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Art Basel 2021

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Art

Independent: Young and Forceful

By Julie Baumgardner

March 8, 2013

If the many art fairs this week in New York are a family, with The Armory Show being the patriarch, then Independent (on view through March 10) is the elusive badass little sister — the one who sneaks back into the house just as mom and dad are getting out of bed.

Founded by Elizabeth Dee and Darren Flook – who have been instrumental in introducing non-profit art spaces into the fair fold – Independent’s home spreads across three floors of the legendary 548 22nd Street address, the old DIA space and the unofficial outpost of the intellectual, hipster art set.

Open Gallery

Installation view

The fair features 49 galleries from leaders of international cool like Bortolami, White Columns, Maureen Paley, and Gavin Brown’s enterprise, whose porn-y wallpaper installation by Thomas Baryle read like Magic Eye for the Karma Sutra, to newer kids on the block like Bureau, Jack Hanley, and 47 Canal.

The fair’s fourth edition is well paced and well spaced, and defies other familiar conventions of a typical fair. Again, architect Christian Wassmann cleared the floors — no booths in sight — to allow a museum-quality flow between galleries. Massive installations stand smack in the middle of the floor, like Jack Lavender’s hanging carpets at The Approach, and Joanne Tatham and Tom O’Sullivan’s rainbow block-and-cone sculpture at the Modern Institute; while hidden in nooks and crannies are gems like Reena Spaulding’s Living Currency Flags at Campoli Presti and Renaud Regnery burnt wallpaper at Elizabeth Dee.

Open Gallery

Installation view

This year, the fair awarded its inaugural Privatus Prize – a $10,000 award for outstanding curatorial work at Independent – to White Columns, Printed Matter, Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art, and the Kitchen, with each exhibitor walking away with $2,500 And The Kitchen is organizing a series of programs that run through Sunday in four-hour sprints with performances by filmmaker and painter Keren Cytter, queer performance artist Dynasty Handbag, and cellist Okkyung Lee. Expect the weird and cerebral — as with everything the Kitchen stages.

In every family, the younger members always attract the most attention, and while Independent may be the infant in the art fair pack, there’s certainly nothing childish about this showcase.

Open Gallery

Installation view
47 CanalBortolamiBureauChristian WassmannDarren FlookElizabeth DeeGavin Brown's enterpriseGlasgow International Festival of Visual ArtIndependentJack HanleyMaureen PaleyPrinted MatterThe Armory ShowWhite Columns

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