Before joining Rhino Horn in the mid-70s, Bill Barrell was also very prolific in the burgeoning Downtown art scene as described in the previous post. Barrell participated in several “Happenings” with his contemporaries. Barrell also staged a few “Happenings” of his own. One of these events, in collaboration with Irene Baker, was called The Colossal Fruit and Vegetable Show, which transformed the Essex Street Market into an interactive art space.
Barrell recalls “So – I would shop at the Essex Street Market. One day, noticing some empty stalls, I thouht what a good idea it would be to rent one and do a show – bring the art right to the people! The idea sat there germinating. Finally, I thought why not mirror what was already there only on a gigantic scale, fruits and vegetables. So, I made huge tomatoes, bananas, eggplant, potoatoes, etc out of styrofoam. Even the scales and weights were foam. We printed up the announcements on shopping bags. Finally – the opening. It was grand. The little old shopping ladies were taken by surprise.”