From the Subtle to the Sexual, Independent’s Eighth Edition Carves Its Own Path
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
Perhaps because of the visual drama of Spring Studios itself, dealers at Independent can relax a bit, allowing subtle pieces the proper breathing room. For instance: Karma, a New York-based gallery and publishing venture, has a range of minimalist, sculptural paintings from the late 1970s by the late Ted Stamm. The serial row of identically shaped, differently colored wood slabs—based on a found object that the artist had discovered on Wooster Street—recall a rougher hewn take on
Herald St of London has also chosen to privilege quiet inventiveness over flash. They’ve brought a series of slight sculptures by
One might expect a New York art fair taking place little over a month into Donald Trump’s presidency to have a brashly activist edge, but most dealers have left their soapboxes at home. That said, the fair has its share of transgression—though it’s more of the psychosexual, rather than political, variety.
Certain large-scale pieces seem unlikely to find a home except with the most daring collectors, or at least the ones that don’t have kids. At Mitchell-Innes & Nash, a multimedia triptych by Whitney Biennial.
More button-pushing awaits at Galerie Christophe Gaillard, which is showing work from the 1970s by Michel Journiac, who died in 1995. Campy and unapologetically explicit, the work includes photographs of the artist miming various Freudian-inspired, incest-laden scenes (using his own parents as extras), as well as a massive sculpture of a dual-gendered Virgin Mary statue sporting both breasts and an erect penis. The latter piece, a testament to Journiac’s complicated relationship to the church—he was once a seminary student—is on offer for roughly $190,000.
If that doesn’t satisfy your taste for irreverence, pay a visit to Carlos/Ishikawa gallery, which has huge wallhangings by
If all of that makes you mildly uncomfortable, don’t despair—there is plenty at Independent that isn’t aiming to provoke so bluntly.
Sprüth Magers has two pieces by the terrific
Figurative painting continues to be well-represented, with Kunstakademie Düsseldorf grad Peres Projects,
And lest you think art’s beauty lies in its total lack of practical utility, consider Museum of Modern Art. Director Holly Stanton says Beloufa characterizes the untitled work from 2017 as a “wall commodity;” it handily comes with four functional electrical outfits on its facade.
More usable objets are on view at Anton Kern
Scott Indrisek is Artsy’s Deputy Editor.