Now in its fifth incarnation and featuring 25 spaces, the Fountain Fair draws the type of unruly installations and unsettling performances that make it an unpredictable must-see attraction during this week's chaotic art muddle.
It's perfect for jaded art lovers wondering where they can stumble across fresh, anti-corporate, stick-it-to-the-man hijinks in a laid back environment reminiscent of Burning Man. Fountain is probably as close to a dive off the ladder of ordered existence as Art Basel week ever gets.
Yesterday, as the modest indie affair opened to a thin trickle of
visitors, sisters Adina and Arielle Biber took the stage as one of the
attractions presented by the Grace Exhibition Space. For their
performance, titled "Symptom Neomatic," the siblings appeared in ratted
hair, Carmen Miranda-style helmets confected from Styrofoam boobs and
raccoon makeup while dissecting sculptural cadavers and impregnating
stuffed animals with paint bombs. Also at Grace was Kikuko Tanaka, who's
"A Tragic Bambi" features a dismembered doe's body parts upon which the artist
It was just one of several performance pieces, which included works by New
World's Limchoy Lee who was tip-toeing through the minefield of the sexual objectification
of black women while wearing a cocktail dress and spiked heels for
Miami's Hotbed Project across the way. You can follow Hotbed performance
unfolding live at Fountain over the next few days here.
Some of the unrulier installations included Greg Haberny's ode to Donnie
Darko and Saint Sebastian and Steve Gagnon's dueling visions of poverty
and opulence in the Magic City unspooling on twin video monitors
stuffed into a homeless persons shopping cart.
While at Fountain, don't forget to pop into the Murder Lounge, its "VIP"
open bar offering the Rums of Puerto Rico free to the public during the
gritty fair. The area also features works by the "grunts" who helped set
up the booths and can't afford to pay to display their own work. Cutltist snagged four silkscreen pieces from artist Dave Tree in the Murder Lounge in the 20 bucks range.
"The Fountain organizers let us sell the stuff here because we have skin
in the game," Tree said while knocking back rum shots. "We also get to
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hang hammocks here at night and sleep for free. Otherwise it would be
impossible for a bunch of us to come here from New York and experience
Basel," he adds.