Going Independent and Shaking Up NYC’s Art Scene

The edgy Independent Art Fair highlights experimental and undiscovered artists on the verge of popping up on your art radar.

Tomashi Jackson, Avocado Seed Soup. Courtesy the artist and Tilton Gallery.

Where most NYC art fairs boast a fast-paced, buzzy atmosphere (think: Frieze or the Armory Show), the Independent Art Fair, taking place March 9–11, opts for a slower, more unassuming approach to presenting and selling art, making it an annual favorite for those who value the work over the scene.

independent art fair
Josephine Meckseper, Bright Bay Cars/Gratis, 2013. Courtesy Timothy Taylor, London/New York.

True to its name, Independent features emerging galleries (instead of the usual suspects like Acquavella and Gagosian) and global artists with unique backgrounds. Over half of the participating galleries this year plan on showing exhibitions by female artists. What to look for: Werner Buttner’s dark humor–tinged paintings at Marlborough Contemporary; a retrospective of Kathleen White’s work during the AIDS epidemic at Martos Gallery; and Elisabeth Kley’s site-specific sculptural installations at Canada Gallery.

independent art fair
Harold Ancart, Untitled, 2017. Courtesy CLEARING New York / Brussels.

Why You Should Go: The Independent Art Fair doesn’t feel like a space only for Jay Z and Beyoncé’s art dealer. With the pressure off, it is the perfect way for those new to the art scene to experience the NYC fair circuit.

Independent Art Fair
Spring Studios
50 Varick Street (between Beach and Laight Streets), Tribeca
Friday, March 9, noon–7 p.m.
Saturday, March 10, noon–7 p.m.
Sunday, March 11, noon–6 p.m.

Round out your day with our expertly crafted itinerary or find more of our NYC recommendations in The Guide.  If you haven’t had your fill of NYC’s art gallery scene after this year’s Independent Art Fair, our experience advisers can recommend a few more to visit.