leo fitzpatrick’s home alone gallery is changing the art world
The actor and artist’s gallery has never sold a single painting, and he wants to keep it that way.
Photography Corey Olsen
Now in its 13th year, Art Basel Miami Beach has reportedly already smashed its past years' sales. Gallerists from around the world spend exhausting, marathon days negotiating with collectors and vying for the public's attention among thousands of other booths. Barefoot, drinking a Budweiser, and flipping through the latest issue of Thrasher, actor and artist Leo Fitzpatrick is having an afternoon that's light years away from every other gallery owner in Miami. Why? Because Home Alone 2, the space he co-owns with fellow artist Nate Lowman, is perhaps the only art gallery in the world that refuses to sell anything, ever.
To celebrate the opening of its newest location in Miami Beach, Ian Schrager's EDITION Hotel turned four ground floor bungalows into pop-up galleries. Next door, Fulton Ryder a new book by Marilyn Minter, Half Gallery and Harper's Books had new paintings from Genevieve Figgis on display; Home Alone 2 is showing a pile of vomit. "Housekeeping has tried to clean it up like five times," said Leo, before helping one visitor take a selfie with the glistening puke. i-D caught up with Leo to talk creativity, friendship, and the perfect puke recipe.
So what's with the puke?
The artist is Sue Williams. It's made out of resin and sponges. She actually gave us the recipe as to how to make it if we wanted to make more. We've tried it like six times but we can't get it as good as hers! Our vomit was just a little too flat.
Tell us about your gallery.
Home Alone 1 was just a storefront window that we would display pieces and invite different artists to install in. We called it Home Alone because there was no entrance, it was just a stand alone window. It was actually more enjoyable for us because we don't want to be an art gallery, we just want to put art in all kind of places and catch people off guard when they experience it somewhere they'd never expect. But we lost that store front window and we're closing Home Alone 2, our space on Forsyth St, in January.
Will there be a Home Alone 3?
Yes, but we are going to try to rethink it. Right now, we are homeless and alone! For me, it's more about finding a weird space that excites people. I've always wanted to do gallery in Koreatown. How awesome would it be to walk down the street and bump into a Richard Prince painting in a random window? Rethinking these weird, awkward spaces and turning them into rad pockets of art is so much better. I actually thought to buy a house in Detroit and give it to a bunch of skater kids out there and then let them start their version of Home Alone. I would love for kids to just take the Home Alone name and run with it. It is just an idea about reclaiming art and making sure it doesn't get too bourgeois and bullshit. When you don't sell art, you work with so many more people because you're not a threat to other galleries' profits. We work with so many amazing artists because they love what we do. They think it's ridiculous.
You're probably the only gallery showing in Miami with no intention of making money, what's your response to the fair atmosphere?
Most galleries now have to sell a piece of art once a month to even pay the rent. I think this really affects the art world because nobody's taking chances; everybody is making very sellable art, but that isn't what art should be based on. I understand these fairs need to exist, but to me, the way they're set up is not visually exciting, it's about commerce. With these things, you have to think outside the box, you've gotta have fun. A lot of my friends who are artists get successful really fast and then they are burnt out because they didn't have time to have fun. Artists need to fail a few times in order to reset themselves and think. Nobody wants to see someone hit a home run every single time.
What's the best part of Miami?
Hanging out and getting to meet other people and other artists, it's like day camp for adults. I don't have enough money to go to fairs or buy paintings, but a beer is three bucks and you build a relationship that way, by being a genuine person. I'm just a skateboard kid and the only reason I started a gallery is because no one said I couldn't. Anyone can do it! I love it when I go to somebody's art show in their kitchen. If you can have a beer with your friend and do some creative shit, that's what it's all about. You want your friends to be as proud of you as you are of them, that's the momentum you need to keep a community going. That's why I would like the idea of doing something in Detroit; just to give five friends the freedom to do something. I just love the idea of community, people supporting each other, and things building. I don't think you need any money to do that, you just need this guy to encourage the other guy and the other guy to encourage the next and then fuck it, you have a scene going. When I would see Dash Snow at a Gang Gang Dance show, he would get so excited that he would run to his studio and start creating amazing work. It's just about supporting each other. For me selling the art is like giving up, I don't even want to pretend to be a part of that club. We'll do it our way.
Text Emily Manning
Photography Corey Olsen