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Organized to coincide with the New York contemporary art and modern auction sales, Independent Projects takes a curated exhibition approach to the typical art fair. Exhibitors include Gavin Brown’s enterprise, Elizabeth Dee, Gagosian, Gladstone, Kavi Gupta, Hannah Hoffman, The Journal, Andrew Kreps, Dominique Levy, Maccarone, Mitchell-Innes & Nash, Metro Pictures, Lisson, Peres Projects, Skarstedt, White Columns, and David Zwirner, among others.
Whitewall visited the fair last Friday, a day after the opening VIP preview. Below, in no particular order, are some of the standout works and installations from the exhibition, open through November 15.
By Charlotte Kinberger and Emory Lopiccolo
1. David Medalla has one of his lovely bubble machines at Venus Over Manhattan, which he’s been creating since 1963. Entitled Cloud Canyons, the work begins as a series of clear plastic tubes, and gradually produces soap bubbles that form a snaking mass of foam—stuff of bubble bath dreams. It’s wonderfully sensory, with a fruity smell from the soap, and the faint, auditory crackle of bubbles popping. The work is accompanied by a poem written by Medalla that details his connection to bubbles, and the impetus for the first of this series. It is, above all else, a story of life and death, and one that is mimicked beautifully by the simultaneous growth and disappearance of the bubbles themselves.
2. Our favorite booth at the fair was Dominique Levy‘s, where a never before exhibited Yves Klein work is on display. Called a Sculpture Tactile, it is a plain, white box with hand-sized holes on either end and a black curtain behind each, so you can’t see what’s inside. It sits on a plain white post so that its holes are arm height, and so the viewer may reach her arm in and touch what’s within. Inside sits a live, mostly naked person. The sensation is like touching your own limb after it’s gone numb. The incredible, interactive work was conceived in 1957, but was delayed because the artist feared that the Paris art world was not ready for such a piece. Unfortunately, Klein died five years later of a heart attack at the age of 34, and the work was never realized, until now. Even if you’re too squeamish to try it yourself, it’s quite entertaining to stand nearby and watch the reactions of others.
3. One of the more humorous booths was Martos‘, where Aura Rosenberg has a collection of porn-based paintings, and a pile of what we’ll call porn rocks. The paintings are delightfully kitsch, with a 1970s warm, sepia-hued palette and comically explicit content. The rocks are arranged in a mass on the floor, and feature images of naked bodies, acts of fellatio, and faces in ecstasy. They are of varying sizes and shapes, but all have a high-sheen varnish, conjuring the glossy pages of the pornographic magazines that Rosenberg pulls from.
4. Gagosian has a series of astrologically themed textile works by Piotr Uklanski. Constructed on deep jewel-toned velvet, the fabric is embroidered with silver and gold thread that forms swirls of stars and galaxies. The artist also incorporates pieces of semi-precious stone, like slices of artificially died agate in hues of hot pink and turquoise that look like planets within the universe of each work.
5. Virginia Overton created a site-specific wooden sculpture for the fair. The artist—who is represented by Mitchell-Innes & Nash—is known for her large scale sculptures made of locally sourced material. For this installation, Overton used wood from a lumberyard in Miami, and used on a similar project of wooden lean-to structures at MOCA, North Miami. She created this piece by securing the four bottom foundational boards with screws, and then continued to stack the remaining boards on top of one another. For a project of this scale, materials typically arrive a month in advance in order to be built over the course of one day on site. The result is a simplistic, yet stunning visual arrangement that composes natural elements in a refined, patterned context.
6. Italian born artist Gianfranco Baruchello represented by the Massimo De Carlo describes himself as “an experimenter of hypotheses,” and uses his art as a process of discovery. We were struck by Baruchello’s whimsical artworks in which he combines miniaturized details with layers of glass and cardboard to achieve a multidimensional effect. In The Brain 1, Baruchello breaks down the contradictions bound within different cultural ideologies during the Cold War-era. The result is a “thought map” that takes viewers on a winding path of the inner-workings of the artist’s mind.
7. Haroon Mirza’s multi-sensory sound room, Access Boot, was an immersive experience that combined film, light, music, and sculpture. Mirza—who is represented by the Lisson Gallery—is known for his installations that play with the friction between light waves, sound, and electric currents. For Access Boot, the artist covered the walls with triangular shaped foam for reverberation, and connected an electric blue strobe light that flashed to the beat of the rhythm of the 1990s dance hit, “Access.”
8. Tony Swain of the Modern Institute works with paint and newspaper to both aesthetically create and tell a story through images and text. His works are intimate and draw viewers in for a closer inspection. Swain uses the stories and images in the newspapers in juxtaposition to his own painted landscapes, abstract figures, and buildings. The works are smaller in scale compared to many of the paintings at Independent Projects, but they stand out thanks to Swain’s bold use of color and dedication to detail.