and messages. On stage is Coco Dolle’s performance and video project Legacy Fatale, a return to feminine strength through the use of costuming that is reminiscent of Tarzan’s Jane with feathers, sequins, and glitter. Steps away, Brooklyn’s McCaig-Welles Gallery had its own femme fatale dancer, albeit patrotically campy, posted outside the The Donkey Party Game, an installation by Greg Haberny. It is a barrage of prescription drugs, religious idolatry, political propaganda, and nods to our current economic situation, saturated in color and subversive frosting that delights the eyes and a viewer’s cynical sense of humor.

Greg Haberny, ''The Donkey Party Game''

John Eberenx, ''Duck and Cover''

Using the entire length of their space, artists represented by Ad Hoc Gallery repurpose Cold War hysteria into pop culture posterity; John Eberenx uses old diagrams of ‘duck-and-cover’ techniques. Peripheral Media Projects creates a wall of life-sized soldiers in riot gear.

Leaving the barge, one can board the lightship ‘Frying Pan’, which spent its better years at the bottom of Chesapeake Bay. In the bowels of the ship is Kill the Ego, a video by Soundwalk. Field recordings from over ten years of subway announcements, the hawking of prostitutes, and excerpts of poetry are played against a backdrop of motion painting, which reflect the ebb and flow of New York City, a cosmopolis that is constantly reacting to its citizens and their activities.

Soundwalk, ''Kill the Ego''

Like the vessel that holds it, the Fountain Art Fair is stripped-down, but glaringly eccentric. Traditional ideas of what an art fair should be are tossed overboard in favor of the artist’s, and the viewer’s, right to freedom of expression— wherever the tide takes them.

Amanda Scigaj

Amanda Scigaj. Amanda Scigaj grew up in Buffalo, New York certain that football ruined her childhood. Since moving to Brooklyn in 2007 she helped build DIY venue Bodega, ran art shows, and became music editor for libertine publication Chief Magazine. She currently splits her time between the production department of a publishing company, and as a freelance writer. In her free time she likes to record hunt, learn random factual information, and is really trying to finish that Robert Moses biography. » See other writings

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