Independent (Art Fair) (Saturday)

Memo to Independent Art Fair, organizers and exhibitors alike: Enough already, put up some labels.

In the early days of the Basel Art Fair (the real one, in Basel, Switzerland) galleries would get an official reprimand from the all-powerful committee if the labels didn’t include prices. Dealers complained that having to ask was an icebreaker with collectors. But to have to ask who the artist is – never mind the title, medium, date? This is elitist, pretentious and anti-intellectual. To the innocent “general public” this says, this isn’t for you folks. To professionals it is impertinent and irritating, putting one in the humiliating position of asking when you half-know and gobbling up precious time in doing so. For new, unknown artists with foreign names it is a total downer: who is going to remember it, next time? And for collectors, having to beg for basic information has all the novelty and subtlety of a robo-telecall.

Despite this mishegas. Independent is still one of the most pleasing visitor experiences, thanks in no small measure to the gorgeous venue. My epiphanies on this visit were mostly three-dimensional for some reason: Beverly Buchanan’s shack constructions at Andrew Edlin; a bafflingly kinky saddle mounted on a scaffold “horse” by Magali Reus at London’s Approach; and a dynamically voluptuous bronze by the late Hungarian-born Norwegian sculptor Ervin Løffler, exquisitely installed by Oslo gallery VI, VII with works in dye on canvas by young New Yorker Landon Metz (Photo: Sebastiano Pellion) DAVID COHEN