Marking its 10th anniversary this year, the Independent NY Art Fair has proven itself as something of a special case in the presentation of an art fair. Smaller in scale and more focused in terms of its gallery selections, the fair’s presentation feels more like a presentation of a series of small gallery shows run side-by-side. Offering a more nuanced, mellow browsing experience in conjunction with the fair’s invite-only exhibitor structure and immense glass windows, the fair has built a reputation as a boutique event with impressive draw, with this 10th year only driving that appeal home.
The fair has taken up an even larger footprint with NADA’s move away from as brick-and-mortar fair location, now positioned as the only major fair for smaller galleries and those moving between the blue-chip markets and more exploratory curatorial programs. The multiple floors of the space at Spring Studios always complements that note of exploration as well, allowing visitors to wander freely up and down the four floors of the space, often encountering unexpected works and projects along the way. In the top floor, looking out at the rest of the space, one could view a selection of strange automated works by Craig Kalpakjian at Kai Matsumiya, while in another corner, a video by Gretchen Benders, who just opened a show at Red Bull Studios, was on view as well, offering the fair a moment of meditative pause.
In the main booth areas, one could view a range of adventurous and inspiring works. At Canada, the gallery had brought a series of small ceramics by Scott Reeder, as well as paintings by Xylor Jane and Katherine Bernhardt, lending the booth a colorful, playful air that countered a series of paintings by Julie Curtiss at Anton Kern nearby. Linn Lühn, one could view a series of surreal, twisting lamp sculptures by artist Carmen D’Apollonio, while Garth Greenan Gallery had erected a full wall piece by Alexis Smith, a painting of flames and coy text (“a hellhole if ever there was one”) centered by a basketball hoop on the wall, making for an interesting spatial inversion. Also of note were a series of intricately carved ostrich eggs by the imprisoned artist Gil Batle on at Ricco/Maresca, a gallery focused on outsider art and vernacular arts that offered a striking counterpoint to much of the other work on view at the fair.
It’s worth noting that the gallery list seems to have been shaken up a bit, and the inclusion of galleries like Ricco/Maresca notes an increasingly adventurous and exciting path for Independent, looking deeper into the fair as a space for research, comparison and counterpoint. Celebrating its first 10 years this year, it should be interesting to see how the fair evolves in its next 10.
The fair closes Sunday March 10th.
— D. Creahan
Independent NY [Exhibition Page]