A special kind of COMPANY

April 8th, 2008

The shopping list included a variety of items, from a new notebook to some travel gifts to a variety of travel-size cosmetics to a lipstick, and I figured that at least one of these could be found at COMPANY, a gift, for example. Once there, it was difficult to contain myself. I ended up purchasing: a dried flower (this will be a gift, I explained myself); a grand opening banner (a portable artwork, I thought); and a red lipstick (I needed one anyway). The banner is an item from the first product line by Fawn Krieger, launched in November 2007 when the store opened; the other two items are part of her winter line introduced in January 2008. And still, I couldn’t stop. COMPANY was contagious. I decided to get a Performance Underwear Prototype (this will also be a gift, golden hanger included), one in a series of works that are part of a new product line commissioned by COMPANY to artist K8 Hardy.

COMPANY is an evolving and unpredictable art project by the curious and generous artist Fawn Krieger, a project that I curated while working at Art in General in New York, with Meghan DellaCrosse as curatorial assistant. It was certainly an interesting experience to re-visit COMPANY now as an audience member. Fawn’s project is sculpted as a store, and operates like one, too. It consists of an installation at Art in General’s storefront gallery that transforms a window-filled-little-white-cube into a three-leveled boutique-like space with a plethora of vitrines and cases displaying artworks of different sorts under the label of “product lines.” The artworks or so-called products are sculptures in every form, and all of them are unique and irreproducible just because Fawn’s mind is way speedier than her hands. At COMPANY, you can find anything from an oil barrel and a shoe, to a nervous system and some botox or a green card. There is also a TV (remote control sold separately), loose cigarettes, an airplane passenger, and a box of chocolates, gigantic dandruff flakes and dinosaur eggs. They are made in ceramic, wood, felt, paper, plaster, gold leaf, fabric, plastic and other materials. They range in sizes, structural make-up and surface textures. Some are realistic, others far from it. They are anything from funny, intense, absurd, disgusting and beautiful.

But Fawn’s COMPANY is not only an aesthetic endeavor. It also aims at being an economic project, proposing an alternative if slower kind of marketplace with and for artists, as well as unique forms of exchange and engagement with the public. The sales of the first product lines by Fawn were reinvested in COMPANY allowing for the commission of K8’s product line, which was launched in mid-March. And K8 has proposed herself another parameter involving the forms of sales for her work and impacting its actual form and distribution, too: the purchase of an edition of her Performance Underwear includes a performance by the artist at the buyer’s direction; the edition if of 10 including one garment, and is priced at $700 each.

The online art journal MUSEO published an interview that art critic Miriam Katz conducted to Fawn, and a radio interview with the artist was broadcast in San Francisco’s Pirate Cat Radio, available online. (Fast forward to the middle of the recording to skip the music and begin listening to the interview). COMPANY by Fawn Krieger continues until April 26 at Art in General, with current product lines by Fawn Krieger and K8 Hardy on display (and for sale).

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