As the bigger and brawnier Armory Show aims to start anew on the western edge of Manhattan, the Independent art fair has taken up its typically cooler, cozier station in a new location near the island’s southernmost tip. Starting with a preview on Thursday and continuing through the weekend, the slightly slimmed-down satellite fair—with 42 galleries this year, compared to the more normal 50 to 60—fits nicely in the Beaux-Arts–style Battery Maritime Building, recently restored as a home for Cipriani South Street. The ceilings soar, and a terrace out front offers a good perch for people-watching. On the first day, a subdued but solid crowd perused booths presented by domestic galleries from New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Detroit, Oakland, and Portland as well as international vendors from Vancouver, London, Oslo, Berlin, Cologne, Paris, and Antwerp. Herewith, see works from the six best booths at Independent.
Ken Nevadomi at New Canons
An 82-year-old Neo-Expressionist from Cleveland, Ken Nevadomi is having a moment with his first solo presentation in New York at the booth for New Canons, a “nomadic curatorial office and contemporary art think tank” also opening a month-long show of Nevadomi’s work at a space in Tribeca. The paintings at Independent are entrancing and enigmatic, in an array of styles that are hard to reconcile as the work of only one artist. And the elusive but evocative subject matter drifts between strange fever-dream visions and sly allusions to the artist’s past as a commercial illustrator for American Greetings alongside the likes of Harvey Pekar and R. Crumb. A fish bursting through the nozzle of a spay can in Bernini Visits Louis XIII in His Toilet is a good example of Nevadomi’s “restless symbolism,” as described by New Canons founder Maxwell Wolf (also known for his work in the past as director and chief curator of Red Bull Arts).