Independent New York 2017 is a robust and rousing affair, ranging the art spectrum from sound art and installation art to collage and painting. From Gavin Brown to David Lewis, focus at the fair was on keeping an eye toward the unexpected while remaining relevant to current and upcoming art exhibits. Wide-ranging textures, as well as light and sound, were recurring themes through the fair’s floors as exhibitors favored non-traditional materials and practices. There was something for everyone, from bodega shopping bags strewn across the floor to deconstructed art books strewn across a table. Some more memorable offerings on view managed to present a cohesive vision while introducing thought-provoking elements to visitors. This is a run of our top encounters.
Barbara Bloom at David Lewis
Blending advertising and conceptual art, Bloom inserts fabricated messages into posters incorporating found imagery to comment on social mobility, cultural norms and international affairs. With a prescient eye to our global political conservatism, Bloom’s work remains as relevant today as it was in its 1981 introduction and presages her upcoming exhibit with the Hessel Museum at Bard this summer. http://davidlewisgallery.com/
Udomsak Krisanamis, Gavin Brown’s Enterprise
Krisanamis’ wide-ranging practice incorporates conceptual work and text as comfortably as abstraction. Dexterous and delightful, Krisanamis commands the space and invites visitors to contemplate the notion of continuation and unity and how these manifest in an artist’s practice over time. Spanning from deconstruction to color field and ranging in scale, the works on view spark the imagination and leave the visitor wanting more. https://www.gavinbrown.biz/
Derrick Alexis Coard and Embah, White Columns
Haunting portraits and expressionist visions greet visitors to White Columns’ space on the 7th floor in the work of Derrick Alexis Coard and Embah, two self-taught artists who masterfully reveal the elevated human spirit. Through his reverential portraits of bearded black males, Coard exalts the spiritual in his subjects. Dignity of the spirit is a shared trait between works by Coard and Embah, as Embah’s work, Spiritual Interview, is a master study in composition and color. https://www.whitecolumns.org/
Ei Arakawa, Galerie Meyer Kainer
Arakawa’s engaging LED light and sound installation dominates at Galerie Meyer Kainer’s Independent NY exhibit. The durational piece incorporates lyrics touch on queer theory and religious fanaticism, culminating in a powerful new work by an established artist that blasphemes while it exalts, with incredible detail and precision from the lighting presentation to the aura of sound. A definite standout at the fair. http://www.meyerkainer.com/
Jonathan Berger and Ellen Lesperance, JTT/Adams and Ollman
Berger’s odd chalk mosaics displace visitors to the joint JTT/Adams and Ollman booth by relegating guests to the periphery, a clever conceit demanding consideration from the edges. These minimal constructions flank Lesperance’s witty tongue-in-cheek artworks up-ending on the patriarchy. An odd and interesting juxtaposition, these artists compose a compelling half of this joint exhibition. http://www.jttnyc.com/6953 http://adamsandollman.com/
Reus’ exotically familiar constructions form the backbone of The Approach’s beautifully alien exhibition. The familiarity of the saddle shape, supported by industrial bars and incorporating precisely cut and arranged fabrics reveals the delicate hand and keen mind present in Reus’ practice. Set against Oppenheim’s surrealist imagery, The Approach has mounted an insightful and slightly unsettled vision at Independent NY 2017. https://theapproach.co.uk/
Audra Lambert is a freelance arts contributor and independent curator based in New York City. Her articles can be found in Whitehot Mag, Art Nerd NY, Artefuse, Examiner and more. The author focuses on participatory and public art projects with an emphasis on emerging and established female artists. She is co-founder of alt_break art fair, a nonprofit art fair fostering dialogue between community-based social justice nonprofits and the arts. Currently completing a Master’s thesis in Modern/Contemporary Art at City College of New York, her curated projects and ongoing coverage of interdisciplinary art projects can be found on ANTE. (www.antecedentprojects.com), an online art platform showcasing contemporary arts and culture, which may or may not be secretly run by llamas on Mars.