There’s certainly a rich and eclectic range of merchandise on offer in the Venice iteration of Rob Pruitt’s legendary Flea Market, which is currently occupying the A plus A Gallery, just around the corner from the Palazzo Grassi. From Brent Owens’s whittled wooden toothbrushes to Zoe Bedeaux’s stock of false eyelashes formerly owed by Louise Nevelson or Giuseppe Abate’s fake grizzly bear fur, there really is something for even the most outlandish art world tastes and, as a refreshing antidote to the opaque price points of conventional galleries or art fairs, vigourous haggling is actively encouraged.
Doing especially brisk business is the Los Angeles artist Gracie Devito and her new York compadre Peter Harkawik, who are selling the favourite sandwiches of notable individuals past and present, including Hillary Clinton (cubed chicken, shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, light vinaigrette on pitta bread); Sidney Poitier (grilled leeks, asparagus foam, dandelion greens on organic sourdough); Helen Mirren (sardines, sun dried tomatoes, dill mache on sunflower roll) and Tina Turner (banana, organic strawberries, kiwi, manuka honey, almond butter on whole wheat). However there were few takers for the combo of kippers and sugar-free quince paste on sourdough toast that was apparently the sandwich de choix of Mary Shelley, who admirably refused to eat sugar in protest of the treatment of slaves on sugar plantations. Equally unpopular were Fatty Arbuckle’s blend of rabbit sausage, radicchio, and mustard on pumpernickel. And anyone ordering a Cady Noland is destined to go hungry: the artist firmly refused to co-operate and so her ingredients have been "redacted".