Armory Week 2012

The Dependent Art Fair Brings Crowds to the Lower East Side With Lamination Manifestos and $30,000 Posteriors

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The Comfort Inn on Ludlow, which hosted the 2012 edition of the Dependent Art Fair this past Saturday, seems anomalous not just for the neighborhood, but also when compared to other Comfort Inns. The elevator seemed to take hours between the call and the door opening, and the building sprawls up where the other motels sprawl wide. There are, occasionally, sensuous paintings of women in the tan hallways and the guy behind the front desk might, sotto voce, offer you a somehow-creepy group discount and then give you like 27 cards to distribute to potential guests, as though it wouldn’t be sufficient to tell them, “Yeah, it’s the Comfort Inn on the Lower East Side.”

The irony of this whole situation, though, seemed just fine for the 21 dealers of Dependent, which takes its name from the now-established Independent Art Fair and its format from the original room-to-room Armory Show at the Gramercy Park Hotel, then called the Gramercy International. These galleries, professional L.E.S.-ers and outer borough-ites comfortable with pop-ups, could exist anywhere, the weirder the better, and their clientele packed the hallways, noon to 8 p.m., drinking beer and speaking in soft voices. The afore-referenced sleaziness didn’t hurt either. Read More