Fusebox Festival 2022: The “It’s Not” Fair

by William Sarradet May 4, 2022
A photograph of the entrance to Distribution Hall during Fusebox Festival 2022. A warehouse with an open bay door features four booths and attendees walking between them.

The Fusebox Festival Hub at Distribution Hall in Austin

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.

A photograph of a television screen. A woman in a blue bodysuit stands amid a blue background, mid-movement

Hiba Ali, “curses,” 1080 HD Video, 2022, presented in collaboration with Black Mountain Project

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.

An airbrush painting of a beach sunset surrounded by a magenta halo, with the words "Bored with Disappointment" painted on it. The Painting is on plexiglass and is hung on a wall of black and white marine flora by Jules Buck Jones

Michelle Devereux, “Bored with Disappointment,” airbrush on plexiglass, 2021, presented in collaboration with MASS Gallery. Wallpaper by Jules Buck Jones.

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.

An installation view of a sculptural collaboration between Andie Flores and Sam Levine. A Tv on a stand sits in the corner, three didactic prints hang on the wall, and a tent with sandbags is set up on the floor.

Andie Flores & Sam Lavigne, “The APD Recruitment Initiative,” single channel video, prints, 2022, presented in collaboration with The Museum of Human Achievement

A photo of a television displaying a Cameo video of Sheriff Joe Arpaio. The screen is subtitled, "you may have a dead end job"

Andie Flores & Sam Lavigne, “The APD Recruitment Initiative,” single channel video, prints, 2022, presented in collaboration with The Museum of Human Achievement

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Michael Anthony García May 30, 2022 - 00:24

In case anyone is curious about who did the curation that was “easily as interesting as the Dallas Art Fair last November” that would be me, the unmentioned curator of the “It’s NOT Fair” and the accompanying “Art Cruise” for Fusebox.

Michael Anthony García


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