Photo Essays

The Dependent Art Fair Checks Into Chelsea

The four-hour The Dependent art Fair on W 25th Street was packed for most of the time and a line formed outside by 6pm.

If people were complaining that The Independent was a scene with its cooler-than-thou veneer of globalization and slightly aloof exhibitors and audience, than they probably hadn’t seen The Dependent art fair, which was the dictionary definition of “art scene.”

For four hours on a Friday night, two floors (12th & 14th) of the Four Points Sheraton hotel on West 25th Street was transformed into an art fair for 16 galleries from near and far. These staples of the downtown scene (which nowadays means Manhattan’s Lower East Side, slices of SoHo, all of Brooklyn and pockets further afield) staged their own hotel room fair as if to seemingly prove how much they could pack two floors of this non-descript small-ish Chelsea hotel.

It was hard to see much of the art and the hallways were packed enough to make you scream, but I tried to see every room (sometimes I failed).

Cleopatra’s gallery was the most successful at transforming their space into an Afro-orientalist fantastia, complete with wandering actors draped in full body patterned garb. Recess was the most atmospheric and used the room effectively as a frame for the performance itself, and Reference gallery used the opportunity to lay out all the art merchandise they could order or make to pimp out their brand or that of their artist, Reid Ramirez.

The art fair was also the site of a first for me. I met someone who I first encountered on Chatroulette (fully clothed, if you were wondering) and, well, that was the type of night and crowd it was.

When I arrived I was able to go straight up to the exhibition rooms but by the time I left there was a line from the elevators outside the hotel and starting to snake past a neighboring building. Did I mention I hate hotel room fairs? Hopefully by next year this crew of scrappy spaces will find a better venue for their wares.

Virginia’s Reference gallery was merchandising themselves and the exhibition artist, Reid Ramirez, up the wazoo.

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A.K. Burns & Katherine Hubbard’s “The Brown Bear” was a haircut performance behind bathroom door (left) that was livestreamed onto the television in the main room. This work was in the Recess gallery room.

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Also in the Recess gallery room was Kenya Robinson’s “The Inflatable Mattress” (2011) performance that has her move weekly to stay with another friend or acquiantance. She asked me if I wanted to play Jenga with her, but I refused. This was week five for the roving artist.

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Quinn Taylor’s wacky piece at the Canada Specific Object gallery room made an impression.

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A view of the Silvershed gallery room on the 12th floor. The half-eaten pizza on top of the televsion was a good touch but visual noise made the installation feel like a dorm room. The checklist from the show was no help in deciphering the artists behind each work. The artists in the room included Jesse Peterson, Kerry Hassler, Lauren Christiansen, Liz Linden, Mikaela Bradbury, Patrick Meagher, Davida Nemeroff & Samara Golden, Oliver Lanz, Paul McLean, Georg Krummenacher, Rachel Garrard, Yunhee Min and Zain Burgess.

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The Cleopatra’s gallery had a colorful presence on the 14th floor, including a bathroom packed with flowers of all types by Alex Da Corte.

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The Dependent art fair was open Friday, March 4 from noon to 5 to 9pm.

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