Photo Essays

An Alternative to the Art Fair Marathon

A view of Independent Projects, with a felt banner by Mike Kelley on the right and David Zwirner's booth of Raymond Pettibon in the center back
A view of Independent Projects, with a felt banner by Mike Kelley on the right and David Zwirner’s booth of Raymond Pettibon in the center back (all photos by the author for Hyperallergic)

I didn’t expect to say this, but Independent Projects is a lovely fair. Started by the creators of the Independent, Armory Week’s alterna-fair, and taking place in the same location, the former Dia Art Foundation building on West 22nd Street in Chelsea, Independent Projects simultaneously builds on and slims down its sister fair’s model. As with the Independent, the space remains quite open — galleries are given actual walls and differently sized, mostly angular areas to suit their needs, rather than the usual boxy art fair booths. And there are fewer galleries at Independent Projects (39 to the Independent’s 56), which means everyone gets a little extra space.

A large part of the reason the show feels so relaxed and open, though, is that each gallery has brought only one artist, and in some cases only one artwork. Though this model wouldn’t work for every fair, it does, as you’d expect, do wonders for the viewer experience; it allows you to spend quality time with the work.

And there is quite a bit of work worthy of that time at Independent Projects. Some of my favorite showings included glistening porno rocks by Aura Rosenberg at Martos Gallery, sculpted cat planters by June Hamper (the mother of Billy Childish) at White Columns, trippy and cheeky paintings and drawings by John Tweddle at Kayne Griffin Corcoran, obsessive woven paintings by Mark Barrow and Sarah Parke at Elizabeth Dee, beguiling work in a range of media by Gianfranco Baruchello at Massimo De Carlo, roughly tactile and sculptural paintings by Rosy Keyser at Maccarone, and Duane Hanson’s mind-bending “Flea Market Lady” (1990) at Karma. To name a few.

In a further attempt to subvert the traditional art fair model, Independent Projects will remain for a week, changing from a marketplace to an exhibition after this weekend. Guides will be on hand to lead visitors through the show and explain the work, while the dealers go home, leaving just the art behind.

Work by Stefan Brüggermann, with Parra & Romero, along the back wall, and by Thornton Dial, with Andrew Edlin Gallery, on the right
Work by Stefan Brüggermann, brought by Parra & Romero, along the back wall, and by Thornton Dial, with Andrew Edlin Gallery, on the right
Thornton Dial, "Lost" (2004), on view with Andrew Edlin
Thornton Dial, “Lost” (2004), on view at Andrew Edlin
Aura Rosenberg, "Dialectical Porn Rock Circle" (1990–93), with Martos Gallery
Aura Rosenberg, “Dialectical Porn Rock Circle” (1990–93), at Martos Gallery
Women and dog visit the booth of Max Wigram Gallery, showing 1989 paintings by John Giorno
Women and dog visit the booth of Max Wigram Gallery, showing John Giorno’s first paintings, from 1989.
A work by Virginia Overton, with Mitchell Innes & Nash
A work by Virginia Overton, at Mitchell-Innes & Nash
Sculptures by June Hamper, shown by White Columns
Sculptures by June Hamper, at White Columns
Duane Hanson, "Flea-Market Lady" (1990), at Karma
Duane Hanson, “Flea Market Lady” (1990), at Karma
Detail of Duane Hanson's "Flea-Market Lady"
Detail of Duane Hanson’s “Flea Market Lady”
Dominique Lévy has fabricated Yves Klein's "Sculpture tactile," which he conceived in 1957 with a prototype but never made. You're supposed to stick your arm in that hole.
Dominique Lévy has fabricated Yves Klein’s “Sculpture tactile,” which he conceived in 1957 with a prototype but never made. You’re supposed to stick your arm in that hole.
Work by Nina Beier, at Croy Nielsen
Work by Nina Beier, at Croy Nielsen
A woman rests on a chair by Bunny Rogers, at Société.
A woman rests on a chair by Bunny Rogers, at Société.
Work by Prem Sahib, at Gallerie Lorcan O'Neill and Southard Reid's shared booth, in the foreground, and Emanuel Röhss at Project Narrative Informant in the background
Work by Prem Sahib, at Gallerie Lorcan O’Neill and Southard Reid’s shared booth, in the foreground, and Emanuel Röhss at Project Narrative Informant in the background
Paintings by Mary Ramsden, at Pilar Corrias
Paintings by Mary Ramsden, at Pilar Corrias
Haroon Mirza's "Access Boot" (2014), at Lisson Galery
Haroon Mirza’s “Access Boot” (2014), at Lisson Galery
Joan Jonas, "After Mirage" (1976), at Gavin Brown's Enterprise
Joan Jonas, “After Mirage” (1976), at Gavin Brown’s Enterprise
Mike Kelley, "Winner" (1987) and "Wood Nymph" (1985), at Skarstedt
Mike Kelley, “Winner” (1987) and “Wood Nymph” (1985), felt banners from his ‘Half a Man’ project, at Skarstedt
Work by John Tweddle, at Kayne Griffin Corcoran
Work by John Tweddle, at Kayne Griffin Corcoran
David Medalla, "Cloud Canyons," at Venus Over Manhattan
David Medalla, “Cloud Canyons,” a bubble machine, at Venus Over Manhattan
Work by Mark Barrow and Sarah Parke, at Elizabeth Dee
Work by Mark Barrow and Sarah Parke, at Elizabeth Dee
Detail of a work by Mark Barrow and Sarah Parke
Detail of a work by Mark Barrow and Sarah Parke
Work by Raymond Pettibon, at David Zwirner
Work by Raymond Pettibon, at David Zwirner
Cleaning Liam Gillick's mirrored room, which houses his film "Hamilton: A Film by Liam Gillick" (2014), at Marueen Paley
Cleaning Liam Gillick’s mirrored room, which houses his film “Hamilton: A Film by Liam Gillick” (2014), at Maureen Paley
Detail of Gianfranco Baruchello's "La Grande Biblioteca" (1976), at Massimo De Carlo
Detail of Gianfranco Baruchello’s “La Grande Biblioteca” (1976), at Massimo De Carlo
Work by Rosy Keyser, at Maccarone, on left in foreground, and by Allora and Calzadilla, at Gladstone Gallery, in back right
Work by Rosy Keyser, at Maccarone, on left in foreground, and by Allora and Calzadilla, at Gladstone Gallery, in back right

Independent Projects continues at Center548 (548 W 22nd St, Chelsea, Manhattan) through November 15.

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