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Fun Gallery

This is the first site of the eponymous graffiti gallery. I love this story from founder Patti Astor “I was meeting all the graffiti artists while we were getting the Wild Style movie together and I asked Futura 2000 to paint a mural in my East Third Street apartment. I celebrated the event with an Art Opening Barbeque. Futura was spraying this gorgeous mural and Kenny [Scharf] (calling himself Van Chrome) came by and … began ‘customizing’ all my appliances, gluing his little figures all over my refrigerator and stove. Keith [Haring] and Fred [Brathwaite] were there, and Diego [Cortez] showed up with [then-corporate art adviser] Jeffrey Deitch.”

The tiny gallery, which started in 1981, gave the first one man shows to many artists including Basquiat, Lee Quinones, SHARP, Keith Haring, Fab 5 Freddy and Revolt. It was renamed and revamped for every show, being named “FUN GALLERY” by Kenny Scharf for his show, which stuck. Scharf created an “Atoms Can Be Fun” front window with doomed, melting figures. Dondi White flooded the Fun with graffiti heads collected from every borough in New York. Jane Dickson painted the space neon green to hang her gritty cityscapes on vinyl. Lee Quinones covering the front with a huge sprayed “MOM.”

More impressively to me, the gallery facilitated the growth and development of their artists’ work without compromising their street cred, which in today’s corporate society, is a feat within itself.

Who: Patti Astor’s Fun Gallery

What: Historical Art Site

Where: 229 East 11th Street

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