Punk Populism, Collectivism, and a “Murder Lounge” at Fountain

Fountain New York 2010 Art Fair at Pier 66

These are not heady times, but neither are they maudlin. We’re just getting really focused on some things that are a bit more consequential.

logo_logo_round_normalIf the Whitney Biennial 2010 is taking hits for being restrained due to budgetary cuts and the Armory is criticized for being overblown, you could say the Fountain show is optimized for impact.  Now in it’s 4th year, there wasn’t any fatty hype that needed to be trimmed. With some of the machine-fog of a bubbled art market clearing, it’s not surprising that there are some strong voices here.

Fountain for me is a kind of raw, dense, and measured survey of the moment, and curator David Kesting steers this 10,000 sf. ship of serious mis-content with an uncanny skill for cutting out the flim-flam.  Herding cats can be easier than directing artists, and a fair number of these felines may border on feral, but the bow is pointed in a surprisingly assured direction. Because of it’s outsider billing you could expect anarchy here but in many ways this collection of 20 or so galleries, collectives, and projects can be rather unified.

And it couldn’t possibly be more thoughtful – Whether it is a Swoon benefit rep speaking earnestly about sustainable communities, La Familia’s co-founder Jennifer Garcia explaining their nearly 50-member collective’s contemplation of the definition of family, Gregg Haberny’s  hyper-wrought stabs at oil oligarchy and hypocrisy in general, street artist Zeus’ dripping corporate logos, or Dave Tree’s shovel-blunt criticisms of agribusiness’s seedless produce, you get the idea that somebody is actually studying the underbelly.  All this frankness is refreshingly hopeful and many pieces are downright fun.  But if these are the artists in the margins that portend our future, we may be heading for a cultural awakening and radical realignment of society.

Greg Haberny (photo ©Steven P. Harrington)

The Guns & Roses album by this name came out the same year as the eco-disaster Exxon Valdez, according to artist Greg Haberny, who is showing for at least his second year here and is a favorite at Leo Kesting Gallery. (photo ©Steven P. Harrington)

Greg Haberny (photo ©Steven P. Harrington)

An artist working in a schizophrenic style, Greg Haberny says, “If I’m off the hook emotionally and not at rest I let my body just go into it and I continue to work in that mode.” Does it feel dangerous? “Yeah, but I love it” (photo ©Steven P. Harrington)

So THAT's how he gets so much energy! Greg Haberny's reworking of a logo reminds me of rollerskating at The Roxy! (photo ©Steven P. Harrington)

So THAT’s how he gets so much energy! Greg Haberny’s reworking of a logo may remind SOME people of of rollerskating at The Roxy in the 1990’s.  (photo ©Steven P. Harrington)

Greg Haberny (photo ©Steven P. Harrington)

” A lot of people come in and say, ‘Oh, it’s street art’ and I’m like ‘no, it isn’t.’ It basically camouflages itself as that. In actuality it is everything you’re not supposed to say.”  (A reworked and shotgunned Mobil sign by Greg Haberny) (photo ©Steven P. Harrington)

Swoon (photo ©Steven P. Harrington)

New York street artist Swoon has a number of pieces in the booth that is raising money for Idea For the Here and Now, a group exhibition of limited edition prints to benefit Transformazium, an emerging collaborative arts center in Braddock, Pennsylvania. (photo ©Steven P. Harrington)

Swoon (photo ©Steven P. Harrington)

Swoon (photo ©Steven P. Harrington)

We Are Familia (photo ©Steven P. Harrington)

Jennifer Garcia, co-founder of the project “We Are Familia”, “It is a collective of about 50 creative individuals from all disciplines. Our main project is this keepsake box project. Each box is made from recycled surplus materials and each is a collaboration of all of the members of the collective. Every keepsake box has completely unique contents and every form is completely unique and all are built a different way.” (photo ©Steven P. Harrington)

(photo ©Steven P. Harrington)

Jennifer thumbs through the contents of one of the Keepsakes, “The outside of this box was done by Fabian, Bedolla, and myself and then inside the box is 30-40 pieces of work.  It pretty amazing actually.  All the work is based on the concept of family.  Every person was allowed to interpret family however they wished, so there is just an enormous range of stuff in here; video, photography, print, zines, paintings, drawings, photographs.” (photo ©Steven P. Harrington)

Part of La Familia, street art duo Thundercut exhibits this 3-D woodcut shadowbox (photo ©Steven P. Harrington)

Part of la familia, the street art duo Thundercut is exhibiting this 3-D woodcut shadowbox (photo ©Steven P. Harrington)

Clowning by Miguel Paredes (photo ©Steven P. Harrington)

Clowning by Miguel Paredes, a Miami artist who is showcasing his “Los Niños” series, a collection in which he uses his children as the subjects in an array of startling yet beautiful paintings. The series depicts an unknown world of the 21st century shown through Paredes’ unique multi-media slant on the art world.  (photo ©Steven P. Harrington)

Miguel Paredes collab with 2ESAE and SKI from Destroy & Rebuild (photo ©Steven P. Harrington)

Miguel Paredes collaborated on a few pieces with New York based graffiti artists SKI & 2ESAE of Destroy & Rebuild (photo ©Steven P. Harrington)

Doug Groupp clowning around at the Open Ground booth (photo ©Steven P. Harrington)

Doug Groupp clowning around at the Open Ground booth  (photo ©Steven P. Harrington)

Emily Bicht uses cutouts and imagery of domesticity on this wall in the Open Ground collective's booth (photo ©Steven P. Harrington)

Emily Bicht uses cutouts and imagery of domesticity and luchadors on this wall in the Open Ground collective’s booth (photo ©Steven P. Harrington)

Subtexture (photo ©Steven P. Harrington)

Subtexture is the moniker of this artist in the “Murder Lounge” in the hull of the boat. “They were throwing away all these “sidewalk closed” old signs.  A few of them were really knarly, really chewed up. And I liked them. So I was developing this illustration style of projecting my photos and tracing them off, creating line drawings and bringing them into Illustrator and colorizing – I did a whole series like that.” (photo ©Steven P. Harrington)

Subtexture (photo ©Steven P. Harrington)

Sorry for the blurriness of this pic – “Xerox transfers – a whole series where I’ve been shooting shadows cast by street-signs. After the transfer I’ve been using steel wool and water just to distress them,” Subtexture (photo ©Steven P. Harrington)

Matthew Craven from the Nudashank Gallery booth (Baltimore) (photo ©Steven P. Harrington)

Matthew Craven from the Nudashank Gallery booth (Baltimore) (photo ©Steven P. Harrington)

Dave Tree (photo ©Steven P. Harrington)

Dave Tree did a number of pieces on shovels (and one wheelbarrow) called “The New American Dustbowl” series. “They are peasants from all around the world and the shovel is an international tool you’ll find everywhere. It’s not just about America, it’s about tampering with the whole process, genetic engineering, cross pollination, and seedless crops. I think that if we are going to survive we have to go back to a personal relationship with the land,” says the artist. (photo ©Steven P. Harrington)

Dave Tree (photo ©Steven P. Harrington)

“Everybody should be growing food somehow.  When I grew up my mother always had a garden.  My grandmother was part Mi’kmaq Indian so I got an appreciation of that. When I was confirmed, she gave me a tree,” Dave Tree. (by the way, Dave Tree is his “rock name”, according to the artist.) (photo ©Steven P. Harrington)

Gawker

Gawker Artists are showing this “Stripping Pen” painting by Steve Ellis, a portrait of downtown nightlife personality Amanda Lepore. (photo ©Steven P. Harrington)

ZEVS (photo ©Steven P. Harrington)

Well known Parisian street artist ZEUS has two canvasses in his typical style of dripping. Habib Diab, of Galerie Zeitgeist explains that the process is called “Liquidating.” (photo ©Steven P. Harrington)

ZEVs (photo ©Steven P. Harrington)

Travelling around the world to malign corporate logos and messages, ZEUs refers to his work as “Visual Attacking”, and sometimes includes “Visual Kidnapping” (photo ©Steven P. Harrington)

The projects in Fountain New York 2010 include NYC based collective The Art Bazaar, Christina Ray – Swoon Benefit for the Braddock PA Studios, Leo Kesting Gallery from New York, Galerie Zeitgeist from Paris, the Brooklyn based project Open Ground, Baltimore based Nudashank Gallery, We-Are-Familia artists collective which will be displaying their keep-sake boxes with work from Whitney Biennale 2010 artist Rashaad Newsome, LA based website ArtSlant, Shelter Island Projects Boltax Gallery and Sara Nightingale Gallery, CREON gallery, UK based Holster Projects and artists installations by: Alison Berkoy, Miguel Parades, Seth Mathurin, Temporary States and Gawker Artists.

Fountain NY 2010
Pier 66 at 26th St in Hudson River Park NY, NY 10011

Telephone: 917.650.3760
Email: info@fountainexhibit.com
Website: http://fountainexhibit.com
Dates: March 4-7; 11am–7pm


Tranformazium

Amanda Lepore “Cotton Candy”

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