The Independent


In Defense of Art Fairs

by Rachel Wetzler on March 8, 2011

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Walking around the two-pier behemoth that is today’s Armory Show, it’s hard to imagine that this was once a scrappy upstart hotel fair. Over the course of the week, I heard various people speak nostalgically about what the Armory had been like in its early years, as if it had been some prelapsarian moment before the art world discovered capitalism. However, in a 1995 Frieze magazine survey, co-founder Pat Hearn stated bluntly that “the art fair is simply an effort to move the product in whatever way possible.”

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Post image for Who Goes to NY Art Fairs? Emerging Collectors at The Independent

The third in a special series sponsored by 20×200 that profiles some of the people who are attending the New York art fairs this week. The following is a random sampling of attendees at the 2011 The Independent art fair on Friday night. Here is who and what I found on a Friday night in Chelsea.

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Post image for Any Place and No Place at Independent 2011

The art world has different tribes. The crowds at the Armory, ADAA Art Show and Pulse are different because the varying aesthetics and brands on display draw different audiences. To my eyes, the Independent was dominated by the ArtForum set, a post-minimal aesthetic that drew heavily on blank-faced conceptualism, the visual strategies of minimalism and the wallets of a coterie of black-garbed international hipsters. Of course, I still liked it more than any other fair I’ve attended yet.

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