All’s Fair in Art Fairs
Last night's (e)merge opening wasn't the only art-fair kickoff party happening in D.C. That fair has spawned a couple of satellites, both of which enjoyed Thursday night opening events and will continue throughout the weekend. But not without some contention: Now, as it happens, the satellites are launching satellites.
The No Kings Collective has launched Submerge, a flash performance event at 1005 7th St NW. For curator Peter Chang, the timing with the (e)merge fair simply worked in his favor. Art All Night D.C. had already asked Chang to curate a space for the previously established Nuit Blanche festival—a worldwide, all-nighter art party scheduled for Sept. 24 this year. Given the timing with (e)merge, Chang simply asked venue owner Douglas Development whether he could hold on to the venue, near the intersection of New York Avenue and 7th St. NW, for four days instead of one. With the developer's blessing, he brought on DJs, comedians, fashionistos, and other performers to fill out three full nights' worth of programming. Long nights, too: Submerge will stay open until 3 a.m. tonight and tomorrow night.
City Paper already reported on the But Is It Art? Fair, a DIY event curated by artists Alex Ventura and Victoria Milko to counterprogram the (e)merge fair. The question in the fair's title was intended as a spoof, but it turns out that sometimes the answer is "no."
On Monday, Ventura emailed artists Adrian Parsons and Sebastian Rosseau to tell them that their performance was canceled. Both artists are still listed as participants on the fair's website. In his brief email, Ventura explained, "I've spoken with Stephen [Crouch] and we've agreed that, for several reasons, the piece and the group aren't a good fit for what we are absolutely determined to accomplish this weekend."
So Parsons, who is one of the organizers behind the 1337 Vernissage space at 1337 H Street NE, has decided to launch his own damn fair. FairFairFair—a satellite fair to a satellite fair—will take place on Saturday at 1337 Vernissage. He describes the event as a salon des refuses, noting that other artists—Katie Alice Greer and Ian Svenonius among them, says Parsons—had been dropped from But Is It Art? this week. FairFairFair will feature video work by Greer, a 5 p.m. set by Laughing Man, and performances by the Kool Raunch Collective (which includes Parsons and Rosseau as well as Andrew Bucket, Kashuo Bennett, Melinda Diachenko, Haley Dolan, Mary Alice Farina, and Robyn Mincher).
Ventura and Milko did not immediately respond to emails for comment.
"This is an obviously stupid move for a fair with a tongue so far in cheek that it pierces it," Parsons says.
UPDATE: Reached by email, Ventura declined to comment on cancelling Parsons and other artists.