Go inside the worlds of art, fashion, design, and lifestyle.
Next week, the first all women non-commercial art fair debuts in Miami at Brickell City Centre (open December 7—10). Appropriately entitled, Fair., it is a platform for women and women-identified artists in response to historic underrepresentation in museums, galleries, and collections. There are no booths, there are no galleries, and nothing is for sale.
On view and in dialogue throughout a very public and commercial space, Fair. presents site-specific and specially commissioned works by artists like Yoko Ono, Guerrilla Girls, Pia Camil, Cara Despain, Reed van Brunschot, and more. It is curated by Faena Art’s director of exhibitions Zoe Lukov and gallerist Anthony Spinello. Whitewall spoke with Lukov about Fair.’s groundbreaking debut next week.
WHITEWALL: What kind of fair did you want to establish with Fair.?
ZOE LUKOV: Fair. is an alternative non-commercial platform for women’s voices—a new kind of marketplace for an exchange of ideas. As opposed to the traditional art fair model, nothing is for sale and the artists represented are diverse, multigenerational, international women or women-identified. This a space to address gender inequality to provide a more equal opportunity for women artists. We are committed to addressing issues of fair wage, a fair market and fair play. And ultimately, we wanted a space to reflect on the fact that in many instances our experiences of contemporary art take place within a consumer space.
WW: Why did the location of Miami make sense?
ZL: While I am a born and bred New Yorker, Miami has been my home for almost three and half years. Anthony Spinello and I are partners on this initiative and he has been contributing to the Miami art world as a curator, gallerist and producer for over 10 years. Miami is the city we are a part of and within which we both hope to affect change and contribute to the cultural landscape. This, coupled with the fact that Miami is home to Art Basel Miami Beach and the flurry of fairs and events that transform the city once a year, made it the perfect place to address issues of capital and the market and how art is consumed.
WW: Fair. is curated, asking female artists to create site-specific work in the unique setting of Brickell City Centre. Can you tell us about the artist selection?
ZL: Anthony and I worked together as co-curators. We started with a baseline interest in addressing fair wage, capital, cultural currency, and the way that artists appropriate or invert marketing tactics in order to get their messages out in the public domain. Our interest in the market dovetails with our desire to create a new kind of cultural hub/marketplace for an exchange of ideas as well as with a desire to examine labor and the values we assign to work. So all artists we approached were either appropriating these marketing tactics, making work that included text-based messaging, investigating issues of labor (often invisible labor) or utilizing women’s apparel or making new apparel with socialist and activist messaging. The kinds of work we wanted to include were very specific, but interestingly enough, the women making these kinds of work were from all over the world, of all ages and experiences and at varying moments in their careers.
WW: What kind of tone did you want to set in Brickell City Centre, a large commercial space?
ZL: For starters, we are extremely grateful to our partners at Brickell City Centre and Swire Properties for being open to our ideas and supporting the vision to intervene and activate this shopping center in an entirely new way. Anthony founded Fair. with the idea that a non-commercial fair inside of a commercial space was the only way to address the way that art is so increasingly about the creation of an object for consumption—and that these works are bought and sold within fairs in much the same we shop for any other kind of product. There is some interesting irony and dissonance about a non-commercial fair being housed in this venue in a way that the location actually amplifies the message in a playfully subversive way. The Guerrilla Girls billboards for instance, which so aptly appropriate the usual billboard model of the mall space gain even more traction by being viewed in this setting.
That said, almost more important to me is that the mall is the epitome of a public space, in many instances the shopping mall has replaced the traditional plaza or gathering space and has become a place for convening and community. We believe strongly that art should be everywhere and for everyone. Any visitor to the mall will come across contemporary art whether or not they are looking for it or have any previous experience with art and in experiencing Fair. they may ultimately become part of the works itself. The very existence of Yoko Ono‘s Wish Tree for Peace actually relies on the participation of the public as they wish and keep on wishing.
WW: What are some of the highlights?
Cara Despain was commissioned to create a new audio work for the public elevators of the shopping mall which address the fact that US women make on average 22% less than men in order to reflect on relative time spent getting to the same destination within this kind of mobile transition space.
Pia Camil‘s Bara Bara Bara is an already existing work that was made by stitching together hundreds of t-shirts from the street markets of Iztapalapa, Mexico City. The title itself derives from the word “barato” which means “cheap” and these monumental forms approximate the tarp-like shade structures that retailers in these markets make for themselves and which are so much a part of the retail/ commerce experience. Within the central area of Fair Market. the work takes on an entirely new form and shape in this altered context and so adapts itself in a site-specific way. Reed van Brunschot was commissioned to create all new Thank you for Shopping bags at a scale she had never before attempted—these oversized 12-foot plastic bags, move and inflate slightly in the breeze and are an absurd reminder of the artifacts and symbols that surround us in our daily lives.
WW: Outside of Fair., what are you looking forward to seeing/doing next week in Miami?
ZL: I’m very much looking forward to seeing the opening of the new Institute of Contemporary Art, as a new free, public cultural institution it is poised to expand our conversations in contemporary art. I can’t wait to see the Derrick Adams exhibition at Primary Projects—one of my favorite galleries in Miami and an incredible artist. Full disclosure: I am the Director of Exhibitions at Faena Art, but still have to say I am looking forward to seeing the Faena commission of Phillip K. Smith III which will take over a large swath of the Faena Beach and of course the assume vivid astro focus roller disco which takes over the Faena Forum on second Sundays of every month. This month it coincides with Miami Art Week and will feature some special guest performers. And last but definitely not least, I love going to my dear friend Carlos Betancourt‘s open artist studio-breakfast for the chance to relax after the madness of the week and enjoy a great artists work in the company of lovely people.