Cuchifritos really goes to market this time

Janice Taylor, one plate from the series, JustDesserts


Peter Missing, handmade poster

Charlie Becker, handmade action figures, from a series

There are few spaces where a show called "Represented by Retail" would be more appropriate. The non-profit art gallery/project space Cuchifritos occupies a conventional store unit at one end of a colorful and historical indoor market on the Lower East Side. [note for western downtowners: the Essex Market is something like Chelsea Market, but with a soul]

The exhibition, as described on the gallery site by its curator (and director of the gallery) Paul Clay, "Explores a new crop of artists who are represented as much through retail stores as by galleries." But don't jump to conclusions about crass commercialism or the quality of work offered directly to an open market. More from Cuchifritos:

Critics from this urban/street/corporate scene see contemporary artists as modifying their output to make it gallery-ready and collector-appropriate, which they see as no different from making art that is corporate-acceptable, as long as they feel the primary qualities of their work are still getting out into the world. Some see contemporary artists as simply cobranded with a gallery rather than a corporation, and like galleries, there are good and bad corporations to hook up with. The quest to maintain a level of integrity is the critical goal.

Cobranding of products is seen by many as a dilution of the art by corporate goals in sponsorship, but what is happening now can be read as the artification of commercial products. Viral transmission of art into the commercial product arena.

Making better things through art, every day.

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Published on January 10, 2005 2:06 PM.

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