This presentation at Distribution Hall (also called “Fusebox Hub” for the duration of the recent Fusebox Festival in Austin), was meant as a “playful take” on the form and function of art fairs in the creative milieu. It succeeded at that task generally; eight exhibiting organizations partnered with artists to present booths, varying in selection from stand-alone sculpture installations to floor-to-ceiling fair rosters. Exhibitors entered the building from 4th street to filter through the booths, and then into a larger open room with a stage where DJs and performers cycled throughout the evening. Opposite of the performance stage was a side lawn, with multiple bars serving attendees and food trucks available. The entire experience was walk-up only; no ticketing was required.
An art fair at a performance festival? This could seem like an unnecessary add-on to an already hefty weekend. The selection and curation of the booths was easily as interesting as the Dallas Art Fair last November, though the two are different beasts in terms of size, institutional support, and mission. Having a “hub” with a no-fuss entry and a place to meet and greet some of Austin’s art scene felt sophisticated in spite of some of the fest’s low-tech decisions.
All of the programming for Fusebox was free, and much of it didn’t even have registration forms, which felt so antithetical to the way the art world has responded to COVID. This is the East Austin I remember during younger days of taking road trips to see obscure music in the state’s capital. Open seating, no reservations. Fusebox Festival is an excellent time to get acquainted with some of Austin’s most active visual art talent.