Free Beer! No, Really, Heike Strelow’s Booth at Volta Has Free Beer (But it’s Coors Light)


Since 2005, Volta has cemented its identity as the Armory Show’s cool and trendy little sister. This year Volta helps reinforce that image with a hip downtown address and open, inviting booths sprawling over two floors at 82 Mercer, a light-filled former warehouse in SoHo. Then there is, well, um, the free beer.

Fair-goers are invited to help themselves to a cold one at Frankfurt-based Heike Strelow’s booth. The beers are part of an interactive, social sculpture by the Austrian-born, New York–based artist Mathias Kessler.

Titled “Das Eismeer. Die gescheiterte Hoffnung,” this boozy Beuysian stunt consists of a fridge full of cans of Coors Light, its freezer stuffed with a miniature, 3-D rendering of Caspar David Friedrich’s “The Sea of Ice.” “Landscape has become a fantasy, and Coors Light uses this image of a white mountaintop as an advertisement,” the artist told ARTINFO. Not sure what he means, but the beer was cold and very drinkable. Hipsters lingered in the space discussing contemporary art and other serious topics.

Kessler’s beer fridge sits alongside photographs of landscapes destroyed by lead and coal mining, lending the single-artist booth an environmental bent.

— Chloe Wyma

(Photo by Jess Mandia.)