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There’s something to be said for an art fair that takes care of its own. This came to mind while scrolling through my Instagram feed to find an image of red roses a friend posted that she received as a woman exhibitor on International Women’s Day. The photo wasn’t staged by Independent: To my knowledge there was no official announcement by the fair. Independent had exercised its best judgment in treating its exhibitors with care and compassion.

In 2018, Independent extends this good judgment and utopic vision to its bountiful offerings, reinforcing its consistent ability to exceed expectations with this year’s precise rendition. Independent remains the final frontier for fans of art for art’s sake: the carefully curated alternative to SPRING/BREAK’s exuberant excess and the Armory Show’s sleek, multi-million dollar works. Independent presents a fine-tuned selection of gallerists whose vision shines through their keen aptitude for presentation and passion for representing their artists; it helps, of course, that each gallery is encouraged to show as few artists as possible.

The galleries showing at Independent this year were mostly strong, with a few weaker points involving picnic table-style red check print and bland, reflective abstraction. Delving into the top 6 showings proved a tricky endeavor, but below are selected standouts at Independent 2018.

Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, Garth Greenan

Garth Greenan’s presentation of oversize, visually stunning works by Jaune Quick-to-See Smith signals an aptitude for our contemporary socio-political moment and an awareness of the powerful visuals that the artist continues to create. Quick-to-See Smith, hailing from the Flathead Indian Reservation in Montana, creates powerful humanistic work in the vein of Nancy Spero or current Breuer-exhibited artist Leon Golub with more than a hint of Jasper Johns. These works enmesh newspaper clippings, some stemming from the Indian reservation, into overlaid figurative and Pop-heavy references to American culture. Her works continue to push boundaries, with a keen editorial eye toward the much-needed re-visioning of American history.

-Audra Lambert


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