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Tom Fruin - "Starfucker"
by Andrew Paine Bradbury



3 Heiney Girl Bottles, 2003
Etched Heineken Bottles
Tom Fruin is a 29 year old artist on the verge. His second major solo show "Starfucker" opened January 17th at the newly-established Mike Weiss Gallery (520 W. 24th Street) in Chelsea and will run through February 21. Fruin's first major show, at Stefan Stux in 2002, caused quite a stir. The show "Cultural Narcotics" consisted of several tapestries that resembled quilts that were made from discarded drug bags sewn together. The quilts-quite aesthetically beautiful and abstract from afar, more macabre on closer inspection-were named after the neighborhoods that Fruin found the bags in. Because some of the bags still contained small amounts and residue of narcotics (primarily heroin), there was talk in the papers that Fruin and the gallery could be guilty of drug possession. The noteriety increased when the actor Willem Dafoe bought one for $30,000 as was reported in Page Six. Eventually no charges came, but the chance remains that the new show could warrant similar attention.

Though the name implies a fascination with celebrity culture, "Starfucker" continues on the themes of Fruin's earlier work-addiction, vice, and the power of packaging. Tom Fruin currently lives in DUMBO.

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WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO CALL A SHOW ABOUT ADDICTION AND VICE STARFUCKER?
I suppose that there is something inherently excessive and base with a "starfucker." It seems to imply that there is no end beyond the chase of the inaccesible.

YOUR LAST NEW YORK SHOW FEATURED SEVERAL FLAGS MADE FROM DISCARDED DRUG BAGS SEWN TOGETHER. PAGE SIX ALERTED THE COPS BECAUSE SOME BAGS STILL HAD PRODUCT. HAVE THE POLICE SHOWN ANY OTHER INTEREST IN YOUR WORK?
I was warned not to visit a show in Cleveland, as I might get arrested. But I've flown with the pieces in carry-on luggage and never been harrassed, unless you count the extensive bomb checking I always seem to get singled out for.


Magic Johnson, 2004
Etching with Mixed Media

THINK THEY'RE GOING TO CHECK OUT STARFUCKER?
They might. There's one work in this show ("Vial Piece") which is composed of the remnants from an underground party in Bushwick. It has considerable traces of every kind of drug imaginable: mushrooms, Special K, Zanax, weed, ecstasy, Viagra plus glowsticks, a burnt Homie, the beginning of someone's phone number on a cigarette box lid, a $50 bill, a CD entitled "Pimpin' Ain't Easy", and lots and lots of grimy dirt.

SOUNDS LIKE A, UH, GOOD PARTY. WHAT'S WAS YOUR FAVORITE THING YOU EVER FOUND ON THE STREET?
My favorite and least favorite was the 7 of spades that completed "Discard", my eight-year collection of found playing cards, an attempt to find a complete deck. The finished piece has 255 cards (52 unique and all multiples). The 7 of spades was folded and in the center of a sidewalk on a deserted street...I knew it was the final card before i touched it.

THE NEW SHOW ALSO FOCUSES PROMINENTLY ON ALCOHOL. WHAT DIFFERENCES DO YOU SEE BETWEEN LEGAL VICES AND ILLICIT DRUGS?
I am not sure I do perceive a difference: both are marketed and packaged for consumption with a certain ammount of truth and deception. I think someone is definately profiting on both.

HAVE THE HEINEKEN PEOPLE SEEN YOUR "HEINEY GIRLS"(A SERIES OF NUDE PINUPS CARVED ONTO HEINEKEN BOTTLES)?
A friend happenend to meet a rep at a bar and gave her the card which she showed around to everyone at the office. They were working on some kind of sponsorship, but a higher-up killed the idea.

CAN POTENTIAL BUYERS "SAMPLE" YOUR ARTWORK BEFORE PURCHASE?
Uh... no but once they are bought, I suppose you could do whatever you wanted with it.

HOW IS YOUR ART PRICED COMPARED TO IT'S STREET VALUE?
I once considered trying to make an entire piece of full bags and realized the prohibitive price. But the demand is so high for these works that they are probably close in street value to market price

IF YOU COULD FUCK ANY STAR, WHO WOULD IT BE?
Beyonce


-- Andrew Paine Bradbury




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mail@freewilliamsburg.com | February 2004 | Issue 47
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