Thoughts and Highlights From The Independent Fair

by Paddy Johnson on March 4, 2011 · 14 comments Art Fair

Andrew Kreps, installation view at Independent

How much exhibition-hall carpet can contemporary art take before it starts to look like furniture? Not very much, which is why the Armory Show is no picnic – its flooring is a pretty good physical approximation of the word “eh”. Bare floor space and fewer walls define the Independent, which basically means there’s a lot more art on the ground. Look forward to extra space, a large amount of sculpture, and dealers without suits and fancy dresses. Also, expect poor labeling, both for individual artworks and whole galleries. It seems unlikely this is a fair-wide dealer strategy to force viewers to ask questions — not everyone agrees that that practice leads to more sales, and since it’s often hard to know who the dealers are and what art they’re handling, poor organization is the most likely culprit; get it together, people. Also, of course, there’s the problem of homogeneity, but that’s no surprise for a fair or contemporary art making in general.

As per usual, a few fair highlights below. No best in show ,though. There are too many unknown works attached to unknown galleries for that.

Artist unknown, Herald St.

The essence of slacker art, in a good way. I probably wouldn’t respond so well to this work if it weren’t in a ginormous vitrine, but the absurdity of placing such a bad alien head under thick plastic appeals to me.

Pinecone on Corduroy pants

No idea who this artist is or which gallery was connected to the work, but I like it. The texture combination is great, and I like that it’s humble enough to be displayed on the floor. Thumbs up.

Rosalind Nashashibi, Eyeballing, 2005

I first saw this film at the ICA in London two years ago and I’m only half sold on its merits. It’s a film made up of shots from the natural world that look like faces, as well as footage of a police station. Surveillance is a dominant theme. Some of Nashashibi’s findings are surprisingly inventive but the main reason this piece works is the durational experience. Imagine looking at this work in the form of a photograph; it would come off as infinitely gimmicky and light.  Also of interest: my notes two years ago on Nashashibi as one of 33 outstanding artists emerging since 1999.

Sutton Lane

A familiar-looking exhibition, mostly because Sutton Lane represents a lot of Lower East Side artists. Notably, a lot of the international galleries in this fair represent New York-based artists with galleries here as well. For this reason, the Independent does not seem so global in scope as it might at first appear.

Maureen Gallace, "August, Beach Cottage (Pink Flowers)", 2010, oil on panel, 9x12 inches,

Last year’s Whitney Biennial has created an art fair monster, and her name is Maureen Gallace. These homes are nicely painted and all, but there are an awful lot of them and they all look the same. They are also everywhere.

Whistle

You are getting very sleepy.

  • Closer2theart

    Yes, I AM ge t ng vr slep zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  • http://unutterable.org GiovanniGF

    I don’t understand Maureen Gallace!!! Am I missing something?

    • DK

      I wish someone would explain it to me too.

      • ms

        fairfield porter

        • http://unutterable.org GiovanniGF

          I get the paintings, I just don’t get why 303 shows her, or why she was in the Whitney Biennial. Shouldn’t she be showing at some gallery on 57th Street instead?

          • http://www.tirtzahbassel.com Tirtzahbassel

            yeah, can’t everyone keep their categories straight

        • http://unutterable.org GiovanniGF

          I get the paintings, I just don’t get why 303 shows her, or why she was in the Whitney Biennial. Shouldn’t she be showing at some gallery on 57th Street instead?

        • http://unutterable.org GiovanniGF

          I get the paintings, I just don’t get why 303 shows her, or why she was in the Whitney Biennial. Shouldn’t she be showing at some gallery on 57th Street instead?

        • http://unutterable.org GiovanniGF

          I get the paintings, I just don’t get why 303 shows her, or why she was in the Whitney Biennial. Shouldn’t she be showing at some gallery on 57th Street instead?

  • Anonymous

    So true about the labeling of works. Were they trying to be edgy, or was it just laziness? Much like the art, it was hard to tell. I think my favorite was the gallery that had artist names scrawled in pencil on the wall next to the piece. In another venue, it would have been a great idea, but here, it looked like a gallery rep had heard one too many people ask, “Now *who* made this piece?”

  • Agentkodiak7

    The pine cone on pants is probably by Helen Mirra.

    • Matthew Lusk

       Isn’t she in the Boredoms?

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  • HHalle

    Artist unknown is Miriam Cahn, I believe

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