Independent Art Fair 2012, former Dia building Chelsea NY, November 2011 – March 2012

To animate circulation in the three exhibition floors, the inner walls stood in an X-configuration, which was shifted from the building’s central axis by 29°. This shift moved the installation away from the orientation of the New York City grid and aligned the walls with the points of a compass. Meanwhile, the outer walls of each space continued to relate to the existing walls of the old factory building located in Chelsea and to the orientation of surrounding buildings.

On the roof level, a playful indoor/outdoor environment was created that framed the sky and its constellations using a transparent tent and stretched canvas. Taking into account the orientation of the constellations in March, a large central hole was aligned with Ursa Minor (the Little Dipper), and a small round hole above the staircase framed Polaris (the North Star). The remnants cut from this constellation-defined ceiling lay on the floor, creating islands with basic information about the stars. Four publishers displayed their books on and around a wall having the same X-configuration as in the exhibition floors. On the north-south axis, a pinhole framed the North Star; on the east-west axis, a pinhole outlined the Empire State Building (exactly east of the installation).

A lounge where visitors could enjoy the view, have a drink, or read a magazine was furnished with custom-made furniture built out of Homasote, a material made from post-consumer paper products. The furniture was based on the same concept of the constellation ceiling, with material cut out from the organically shaped tabletops or seats; for zero waste, that material was used for furniture legs. In the course of the five-day fair, the furniture showed wear and tear, while the floor showed the crowd’s circulation pattern as viewers tracked through piles of pigment in the four colors from the CMYK printing template, one color placed in front of each publisher’s display.

Project team: Adrian Madlener, Madeline Hollander, Peter Dumbadze

Materials: Drywalls, canvas, pigments, Homasote

Photography:  Photo 1, 2, 3, 9, 10 and 11 by Tom Powel Imaging Inc


INDEPENDENT was conceived by Elizabeth Dee and Darren Flook and developed in conjunction with creative advisor Matthew Higgs and Co-Directors Jayne Drost Johnson and Laura Mitterrand.


29° Observatory - Independent 2012