Independent New York proves art fairs are still alive


Independent New York: the tour in ten seconds

Independent New York feels like an art fair and a group exhibition at the same time. From September 9 to 12, the more focused embodiment of this year’s fair (20 galleries fewer than in March 2020) includes the work of 100 artists from 43 galleries, with 40 presentations of solo and double artists – more than never. Much younger than the Armory, which will be held on the same dates across town at the Javits Center, Independent is turning 12.


According to Independent co-founder and CEO Elizabeth Dee, nothing is set in this art fair that “decodes talent while creating long-term patrons.” Emerging galleries such as Off Paradise, The Ranch and Regular Normal are clashing with more established names like Lisson Gallery, as well as nonprofits such as Creative Growth, an Oakland platform that features artists. disabled, including William Scott. Despite having cultivated a reputation for showcasing the most exciting new artists to watch, the fair continues to attract powerhouses, such as the former Bosco Sodi.

Exterior view from Cipriani South Street to Battery Maritime Building, the new location for Independent New York. Courtesy of Etienne Frossard and Independent New York

Intersectionality is the big topic of discussion this year. Much of the work presented addresses themes of racial, class, age and gender discrimination, as well as environmental issues and, most importantly, the detrimental impact when they overlap. It’s also important to note the presence of some maverick gallery spaces, such as White Columns, New York’s oldest nonprofit alternative art space that advocates for creators who have yet to receive a grant. broader curatorial or commercial attention.

This year, strong and compelling digital programming will accompany the IRL show, facilitating a global audience despite current travel restrictions. “One of The Independent’s main motivations is to act as a catalyst, to initiate new conversations around art with an engaged and curious audience. At the heart of this dialogue is the work of artists and gallery owners, who remain essential to the Independent’s mission, ”explains Matthew Higgs, founding curatorial advisor of Independent New York.

Grand Hall in Battery Maritime Building, New York. Photography: Swoop. Courtesy of Cipriani South Street, New York

New year, new place

This year, the fair bids farewell to Spring Studios and moves to Cipriani South Street in the Battery Maritime Building – the first time the building will be open to the public after a decades-long renovation. The 1908 Beaux-Arts-style building was once the preserve of New York’s wealthiest, who came to board their boats, while the less fortunate took in the fresh air above the ground as they strolled the promenade overlooking the misty street below. Once at the center of Manhattan’s commercial port, located just south of the Brooklyn Bridge, the neighborhood has become somewhat forgotten in recent years. Not anymore.

“We thought a lot about what would create a safe space,” says Elizabeth Dee. The building can accommodate a museum, and there will be outdoor food and drink areas only: grab a table at the new on-site Cipriani Downtown on the 360-foot outdoor patio while you can. Upon entering through the North Concourse, guests will be greeted by ten galleries, which include the work of Che Lovelace and Chase Hall. In the Great Hall, visitors find a large, airy and light-flooded shed-like room, with a 200-foot-long skylight that spans the entire space. A final area, the West Concourse facing the water, will house a handful of additional galleries in an intimate and more contemplative setting.

Artist Jameson Green in his Bronx studio with paintings, including Neighborhood Games Pt. 2, 2021. Derek Eller Gallery

Artists to see

Jameson Green refers to the history of classical art in his solo exhibition at the Derek Eller Gallery. Imbued with the sinister cartoonish style of Philip Guston and the weight of Goya, his works confront institutionalized white supremacy. “Painting is my sanctuary, my reason. It saved my life, ”he said.

Sally J Han (at the Fortnight Institute) will present four new large-scale works that depict moments of introspection in great detail. For the multidisciplinary and self-taught artist Chase Hall (Monique Meloche Gallery), coffee plays an important role in her work, symbolizing the legacy journey made by so many from Africa to America and the integral racial imbalance in the foundations of the country.

Leilah Babirie, Kuchu Grasshopper Clan Wanyana, 2021, Glazed ceramic and found objects. Courtesy of Gordon Robichaux, NY and Stephen Friedman Gallery, London. Photography: Greg Carideo

Ugandan artist Leilah Babirye (Gordon Robichaux) arouses a keen interest in her sculptures which often use materials found on the streets of New York and explore queer identity. She was granted asylum in the United States in 2018 after fleeing anti-LGBTQI + persecution in her home country.

Oil paintings by Jo Nigoghossian, previously known for her blown glass and steel sculptures, are on display with the new Broadway Gallery. In Matthew Brown LA, Sedrick Chisom’s disturbing and disturbing paintings depict a future world navigating the crippling effects of racial stereotypes. Robert Barber has been producing art since he was a teenager, but was only discovered in the early 90s by Kerry Schuss.

The key players

Bosco Sodi launched his international career at Independent in 2009. He is now back with the Axel Vervoordt Gallery and presents a “chapel” of objects that will be on display in the main gallery space, reflecting the turbulence of the year elapsed and coinciding with his solo exhibition at the Dallas Museum of Art.

Bosco Sodi, Homage to Malevich # 1, 2021, Mixed media on canvas. Axel Vervoordt Gallery

Considered digital innovators in the 2000s when they rose to fame, JODI, the Dutch collective, and Cory Arcangel (Lisson Gallery) will present works that span two decades of dialogue, addressing the impact of technology on culture today. ‘hui. In the context of the current NFT market, work will include vintage Apple computers and large jumbotron displays.

Digital viewing for everyone

Adopting a ‘hybrid model and digital opportunities for storytelling’, Independent will host its first ever online viewing room, featuring exclusive digital material such as Anne Hardy’s new solo show at Maureen Paley, Albert Leo Peil with the gallery German Delmes & Zander, video profiles of First Nations artists by the Fazakas Gallery, as well as editorial coverage, interviews, rare virtual studio tours, podcasts and specially commissioned in-depth videos, further democratizing the offering of the fair. §

Jo Nigoghossian, Nebula, 2020 oil on canvas. Courtesy of Broadway


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