The Fountain Art Fair 2012 or ‘Street Art’ with a Decorative Flair?

The Fountain Art Fair would be better off with a logo of a vectorized Mona Lisa than a readymade.

poster for Fountain Art Fair

Fountain Art Fair

at 69th Regiment Armory
in the Flatiron, Gramercy area
This event has ended - (2012-03-10 - 2012-03-11)

In Reviews by Eric Morrell 2012-03-13 print

The Fountain Art Fair relocated to the 69th Regiment Armory on Lexington and 25th Street, moving from last year’s location at Pier 66. The Fountain Art Fair resembled a flea market style arrangement of three wall galleries in a cavernous 28,000 square foot space.

This fair wants to sell itself as a more youthful ‘street’ version of the Armory, a concurrent and larger fair whose name is taken from the original home at the 69th Regiment Armory. The compelling part of ‘street art’ is in it’s ability to declare emotions in a direct and raw way, but what appears here is little more than cartoons drawn on rough boards with at most a flair for decoration.

Uprise Gallery https://www.upriseart.com/

The Fountain Art Fair uses as its branding a block printed image of the Duchamp’s ready-made Fountain (1917), a piece that was made to perplex and confuse. The Fountain, which is nothing more than a turn of the century urinal ripped from a wall and signed R. Mutt on the side, has for nearly a century lit a torch for the digressive soul. The Fountain Art Fair’s association with the readymade is misleading because what is actually happening are people selling pictures, whether it’s pictures of women or pictures of patterns, the booths at the Fair make it very clear that the purpose of the event is to sell you things with names.

Contrast this event with the Armory Show on the city’s West Side where the majority of what the galleries are selling has been far removed from life and society to feel more like art, whether it is or not. Perhaps the Armory show missed a great opportunity of branding in the Fountain image.

But the Armory Show has known what it is for years, a big money art fair, and the Fountain Art Fair is existing only in contrast to it as an anti-Armory Show. Where is the pirate flag? Or at the very least where is the miscalculated youthful abandon necessary to counteract the big mammoth of the blue chips? The Fountain Art Fair should perhaps be considered just another booth in the expanding Armory Show, perhaps a little more inexpensive and with a lot more flat work.

Lucien Dulfan 'Untitled' unspecified size, Broadway Gallery NYC

However if you are a newbie collector testing the waters before jumping in the deep end, there was work to be found. Lucien Dulfan, a painter with the Broadway Gallery, had three works of women attired in burkas. The paintings lacked name tags. It is only after I looked it up online that I found out the larger work is titled Marilyn Monroe (2011), a bit unfortunate. Dulfan’s paintings of these masked figures take on a comic world where they awkwardly jump around with strange dark robes on. The paintings feel real and relevant while also mocking the KKK figures of late Philip Guston paintings thirty years ago. Dulfan has stumbled upon a new flavor of lemming without the stale dust of Guston imitators.

Lucien Dulfan 'Marilyn Monroe' (2011) unspecified size Broadway Gallery NYC

The work from the Uprise Art (https://www.upriseart.com) booth had some especially strong paintings and prints including a large showing of Kyle Simon intaglio prints. These images had the feeling of opening a door into someone’s head. Inside containing a tableau of memories, perhaps, Simon’s memories.

Kyle Simon 'Last Goodbye' 9 x 14in. intaglio

In any large group of exhibits there will always be good work, especially in this City. The Armory Show of 1913 that infected New York City with modernism was a fluke in its ratio of groundbreaking work. In 2012 it is too much to expect a complete overhaul of our belief systems. To suggest what happened in 1913 could occur at a small fair like the Fountain Art Fair is ridiculous, but I would rather not be so reminded of it with the over reaching branding. The Fountain Art Fair would be better off with a logo of a vectorized Mona Lisa than a ready-made. Signing out – R.Mutt.

Eric Morrell

Eric Morrell. Eric Morrell resides in Brooklyn, Ny. He has a bachelors in painting and a worldly degree in film and television. "Wouldn't it be great if all things were as cheap as a gallery visit," Morrell says while scarfing down coffee at a local Jiffy Lube. If you want more of Morrell, go visit his altar ego Mr. Alligator » See other writings

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