Independent 20th Century returns for its second edition, September 7-10, 2023 in New York City and online. The invitation-only fair premiered in 2022 to champion artists and international avant-garde movements that took place between 1900 and 2000. The fair is located in the historical Battery Maritime Building, which was built in 1908. Independent 20th Century highlights internationally recognized artists, spotlights lesser-known narratives, and features a side of a canonical artist’s practice that even well-informed collectors and museums find worthy of further curatorial and market attention. This year, founding curatorial advisor Matthew Higgs has nominated a range of diverse presentations of approximately 50 artists that encompass American debuts, new aspects of well-known artists, women artists throughout the 20th century, Caribbean and South American voices, self-taught artists, Black art communities, international Pop, Italian avant-garde, and more. In addition, Independent will welcome the non-profit Hauser & Wirth Institute, a private foundation dedicated to increasing access to artists’ archives. For their Independent debut, Hauser & Wirth Institute will present selections from two artists’ archives it has recently supported: Zahoor ul Akhlaq (1941-1999) and Mary Dill Henry (1913-2009).
Founder Elizabeth Dee states, “Independent 20th Century is doubling down on its mission to reframe and broaden our understanding of the canon during this timeframe, and spark conversations that perhaps haven’t happened before, or are long overdue. A new public program and institutional partnerships will launch this year to support ongoing exchanges between contemporary artists and their legacies. We’ve paid special attention to our self-taught category this year, designed to expand our historical understanding across class, gender, and geographical divides. As the appetite from contemporary art audiences continues to broaden, we look forward to bringing Independent 20th Century back to New York City.”
The fair will debut a program of talks, as well as a performance by Allan Wexler, that will be free and open to the public. The official public program and institutional partners will be announced in mid-August.
WOMEN ARTISTS ACROSS THE CENTURY
Works by women artists showcase profound diversity across decades of the 20th century, with more than 20 presentations ranging from self-taught artists to leading artists in the avant-garde milieu. Alexandre will present a selection of paintings and works on paper by Loren MacIver (1909-1998) and Edith Schloss (1919-2011), two American artists who each spent an extended period of time in Europe in the mid-late 20th century. Both of these artists elevate quotidian subjects in delightful and unexpected ways: MacIver, who was self-taught, through her poetic renderings of fleeting moments and objects collected throughout a lifetime of travel and contemplation, and Schloss, in her whimsical views and still lifes that celebrate the ease and joy of summer on the Mediterranean coast. Fridman Gallery will present works by Dindga McCannon (1947), who played a vital role in the Black Arts Movement of the 1960s and 70s as one of only two female members of the influential Weusi Artist Collective and a co-founder of the trailblazing group, Where We At Black Women Artists, Inc. Beck & Eggeling International Fine Art will foreground the German post-war artist Hal Busse (1926-2018), featuring works from the late 1950s as the renowned ZERO group was coming into being. This presentation marks the first posthumous look at Busse’s work in the US. Fortes D'Aloia & Gabriel will exhibit works by Brazilian painter Wanda Pimentel (1943-2019), whose paintings employ a chaotic Pop repertoire of home appliances, furniture, and design objects in urban Brazil under the military dictatorship. Zürcher Gallery will show artworks by Regina Bogat (1928). As part of the 10th Street art scene in NYC in the 1960s, Bogat was the only woman artist working in the Bowery Studio building with Mark Rothko and other Abstract Expressionists. Luxembourg + Co. will foreground artworks by Alice Baber (1928-1982), an American Abstract Expressionist painter best known for the organic, biomorphic forms she created using a staining technique that allowed her to explore pure color and elicit a sense of radiant light. Nahmad Contemporary will showcase artist Marie Laurencin (1883-1956), who was central to the Paris avant-garde of the early 20th century. She was one of the few women artists associated with the Cubist movement. The exhibition Marie Laurencin: Sapphic Paris will be on display at the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia from October 22, 2023 – January 21, 2024. Galerie Lelong & Co. presents Window Paintings, an unseen body of work by Mildred Thompson (1936-2003) that demonstrates the artist's profound understanding of color, energetic mark-making, and complex compositions.
Self-taught artists make up a remarkable 25 percent of this year’s presentations, a category that was introduced on a much smaller scale in 2022. James Barron Art presents works at Independent 20th Century by Winfred Rembert (1945-2021). Hailing from Jim Crow-era Georgia, Rembert was imprisoned and endured taxing physical labor while working on various chain gangs—a harrowing experience that would later prove central to the narrative of his extraordinary art. Rembert learned how to tool and craft leather from a fellow prisoner—the technique he later used to build a unique body of autobiographical paintings for nearly 25 years. Galatea presents the US debut of Miguel Dos Santos (1944), a self-taught artist hailing from northeastern Brazil whose work in ceramics, sculpture, and painting draws from African and South American cultural traditions. James Fuentes presents Ed Baynard (1940-2016), who is primarily known for his still-life paintings of flowers, plants, and other aspects of the natural world. Baynard worked as a graphic designer for The Beatles and a costume designer for Jimi Hendrix before rising to prominence as an artist in 1970s New York.
THE ITALIAN AVANT-GARDE: FROM SPATIALISM TO INTERNATIONAL POP
A concentration of presentations by Italian artists span several key decades across artistic modes including minimalism, abstraction, and Pop. 1/9unosunove presents the early works of Sergio Lombardo (1939). From 1961 he grew closer to the Piazza del Popolo School in Rome, Italy’s equivalent to Pop, resulting in his 1961-63 series Gesti Tipici (Typical Gestures) which portrayed, first in black in white, then also in color, some of the most relevant and iconic political figures of the time, including John F. Kennedy, Malcolm X, and Charles De Gaulle. Galerie Volker Diehl and Dep Art Gallery present the work of artist Turi Simeti (1929-2021), renowned for his single-color paintings that often feature oval motifs that seemingly protrude from the canvas. Much of this work relates to the overlapping artistic movements of the ZERO group, also featured at the fair. Galleria Tommaso Calabro presents the US posthumous debut of the work of artist Mario Deluigi (1901-1978) from the 50s and 60s, when Deluigi developed his signature grattage technique to investigate pictorial light and space, adding to Lucio Fontana’s Spatialism movement. Richard Saltoun Gallery will present a group exhibition around the theme of abstraction, focusing on three of the most influential women artists working in Rome during the 1960s and 1970s: Bice Lazzari (1900-81), who has been described as the “Agnes Martin of Italy,” Carla Accardi (1924-2014), whose work was prominently featured at the 2022 Venice Biennale, Bertina Lopes (1924-2012), and Giulia Napoleone (1936). The presentation will celebrate the distinct contributions of Lazzari, Accardi, and Napoleone to the canon of post-war abstraction, underscoring their enduring influence and artistic legacies.
THE OTHER SIDE OF CANONICAL ARTISTS
Several presentations showcase mainstays of the art historical canon, with new and inventive perspectives. Vito Schnabel presents a selection of portraits by Andy Warhol (1928-1987) from the 1970s-1980s, curated by Bob Colacello, the former editor of Interview Magazine and a longtime collaborator of the artist. Perrotin presents masterpieces from Spanish artists Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) 50 years after his death, and Joan Miró (1893-1983), offering a unique glimpse into the creative minds of these artistic giants. Almine Rech presents Jean Miotte (1926-2016), one of the prominent figures of lyrical abstraction within the new School of Paris, with paintings that demonstrate his affinity toward gestures and action that transpose an emotion. A group presentation by Beck & Eggeling International Fine Art highlights French avant-garde artist Yves Klein (1928-1962), whose revolutionary rich shade of ultramarine, International Klein Blue, continues to resonate in the worlds of art and design today. Sies + Höke presents photographs by Sigmar Polke (1941-2010), characterized by irony and mysticism that come alive with Polke’s mercurial and irrational engagement. These photographs will be accompanied by Polke’s 1969 kinetic sculpture Potato Machine – Apparatus Whereby One Potato Can Orbit Another, which has been exhibited institutionally worldwide and belongs in the collection of the Tate. Venus Over Manhattan will present gouaches by American artist Alexander Calder in conversation with totemic sculptures from Vanuatu.
ARTISTS FROM THE CARIBBEAN, SOUTH ASIA, AND THE AMERICAS
This edition of Independent 20th Century showcases 11 presentations by BIPOC artists with a concentration of artists hailing from the Caribbean, South Asia, and the Americas. Corbett vs. Dempsey presents the Cuban-American artist Emilio Cruz (1938-2004), who played a central role in the emergence of figurative expressionism in early 1960s New York. Diane Rosenstein Gallery spotlights the vibrant paintings of Trinidad-based Kenwyn Crichlow (1951), whose unique abstract language is a humanistic, aesthetic, and political choice. Exhibited for the first time in New York City with Independent 20th Century, S94 Design presents a series of ceramic works by artist Myrtle Williams (1955) layered with the textures, signs, and symbols of her travels and imbued with her lifelong desire to give visibility to Black women. Donald Ellis Gallery foregrounds the work of Native American artist Louisa Keyser, also known as Dat So La Lee (1829-1925), a self-taught, widely recognized basket weaver from the Washoe people, who worked in the early 1900s in California and Nevada to great acclaim during her lifetime and in the art market today. The non-profit Hauser & Wirth Institute will display archival materials from the papers of Zahoor ul Akhlaq (1941-1999), one of Pakistan’s most influential artists. He is known for exploring pictorial space and flatness in paintings and prints, combining a keen awareness of abstraction and modernism with the traditions of calligraphy and miniature painting.
Sarah Brown McLeod
Independent New York was established in 2010, as a consciously scaled art fair focused on inspiring relevant art encounters for a well-informed and devoted Contemporary Art audience. Independent 20th Century premiered in 2022 to champion artists and international avant-garde movements that took place between 1900-2000, in a historical setting. Independent New York and Independent 20th Century together premiere internationally recognized artists, spotlight lesser known narratives, or feature a side of a canonical artist’s practice that even well-informed collectors and museums find worthy of further curatorial and market attention.