Taking over once again at Spring Studios in downtown Manhattan, the Independent Art Fair opened its doors this week on a string of new works, curated exhibitions and special projects that once again illustrated its place as a premier fair event in the city. Now over ten years old, the 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.
The fair returns this year with a continued emphasis on tightly curated shows and a mixture of new and historically resonant bodies of work, inviting a range of galleries to contribute to an expansive series of concepts and projects. At Allouche Benias, curator, dealer and artist Kenny Schachter was presenting a body of work that mixed together a series of coy explorations of Schachter’s own place in the art world, combining self-parody and a range of collaged images and photographs. Elsewhere, P•P•O•W was presenting an exploratory range of works that featured compositions by Gerald Lovell and a series of striking ceramic reliefs by Shellyne Rodriguez, combining a range of diverse depictions of domestic and communal space.
Other works focused on more craft-intensive and handmade approaches, like artist Jennifer J. Lee’s paintings on jute shack, creating a careful negotiation towards modern modes of composition and references to fiber arts, while Anthony Olubunmi Akinbola had created a series of works stringing fibers together into a work referencing the form of the canvas.
Continuing a focus on the exploratory and the historical, this year’s edition of Independent continued the fair’s tradition of presenting works that offered a concise but always engaging series of works. The show closes May 8th.
Peter Nadin at Off Paradise
– D. Creahan
Independent NY [Exhibition Site]