Harlem's Freshest New Art Fair Is All About Growth

Just a train ride uptown, a thriving world of art awaits.

by Katherine Tarpinian
May 17 2015, 12:00am

All photos by the author, courtesy Flux Art Fair

The inaugural Flux Art Fair in Harlem, running May 14 through 17 to coincide with Frieze Week, is a welcoming party just a train's ride uptown, where the international art world has been invited to meet and mingle with Harlem’s artistic and cultural vibrance. The result is electric.

There is dirt, there is violence, and there is life! Artworks emanating a sense of brutality, refined, are presented with care to an engaged and discerning audience inside the tightly packed, two-floor gallery space erected in of the historic and newly restored Corn Exchange Building. Exploring the concept of the 21st century artist as a nomad, local and international artists and curators representing over a dozen countries bring their artworks together at Flux to address themes relating to questions including, “How does one’s nationality, ethnicity, gender, or religion combined with the globalization of politics, society, culture, and technology characterize the visual and theoretical direction of their evolving art practice?”

Their collective response is artillery; mixed-media acts of aggressive salvation from the heart of Harlem, meant to shoot far and wide. Found objects run through the show, inspiring a barrage of mind-bending memories which ground the works in familiar reality—rusted nails, twisted metal, plastic and live succulents, bullets and childrens’ toys, decayed and mutilated. Striking and original works composited from artists’ personally-collected items and experiences fill the space and, combined with the wandering visitor’s active participation, create a fresh narrative of what it means to be alive, emotive, innovative and creatively engaged with the world as it is today.

“That’s what I do,” South African artist Thabiso Phokompe, who presents mixed-media and sculptural works at the show, tells The Creators Project. “I go around all the time, picking things up. I never want to go to an art store.”

Evocative and original sculpture, painting, photography, video and site-specific installations from a diverse group of artists both established and emerging, are complemented by creative edible offerings from local Harlem eateries through Harlem EatUp!, and smooth, live jazz, courtesy of the National Jazz Museum in Harlem, sets a sweet tune. Check out more images from Flux Art Fair below:

Flux Art Fair is open to the public Thursday, May 14 through Saturday, May 16 from 11am to 8 pm, and Sunday, May 17 from 11am to 6pm, with free admission for children under 12, in the Corn Exchange Building, Park Avenue, New York. Click here to learn more. 


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New York
art fairs
Frieze week
Corn Exchange Building
Flux Art Fair
Harlem EatUp!
National Jazz Museum in Harlem
Thabiso Phokompe