Rob Pruitt’s Flea Market – A plus A Gallery

Rob Pruitt’s Flea Market (2000, Gavin Brown’s Enterprise)


From 5-8 May 2015, during the press preview days of the Venice Art Bienalle, American artist Rob Pruitt will bring his renowned project Rob Pruitt’s Flea Market to Venice for the first time. Taking place at A plus A Gallery, a renewed exhibiting venue in the heart of Venice (only a few steps away from Palazzo Grassi), it is organized by the students of the “22nd Course in Curatorial Practices and Contemporary Arts” at The School for Curatorial Studies Venice. The project is curated by Tommaso Speretta.

The gallery will be transformed into an exciting space of exchange. It’s all based on a real flea market, where need, greed and expression all come together.

As Venice has for many centuries been a crucial crossroads of cultural and trade exchange, making it the ideal location for such an event, this particular incarnation of Rob Pruitt’s Flea Market is poised to exploit the art world and its personalities who will be descending upon Venice, functioning parallel to the Biennale as an alternative (albeit more “lo-fi”) experience. During the preview days of the Art Biennale, a wide audience of “art insiders” – artists, curators, critics, journalists – converges with the local community and the complex dynamics of such a unique city, resulting in an exciting social situation.

Traditionally, the commercial aspect of art is swept aside or kept from view, but the new context provided by the performative structure of the flea market breaks down such traditional barriers that separate the artist, the work, and the audience. This becomes a reflection upon the dynamics of inclusion and exclusion in the art world, upon its economical rules, the social value assigned to objects, and the relationship of authenticity and property to the work of art.

A large group of international and local artists will participate in the Rob Pruitt’s Flea Market in Venice. Participants will come together to get rid of the junk in their closets and drawers, hold bake sales and live peformances, and sell crafts or even real art.
Like any flea market, visitors can peruse the offerings and check out the artists’ booths, browsing through their personal objects or everything else the artists choose to sell. By building a playful, active and informal atmosphere where any/everything can happen, each day holds its own surprises.

Artists Gary Fisher and Gilda Manfring will teach you how to transform an old pair of high heeled shoes or a can of soup into a musical instrument you can actually play. Be ready to have your fortune read and recorded onto a vintage classical music cassette by mysterious artist Astro Amanda.
Gracie Devito and Peter Harkawik will transform their booth into a street food stand to prepare the favorite sandwiches of certain notable individuals. Don’t miss the opportunity to feel like Arshile Gorky making a snack while painting The Black Monk, or Michael Bay preparing a sandwich in his “Transformers 5” trailer.
Artist-run magazine E IL TOPO will hold a tribute to Belgian artist and poet Marcel Broodthaers and sell mussels in his honor.

Sissi, the Italian artist renowned for her almost scientific research and analysis of the body, transforms her daily life and emotions into the form of clothing. She will sew a special dress for you right oh the spot – a unique sample of life, numbered and signed by the artist herself.
For wacky airbrushed t-shirts of your favorite art world celebrity, visit Jim Krewson’s stand.

Venice-based artist Giuseppe Abate will present the real fur of a fake grizzly bear along with other trinkets, while making fabulous drawings of visitors; Paola Angelini will be reproducing some of the most famous painted masterpieces as a way of reflecting on her own practice as a painter and the masters from history that have inspired her. Davide Spillari will sell fanzines, marmalade, her grandma’s old collection of 100 year old wood spoons and hand-painted hard rock shirts; FDM will poke at the fashion world by painting low-cost paper bags that will be transformed into a unique object of desire; Alberto Scodro will sell small Ginko biloba trees which he has cultivated in his garden for the last three years with relics and fragments of coloured vases; Japanese artist Kensuke Koike will sell collages made on the spot by assembling fragments of images from fashion magazines.

More exciting projects, objects, artworks and crazy ideas will come from artists: Daniel Eatock, Andrew Ross, Brent Owens, Brida, Cecile Nogues, Corinne Mazzoli, Associazione Fondazione Malutta, Sara Bonaventura, Serena Vestrucci and Francesco Maluta, James Ostrer, Matteo Nasini, Thomas Bullock, Giuseppe Stampone, Römer + Römer, Tankboys, Ileana Ruggeri; Spela Volcic, Phoebe Collings-James, Wayne Chisnall, The Cool Couple, Zoe Bedeaux, Rainer Ganahl, Laurina Paperina.

In addition, the participating students at the “22th Course in Curatorial Practices and Contemporary Arts” will present a special publication for which a series of well-known international artists have contributed an original cocktail recipe. The book is illustrated by photographer Antje Peters and is published by Automatic Books.

The students attending the 22nd edition of the “Course in Curatorial Practices and Contemporary Arts” are: Inessa Baldin, Leonardo Baracchi, Milena Becci, Giulia Belardi, Alice Bontempi, Elena Cardin, Eleonora Coccia, Melania Coretto, Luisa De Palo, Maddalena Di Caprio, Marta Fassina, Giulia Favaron, Valerio Fumarola, Ileana Mantovani, Elisa Marigo, Giovanna Maroccolo, Giada Marson, Ilaria Medda, Marco Miglioranza, Anna Miotto, Isabella Nuovo, Jonathan Paiano, Giacomo Pecchia, Antonella Potente, Sara Rizzardi, Enrica Sbrogiò, Valentina Tebala and Anna Volpe.

The School for Curatorial Studies Venice was founded by Aurora Fonda in 2004 in Venice with the purpose of creating an open laboratory for the expression of creativity in the field of visual arts and the professions related to contemporary art. The “Course in Curatorial Practices and Contemporary Arts,” now in its 22nd edition, is articulated on both a practical and theoretical level towards an experimental approach, culminating in a final event organized by the participating students. The course is an ambitious and challenging project that aims to offer a vision of the complex world of contemporary art and offers a constructive contribution through the works produced by the School and its students.

A Plus A Gallery has been the official venue for the Slovenian pavilion at the Venice Biennale since November 2013 and a hub for Slovene and international artists. Since 2015, under the direction of Aurora Fonda, A plus A will be transformed into a space dedicated to experimenting with new exhibition formats, with the aim of becoming a centre for contemporary art in Venice capable of supporting local and international artists in the production of exhibitions and projects in Venice. Among its principal activities is the The School for Curatorial Studies Venice which since 2004 has welcomed students in Venice to participate in the “Course in Curatorial Practices and Contemporary Arts” directed by Sandro Pignotti.

Rob Pruitt’s Flea Market was presented for the first time at the Gavin Brown’s Enterprise gallery in New York in 1999, bringing together artists such as Elizabeth Peyton, Rachel Harrison, Haim Steinbach, and Meredith Monk. At the 2007 Frieze Art Fair, Pruitt took over the Gavin Brown’s Enterprise booth and invited as many artists as would fit. Participants included Sam Taylor-Johnson, Andrea Zittel, Rita Ackerman, Rikrit Tiravanija, and Jeremy Deller. A Christmas incarnation of the Flea Market was held in December 2009 at the Tate Modern in London, the “Rob Pruitt’s Christmas Flea Market”. Pruitt’s Flea Market took place again in 2012 at the Musée de la Monnaie in Paris, during the “Nuit des Musées”, with the participation of 80 artists, most of them French, following Pruitt’s desire to include artists and personalities connected with the place in which the Flea Market is held.

Rob Pruitt was born in Washington in 1964, and currently lives and works in New York. He has a varied practice that includes the ecopolitics and the eminent demise of the Panda bear, American youth, and global consumer culture. His interest in deconstructing the complexities of contemporary art in order to make it accessible to the mainstream is evident in projects such as “101 Art Ideas You Can Do Yourself”. More recently, he has addressed issues of personal and societal mental health, specifically depression, with a series of color study paintings known as the “Suicide Paintings”. He has simultaneously maintained a practice of performative works such as “Rob Pruitt’s Art Awards at the Guggenheim Museum”, nude artist book signings, and numerous incarnations of “Rob Pruitt’s Flea Market” around the world, including an internet version on eBay (,
Rob Pruitt is represented by Gavin Brown’s Enterprise in New York.

Rob Pruitt’s Flea Market (2000, Gavin Brown’s Enterprise)


Rob Pruitt’s Flea Market (2000, Gavin Brown’s Enterprise)


Rob Pruitt’s Flea Market (2000, Gavin Brown’s Enterprise)


A plus A Gallery – San Marco 3073, Venezia
5-8 May 2015