(Image: Eric Wesley, Waffle (frit Item #23), 2007. Courtesy the artist and China Art Objects)

Independent Outshines the Main Eventwith Alexander Forbes
In the din leading up to Armory Arts Week, Pier 94 has seemingly been placed on mute. Fair goers, from power collectors to art school kids, have changed their tune, opting for the intimacy and more relaxed environment of the smaller satellite fairs, and galleries have taken notice. What was cool in 2007 just isn’t any more. Many of the defectors from Armory have flocked to Elizabeth Dee (Elizabeth Dee, New York) and Darren Flook’s (Hotel, London) second edition ofIndependent. The pair, with the creative guidance ofWhite Columns Matthew Higgs, set out to redefine the traditional art fair model, bringing together top galleries, emerging dealers, and artist run spaces to create a collective exhibition of sorts. It’s the boutique to Armory’s Walmart.
(Image: David Maljkovic, Recalling Frames, 2010, s/w Print von Collage auf Negativ, b/w print from collage on negative, 106 x 131,2 cm (gerahmt/framed), 41 3/4 x 51 2/3 inches (gerahmt/framed) © David Maljkovic. Courtesy Sprüth Magers Berlin London)

Independent’s of-the-moment emphasis on showing art rather than selling it has led galleries to bring younger artists to the forum (never call it a fair). Berlin and London’sSprüth Magers, one of this year’s most notable additions, will show works by Thea Djordjadze, Cyprien Gaillard, David Maljkovic, Michail Pireglis, and Sterling Ruby. Highlights include Maljkovic’s series, Recalling Frames, photomontages and a film installation, which merge frames from Orson Welles’ 1962 film The Trial with photographs of the filming locations in his hometown, Zagreb. The result is a haunting sense of displacement, Welles’ characters becoming lost in the detritus of the modern eastern block. A full exhibition of the works is also on view at Metro Pictures during Independent.
(Image: Frances Stark, I went through my bin once again, 2008, mixed media. Courtesy of the artist and Gavin Brown's Enterprise)

Also joining Independent after sitting out last year’s Armory Arts Week are the cool kids from Gavin Brown’s Enterprise. Not to be missed are sculptures and video by Uri Aran—think lowbrow flânerie gone high art - several collages by Frances Stark and paintings by poet cum visual artist, Christopher Knowles, best known for his operatic collaborations with Robert Wilson. The gallery will also debut a new book by Nick Relph, titledVestiarium Scoticum.
Artists Space, one of Independent’s non-profit exhibitors, whose installation of a DeLorean was a centerpiece to last year’s edition, returns with a portfolio of specially commissioned works by Anne Collier, Trisha Donnelly, Guyton\Walker, Danh Vo, T.J. Wilcox, and Dexter Sinister with Nick Relph. Sold in an edition of 100, the proceeds from the portfolios will go to support future programs and exhibitions.
(Image: Steven Claydon, (Pig Pen) These Peripatetic Satellites, 2010, Powder coated metal frame, buckram, Perspex box, Sunshine spray paint, 109.5 x 90 x 6.2 cms / 43 1/8 x 35 3/8 x 2 1/2 ins, Edition 1/4, AP 1/2. Courtesy of artist and Hotel London)

Founder Darren Flook’s London exhibition space, Hotel, has an impressive line up slotted, showing new works by Alan Michael, Steven Claydon, Duncan Campbell, Carol Bove, David Noonan as well as a site-specific installation by Juliette Blightman. Claydon’s whimsical, Charlie Brown inspired painting, (Pig Pen) These Peripatetic Satellites, 2010 is an amenable introduction to a fraught body of work that explores a fictional world initially posed in Louis-Ferdinand Céline’s novel Guignol’s Band. Noonan’s cinematic silkscreen on linen collages such as Untitled, 2011 are particularly compelling, as well.
Overall, there’s something truly enlightened to Independent, something that gives you a sense of the positive direction the art world is headed. It’s not about the biggest sale, they’ll leave that to ADAA, uptown; nor is it an all-you-can-eat buffet two piers long. It’s a well-curated group of galleries showing great work in a civil setting. Sometimes the little guy wins.
--Alexander Forbes

ARTSLANT INSIDER* - White Glove Treatment
with Cirkers & Hayes
For over 150 years, Cirkers and Hayes have provided secure high-end storage for galleries, art dealers, auction houses, collectors and  museums. Offering a white-glove concierge approach, the facilities offer private, climate and temperature controlled storage rooms from 20 s.f. - 500 s.f. in addition to handling, packing, crating and moving services by experienced art handlers.

at SCOPE New York
(Image: Tim Berg & Rebekah Myers, Here today, gone tomorrow, 2010, Fiberglass, wood, paint, Courtesy of the artists and Dean Project, New York )

"Our objective is to distill the stereotypical perceptions and associations within our culture into visually compelling objects, sculptures and installations. Whether we are creating an installation describing the impending doom of the dinosaurs or a valise filled with gold lucky charms our iconography is drawn from the animals, objects and/or situations that operate as commonplace tropes within our culture." --Tim Berg & Rebekah Myers

at Pool Art Fair, Room #538
(Image: Bob Clyatt, Woman with Arms Raised, 2011, Raku fired stoneware with wood and gilt, 22". Courtesy of Bob Clyatt )

"My work is to explore ancient knowledge and somehow embody or encode it in my sculptures and make it available to people today. In support of this I am drawn to create my sculptures using ancient materials and methods, combined of course with modern technology. The result is completely contemporary yet at root is just earth, fire, water. --Bob Clyatt

ARTSLANT INSIDER* - Hilary J. England
at Red Dot Art Fair

(Image: Hilary J. England, A brave new world, Oil on canvas, 24x30", Courtesy the artist))
Hilary J. England is an award-winning artist based in Schuylkill County, PA. She has been working as a professional artist since the early 1990s creating landscapes, still life, and portraiture in oils, pastels, water mediums, charcoal and mixed media. Currently her work has focused on changing social norms and the impact of that shift on today's youth. --Hilary J. England

THE SOUND SIDE Sampling the nightlife with Natalie Hegert
One of the best parts about checking out NYC art fairs is sampling a bit of the city's nightlife.  Granted all the fairs have their VIP previews and swishy cocktail parties, but some feature real live music, from top-notch DJs, to gritty punk acts and art rock glam. Here are the musical highlights of NY Armory Week:
(Image: Not Blood, Paint. Photo by Agatha J.

Thursday March 3. Start off your art fair week with a party until the wee hours at Galapagos Art Space in Dumbo.  The curators of Verge: Art Brooklyn have put together an art fair that features a few international galleries from Tokyo, London, Seoul; but for the most part promotes Brooklyn as a “cultural bellwether” in its own right.  Showing both gallery exhibitors and open studios of resident artists, plus a juried best-of-Brooklyn showTomorrow Stars, Verge anticipates the cultural shift from the elite playground of Manhattan to the realness of the B-R-double O-K-lyn.  Their opening night party simultaneously celebrates and questions Brooklyn’s authenticity as a hub of pop music, featuring acts representing the whole spectrum, from overwrought art rock acts like Not Blood, Paint to the Brooklyn What?, a back-to-basics hometown crew that does away with the glittery make-up and rockstar costumes for roadie-inspired outfits and rock’n’roll reminiscent of the heyday of the Ramones and the Dictators.

(Image: Ninjasonik. Photo by LA-underground

Friday March 4. Head over to Manhattan’s floating fringe art fair, Fountain, which makes the combination of art and music seem completely natural, and, well, shouldn’t it be?  Unlike last year’s Detroit-based headliner Adult, this year Fountain is featuring an all New-York-native line-up.  For Friday’s opening show dance with Bronx-born Gordon Voidwelland electro-queen Tecla.

On Saturday Lomography Picture Party kicks it in style with Upper-Westsider NSR and his signature boat shoes, and fox-tail wearin’ Ninjasonik representing Bushwick.  Hip-hop is the common denominator for all these acts, but they fluidly, effortlessly add retro grooves, electro dance pop, and/or punk antics—reflecting a true New-York diversity.  Much of the art at Fountain exhibits these same sensibilities—stemming from an urban style and graffiti-inspired background, full of irreverence and ironic post-everything attitude.

Saturday March 5. In the afternoon before heading out to see Ninjasonik and NSR at Fountain, check out SCOPE art fair’s Bboy Battle put on by breakdancing crew Floor Obsession.  This invitational is part of Scope’s series of performances entitled US vs US, which also includes performances by sound/video artists, experimental lectures, and a quarantined frat party.  While you’re at Scope, don’t miss Lori Zimmer’s Rebaroque Artist Series Sound Wall—not quite like Phil Spector’s, but rather a wall of framed artworks that play music.  At the fair the music program is curated (read “deejayed”) by Gogol Bordello, DJ DB's BLURRRing Radio, Kid Zoom, DJs Ole Koretsky  and Andy Rourke of The Smiths, jazz musician Brian Newman, and others.

If you’re feeling adventurous and down to explore into the deeper reaches of Brooklyn’s music scene, head out to ionSOUND, the music component of SITE FEST 2011, put on by Arts in Bushwick to coincide with Armory Week.  If you missed them at Thursday’s show at VERGE, on Friday night at Brooklyn Fireproof you can catch Not Blood, Paint, the band Free Williamsburg voted “most likely to start a cult.” Continuing on through the weekend, check out Bushwick’s open studios and gallery shows, plus live music at Goodbye Blue Monday on Saturday and Sunday evenings, with hot indie acts like Dear Comrade and Prima Primo .  Rock on, ‘til the break-a-dawn!
--Natalie Hegert

Heather Van Uxem, Margarita Chacon, Teoman Madra
HEATHER VAN UXEM is a multi-media artist living and working in New York City. Van Uxem's current body of work explores "that moment in time when words fail you but you feel something so intense you must express it somehow, that is the moment of influence and passion."  Van Uxem will be showing at PooL Art Fair, Room #642. She will have a live performance the evening of March 4.
(Image: Heather Van Uxem, instinct/reason 121, 2011, Digital photograph. Courtesy of Heather Van Uxem)

MARGARITA CHACON . Born in Tuxpan, Veracruz. Chacon's work "is a synthesis of the real with a touch of abstraction. Abstract interpretations of memories, sounds, landscapes, feelings translated into shape and color that explode on the canvas or paper in order to create a strong visual effect. Chacon's imagery invites the viewer into her inner world where light and intense colors express more than words."
(Image: Margarita Chacon, Mangrove, Acrylic on canvas., 80x90 cm. Courtesy of Margarita Chacon)

TEOMAN MADRA. Born in Istanbul, Turkey in 1931. "With modes of pattern recognition., we have now become aware of the possibility of arranging the entire human environment as a work of art, as a teaching machine designed to maxximize the perception and make everyday learning a process of discovery. Environments are not passive wrappings, but are, rather, active processes which are invisible." Madra works in digital media.
(Image: Teoman Madra, Redmemini, Digital media. Courtesy of Teoman Madra )


After a seventeen year absence from the art world,Jack Early returned two years ago at Brooklyn’sSouth First Gallery. He makes his Manhattan “debut” at Daniel Reich with another version of Jack Early’s Ear Candy Machine, a trippy black light installation straight out of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of The Moon with a white Victrola spinning a white record of the artist singing his beautiful songs. This Friday, March 4, Early  along with an ensemble will perform live at Da nel Reich from noon onwards.
Check out ArtSlant's interview that Trong Nguyen did with Jack Early (here).
(Image: Jack Early, Jack Early’s Ear Candy Machine2009-2011, album 1994-2011, Installation View; Courtesy of Daniel Reich Gallery) 
By putting the focus back on artists through exclusively featuring solo projects, VOLTA NYpromotes a deep exploration of the work of its selected projects, an opportunity for discoveries that move beyond those afforded by a traditional art fair. While many fairs provide a broader overview, with more represented artists in each booth, visitors to VOLTA NY compare the experience to a more focused series of intense studio visits. (Volta Artists) (Open Forum Talks)
(Image: Sintra Werner, Broken Bits of Pieces VI, 2011, Large format slide, glass, mirror, bulb. Nettie Horn Gallery @ Volta. Courtesy of the artist and Nettie Horn, London)

NETTIE HORN @ VOLTA showing Sinta Werner. Sinta Werner's works stem from a wish to shift and manipulate our perceptions through meticulously planned constructions or transformations. Misleadingly playing with the limits of our perception of reality and its grey areas, she exploits the interaction between what we see and what we imagine. Through her in-situ installations and "3-D constructions", Werner aims to create illusions of flatness in space as well as illogical and dematerialised stage-sets or scenes in order to deceive and confuse the viewer's senses. She establishes a room as something eminently pictorial, and as an image against which both reality and illusion can be measured, creating a stage for the act of observation itself. (text courte sy of Nettie Horn)

ArtSlant would like to thank the fairs, galleries, museums, artists, writers and endlessly working others who bring together this fantastic arts experience.