Affordable Fun for the Other Ninety-Nine Percent

09/01/2010 3:00 AM |

It’s probably a strange and new feeling, at least for most of us, to walk through an art gallery with the knowledge that you could easily purchase any of the works on the wall. But at 99% Gallery in Williamsburg (99 North 10th St), a space “dedicated to underdogs,” virtually any visitor can bring home a piece for no more than the cost of a couple of beers.

Born Under A Bad Sign (through September 10) is a collection of black-and-white woodcut prints by Brooklyn-based artists Martin Mazorra and Mike Houston. Collectively known as Cannonball Press, the artists are offering their prints to gallery-goers for $20 each (“Five for $80!” say the hand-made stickers on the wall). At a time when “non-traditional” art forms like street art and graffiti are grabbing lots of art world attention, and even more cash, the artists stay true to the medium’s humble roots with their low-level pricing.

Their works feature a gruff cast of characters like plumbers and pirates, and plenty of gross-out humor. While most of the prints are collaborations with other artists and collectives, the bigger works on canvas are all the work of Mazorra and Houston. “Party No. 1” and “Party No. 2” depict bacchanalian party scenes: women puke side-by side, a man smokes from a monstrous-looking bong, and a figure in the corner ejaculates into a house plant. “2 Time Loser” is a printed list of suggestive non sequiturs (“You get treated like a cockroach around here. You’re showing more meat than a butcher’s window.”) flanked by garbage cans and spaceships. It’s unpretentious, un-self conscious, and all in all, pretty fun. Hold fast to the knowledge that there’s still some corner of the art world (and Williamsburg, too) that you haven’t been priced out of.