Armory Arts Week: Independent

Independent Outcast

As I’ve mentioned in the first Armory Arts Week post, I found Independent to be less than inspiring. There was great anticipation and nothing but unconditional support for this alternative art fair, organized by Elizabeth Dee and her posse. I very much looked forward to the relief of a fair that didn’t reflect gaudy flea market environments and money hoarding monster gallerists and snotfaced gazers. I looked forward to an alternative that was nourishing, conceptual, collaborative and warm. A looked forward to the welcoming of community building and working togetherness which is much lacking in the art world, the cold and harsh art world.

The effort was there, no doubt about it. But alas, I walked out of Independent confused and disappointed, shivering with the brevity, exclusivity, and brashness I felt meandering through the floors of the coveted old Dia building. The biggest issue I had was the open arrangement. It’s an ingenious idea that should more or less make sense. But it was near impossible to navigate. Which work belonged to which artist belonged to which gallery was a constant puzzle I found no solution to. It a mumbo jumbo hectic arrangement where some wall labels pointed to nothing but a bare white wall and others where works bore no labels.

I’m convinced I just might not be educated enough, cool enough, hip enough, “in” enough to “get” this art fair. It’s definitely something that one needs to “get”. Another big issue I had were the works themselves. Nearly everything was black, white, metallic, mirrored, abstract, minimal, colorless, boxy, and square. It was a bleak and somber experience and I am so sorry to say I don’t miss it one bit.

The only pleasurable moment was when a dude stood inches away from Jeppe Hein’s mirror piece and literally started to pop his pimple. This is how oblivious art world people are to their surroundings (sometimes). And then there was a little kid who put his hands on the mirror stopping its rotation for a slight second. The gallerist jumped out of his chair (and his pants) and made the most inexplicable face and was scorning the boy under his breath for minutes on end. This kind of snotty energy is exactly what I hoped wouldn’t be present at Independent.

And I’m sure there may or may not be folks who will disapprove of my cold shoulder towards Independent. I welcome your perspective if only to please prove me wrong.

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