Independent New York returns to New York City, May 11-14

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Independent New York returns to New York City, May 11-14
Vito Schnabel Gallery: Jessica Westhafer, Always & Forever, 2022, Oil and watercolor on canvas, 44 x 108 inches (111.8 x 274.3 cm), © Jessica Westhafer; Photo by Shark Senesac. Courtesy the artist Vito Schnabel Gallery and Independent New York.

NEW YORK, NY.- Independent New York returns for its 14th edition May 11-14 in New York and online. The highly anticipated fair features works by more than 120 artists and 74 galleries and nonprofits from around the world. Independent sits at the intersection of an art fair and a biennial, with exhibitors vetted through a competitive nomination process. The fair enjoys an insider’s renown and is a destination for meaningful discovery of contemporary art. Taking over four floors of Spring Studios, Independent New York features more than 50 solo and duo presentations, ten presentations by artists who have concurrent museum exhibitions as well as 22 New York artists’ debuts.

Founder Elizabeth Dee states, “Independent will headline the newly expanded art month in New York for the second year in a row, making this an important moment for the global art market capital and museum community. This year’s edition offers fresh perspectives and thoughtful discourse, capturing the most important issues of our time. For those that are interested in looking to the future of art, Independent is the one place in New York’s fair calendar that has a consistent track record of both innovation and discovery.”

As in years past, several artistic themes have emerged in this year’s edition as a bellwether for the contemporary art market at large, and reflect a cultural climate of great change, incremental progress, and political volatility. Concentrations of artworks emerge under distinct themes that include gender as a social construct, a return to childhood, post-figuration and magical realism as well as career reassessments and new discoveries.


Gender is explored through several presentations throughout, conceptually ranging from a fluid notion to early gay liberation and feminist subversion, all the way to AI concepts of female beauty.

Monique Meloche Gallery exhibits hand-cut works on paper by Antonius-Tín Bui. The Vietnamese-American artist, who identifies as genderfluid, views this intricate, meditative process as a means of visualizing their fellow marginalized communities. P.P.O.W. presents the porcelain sculptures by Jessica Stoller, whose elaborate tableaux of flowers, food, and female body parts marry the seductive and grotesque with a subversive feminist wit. Lubov dedicates a solo presentation to paintings and sculpture by Connor Marie Stankard. The cyborgian girl subjects of her canvases are the product of the AI-based image creation tool Artbreeder, which enables users to edit a face’s “genes” or “crossbreed” one photograph with others. Kapp Kapp presents a duo show featuring Beverly Semmes and Stanley Stellar. Semmes, who will exhibit work in two exhibitions simultaneously, explores the complexities of representations of the female body, both as a child-bearing vessel and an erotic object. Over five decades, Stellar has photographed the beauty, fear, and intimacy of queer life in New York City, observing the early gay liberation movement, as well as the impact of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Feminist icons Eleanor Antin and Judith Bernstein are featured in solo shows with Richard Saltoun Gallery and Kasmin Gallery respectively focusing on specific periods of the artists’ bodies of work from 1968-2000.


Childhood has been a fertile ground for artistic exploration for generations, and is tackled by a number of contemporary artists by direct interrogation of personal histories and by contextualizing origins within the greater framework of all living beings.

For the gallery’s Independent debut, VITRINE presents a solo show by the Copenhagen-based painter Cecilia Fiona. Her dynamic paintings explore the existential mysteries of life and the interconnectedness of all living beings in a state of constant change through lyrical dreamscapes that recall the whimsy of childhood imagination. Various Small Fires showcases a solo presentation of new works by Wendy Park. Catalyzed by the recent passing of her father in 2019, her paintings capture bittersweet childhood memories of her parents’ pursuit of the American dream during the 1980s and 1990s. Paying homage to their experiences as first-generation Korean immigrants and working-class vendors in Los Angeles, Park’s gaze zooms in on objects associated with the family’s labor at swap meets as well as snatched moments of leisure at the end of the working day. Vito Schnabel Gallery dedicates a solo presentation to Jessica Westhafer, following her debut exhibition with the gallery last November. Westhafer’s darkly humorous imagery meditates on childhood experiences both real and imagined. Her unsettling paintings draw partial inspiration from her upbringing within a Jehovah’s Witness community in Arkansas.


In the context of figurative painting as resurgent in the past decade, several artists’ presentations at Independent are going beyond figuration into territory better described as magical realism. Replete with art historical references, these artists create intensely imagined scenes and dreamscapes.

Peres Projects features paintings by Jeremy that investigate the fluidity of queer identity and the constraints of heteronormativity. Intensified by a saturated color palette, his androgynous and hybrid figures probe at the relationship between desire and repulsion. Their twisted and transgressive bodies connect with ideas of abjection from the lineage of European surrealism and magical realism. Ross Caliendo’s surrealistic depictions of the natural world are the subject of a solo presentation with Ross+Kramer. In dialogue with the divisionist tradition of Neo-Impressionism, the Los Angeles-based painter harnesses the tension between complimentary colors to charge his wildernesses with energy and luminosity. King’s Leap presents the noirish interior scenes of Michelle Uckotter. Devoid of human presence or inhabited by sultry femme fatales, the confined spaces she invents appear ominously close to collapse. Uckotter’s unsettling narratives are vividly cinematic yet mysterious, with a lineage derived from the paintings of Francis Bacon, erotic doll photographs of Hans Bellmer, and the haunted-house horror of The Shining or Resident Evil video games. Ciaccia Levi and Foxy Production jointly present a show of new paintings by Srijon Chowdhury. The artist’s intimate portraits, vanitas still-lifes, and dreamscapes combine a heightened realism with symbolic and emotional resonances, capturing the tension between mystery and revelation. Ricco/Maresca presents a dual exhibition of Hydeon and Will Thornton, marking the New York debut of both artists. Hydeon (Ian Ferguson) distills a broad range of references from Baroque, Gothic, and Victorian architecture; medieval, folk, and outsider art; fairy tales and myth, into arresting narrative scenes with enigmatic characters. Derek Eller Gallery presents works by Brooklyn-based artist Joseph Olisaemeka Wilson, following his 2022 solo exhibition at the gallery. Wilson’s palimpsest of references ranges from extinct animals to imaginary machines to an all-star basketball player, blending the iconography of American pop culture with African folklore.


A number of presentations offer a reassessment and rediscovery of the work of artists at Independent.

For their debut at Independent, Niru Ratnam presents works by the London-based artist Kimathi Donkor. Appropriating the classical styles of Western art, Donkor reinstates and centers the Black subjects who have been erased from that canon. The Sunday Painter features a series of glass chalices and oil bar drawings by British artist Nicholas Pope. Pope first came to prominence in the 1970s among a generation of British sculptors including Tony Cragg, Richard Deacon, and Antony Gormley. Parker Gallery brings together paintings by the late Irving Marcus from the 70s and 80s. Off Paradise debuts new works in an intergenerational duo presentation by Michael St. John and Mitchell Charbonneau. A rigorous chronicler of contemporary American culture, St. John explores notions of violence, desire, racism, and consumerism through strategies of appropriation and assemblage while Charbonneau’s sculptural interventions similarly deconstruct and recast everyday commercial objects, from folding chairs to air fresheners, with material exactitude and visual wit. Bureau presents the work of Eric Baum, who has spent the past 20 years working with printed materials and the fragments of language found therein. Garth Greenan Gallery will present a selection of recent and historical works by sculptor Richard Van Buren. Although he featured in Primary Structures, the Jewish Museum’s landmark 1966 exhibition that defined Minimalism, Van Buren never fully conformed to the formalism and sleek aesthetic of the movement. Other notable artists in this category include: Keith Sonnier presented by Franklin Parrasch x Parrasch Heijnen and Tom Forrestall presented by Kerry Schuss Gallery.

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