Now in its eighth year in New York, Independent—which also launched an edition in Brussels in 2016—returned for its second year in Spring Studios on Thursday.
Location has always been vital for this highly curated fair, a sort of boutique alternative to its larger peers; its multi-floor site offers sweeping views of the surrounding Tribeca neighborhood, a refreshingly unclaustrophobic vista compared to the convention centers or tents most fairs find themselves within. Independent’s relatively modest size—52 galleries and nonprofit spaces participate in 2017—ensures an experience that is substantive and rewarding without being existentially exhausting.
By and large, the works on view steer clear of fair cliches—the focus here is on well-informed collectors seeking the new, and the newly ascendent, so don’t expect to find a surplus of blue chip names or Instagram-ready spectacles. The Armory Show
is the place for gigantic
sculpture—here, you’re more likely to find something a little less accessible, like two
sculptures at The approach. Titled Harlequin Darts
and Toucan Brow
(both 2016), these layered oddities from the former Prix de Rome winner combine leather, steel, polyester webbing, and other commercial or industrial materials into unwieldy assemblages resembling mechanical horses or broken athletic equipment.