Crowd-pleasing, attention-grabbing, dirty words wrought from neon have become an unfortunate cliché of mammoth fairs — even Instagram can attest to that. For that reason one would be quick to dismiss designer and artist Sebastian Errazuriz’s “Blow Me,” the wall-mounted arrangement of electric fans and neon insult on view at both the entrance and the Cristina Grajales Gallery booth at Collective Design Fair. But that’s exactly the point. Of fairgoers, Errazuriz has one thing to say: they can “go fuck themselves,” he tells ARTINFO.
Well, there’s a bit more to it, of course. “Blow Me,” an unfriendly triple-entendre, is a response to artists’ newfound obligation to participate in what is becoming, in Errazuriz’s eyes, a circus where potential buyers expect to be wowed: “It’s this crisis of trying to get the people to connect [to your work] and trying to retain your own integrity,” he says of fairs, art and design alike. “The piece tries to respond to that. It literally will blow people away, and at the same time, it will all be telling them to go fuck themselves. I’m going to do what I want to do.”
Ironically, as a member of the Collective, Errazuriz has played a role developing the new fair since its inception. “[‘Blow Me’] is not necessarily critical of all the fairs, or this fair in particular. On the contrary, I’m very happy that this fair exists — but there is somethign to be said that it’s really important to be able to bite the hand that feeds you.” And what reactions does he expect to the piece? There will be people passing by and thinking nothing of it — very few beyond non-native English speakers and very young children, to be sure — but, as for the buyer, “I hope it’s not just someone who just thinks it’s naughty or just likes neon,” he says. “I hope it’s someone who enjoys it in its sense of humor and knows that it’s poking the collector and establishing a dialogue.”
Collective Design Fair opens today and runs through May 11 at Pier 57.
— Janelle Zara