Independent Is Launching a New Art Fair This Fall Dedicated to Under-Appreciated Artists of the 20th Century

The fair will coincide with Armory Week.

The site of Independent 20th Century at Cipriani at the Maritime Battery Building. Image courtesy Independent.

A new fair is coming to New York with one objective: to spotlight artists from the 20th century who may not yet have gotten their due.

The project is a new initiative from the founders of the Independent art fair, Elizabeth Dee and Matthew Higgs. The first edition of Independent 20th Century will be held from September 8 through 11 to coincide with Armory Week. It will host 30 galleries at the historic Battery Maritime Building at Cipriani South Street at the tip of Lower Manhattan.

The plan is to show work by artists who made a significant contribution to art history between 1900 and 2000. As the market continues its romance with the hyper-young and hyper-new, the endeavor hopes to show collectors that the diverse generation making waves today did not evolve in a vacuum. 

“I felt like galleries of the next generation were taking on the most diverse group of artists but also saying, ‘Wait a minute, there is no canon for these artists,’” Dee told Artnet News. “So there is an opportunity there.”

The location marks a return for the fair, which held its fall edition at the space amid a reshuffled pandemic schedule last year. 

The lineup will include Salon 94 Design, who will showcase 1970s drawings and furniture by the feminist writer Kate Millett; Garth Greenan, which will present a solo presentation of work by Al Loving; and Gordon Robichaux, which will team up with Parker Gallery to show the work of influential New York abstractionist Gerald Jackson. Meanwhile, Tommaso Calabro of Milan will present the story of Stanislao Lepri, the muse and partner of Leonor Fini.

I would argue that the dominant trend of the 21st century for the last 20 years has been the revisiting of art history,” said Higgs, who will serve as the fair’s curatorial advisor. “We’re interested to see what happens when you create a dedicated fair with that idea.” He noted that 15 of the artists in Cecilia Alemani’s central exhibition at the latest Venice Biennale, which focused on overlooked and excluded artists, previously had solo presentations at Independent.

Galleries will be invited by invitation, rather than an open application call. The concept was developed with input from dealers Alma Luxembourg, Joseph Nahmad, Gió Marconi, and Vito Schnabel.

Dieter Buchhart, the art historian behind the blockbuster 2018 Basquiat exhibition at the Louis Vuitton Foundation, and Fernanda Brenner, who is artistic director of Sao Paulo nonprofit art center Pivô, will work with Higgs on the curatorial direction of the fair. Sofie Scheerlinck, who was formerly the global managing director at TEFAF, will serve as chief interim operating officer.

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