One of the missing factors of the often passive art fair experience is participation, and the desire for attendees to have meaningful experiences at these events.
The artist Rob Pruitt seems to understand this disconnect and has created a roving and conceptual “flea market.” This past weekend, in collaboration with LAND, he brought the 9th edition of it to Los Angeles where the likes of Amanda Ross-Ho, Friends With You, Cole Sternberg and John Kilduff converged on a warehouse space in Downtown LA, manning tables, creating experiences and selling unique items from their artistic lives. While so many of us will never be able to afford an original painting or sculpture from these artists, it doesn’t mean we don’t covet their work in our lives. Nor does it mean we don’t want to have the opportunity to interact with them in a relaxed and casual situation. How often is it that you can walk through a warehouse and chat with your favorite minds about their ephemera? Pruitt’s flea market levels the playing field in a truly fun way and makes it so there’s something for everyone that loves conceptual art.
I had a power hour to walk the market in between LAABF and the FYA/Goodreads artists readings and I wish I had at least two more. Starting with my favorite donut painter’s newest project, a live painting booth, I sat in my throwback chair and created 4 poses in 4 minutes.
Amanda Ross-Ho was selling a beautiful selection of her studio rags. She told me she had been collecting them for a year.
Cole Sternberg’s table had an absurdist dystopian vibe to it – where he displayed saltwater, blankets and one piece of art.
There were paintings by price. There was even some finger casting by the artist and sculptor Anna Mayer. I can’t remember if I’ve ever cast any body part since 2nd grade, but it was genuinely fun to have green goop applied to my middle finger as we chatted shop and what it means to work with artists’ hands.
And when it was over, I left with my own custom sketch. There were many things I did not get a chance to see at the Flea Market, but the good news is that I believe there will be a 10th edition somewhere around the world soon. In the meantime, check out Rob Pruitt’s Flea Market on eBay.