Rob Pruitt’s Flea Market, an all-encompassing and bountiful work, is also an irreverent commentary about the relationship between art and commerce. Pruitt invited 80 artists to participate in Flea Market, where visitors could contemplate the artwork, bargain-hunt for vintage clothing and posters, have their tarot cards read, or enjoy a cocktail.
At this unusual flea market, set up in the salon d’honneur at the Monnaie de Paris, artists present objects that are dear to them, or that they have made themselves, peddle the excess from their cupboards, sell their masterpieces and create participative events.
Playfully critical of the structures of the art world, and reminiscent of traditional pop art, Rob Pruitt’s work is interpreted equally as the organisation of sensational events and as simple presentations, revealing the creative potential concealed at the heart of our daily lives.
From his glittery paintings of panda bears to his sculptural blue jeans, Pruitt’s work is invariably imbued with incisive humour and an exuberant visual talent. He creates environments in which visitors are free to improvise and experiment, beyond the traditional art realm.
The American artist debuted Flea Market at the Gavin Brown gallery in New York in 2000, where he succeeded in gathering artists like Elizabeth Peyton, Piotr Uklanski and Rikrit Tiravanija, who sold all kinds of merchandise, from prints to handmade objects, in a bric-a-brac setting.
For Frieze 2007, Rob Pruitt persuaded the gallery owner to transform his space into a large flea market where artists would sell affordable editions alongside vinyl records and vintage clothing. In 2009, at the Tate Modern in London, accompanied by Gavin Turk, Tracey Emin and others, he presented a new version of the market as an ironic alternative to traditional Christmas shopping.
… Playfully critical of the structures of the art world, and reminiscent of traditional pop art.
Born in Washington in 1964, Rob Pruitt currently lives and works in New York. His work was exhibited in 2013 at the Aspen Art Museum, in 2012 at the Kunstverein de Fribourg, and in 2011 at the celebrated Air de Paris gallery. In 2010, the Guggenheim Museum in New York presented the Rob Pruitt's 2010 Art Awards ceremony/performance. In 2002, the Consortium de Dijon held an exhibition of his work.
In 2010, the artist was featured in the Fresh Hell exhibit at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris. In 2009, his work appeared in the Touched exhibition at the Liverpool Biennial. In 2005, the François Pinault Foundation opened the Punta della Dogana in Venice and displayed Pruitt’s work in Mapping the Studio. That same year, he was featured in the Seeing Double exhibition at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh. In 2002, he took part in the Shanghai Biennial, and in 2000, in the Protest and Survive exhibition at the Whitechapel Art Gallery in London.