Don’t Call It An Art Fair!

But those collectors are naturally beside the point. The real purpose of the Independent, Ms. Dee said, is to channel that post-boom energy she insists is bubbling up all over the city and give it a habitat. “That’s why this is important,” she explained.

“That’s the sadness of the art world,” Ms. Westreich added. “For people who are as engaged as this community, it has been a very desultory moment. Chelsea has felt tired. And corporate.”

“And,” Ms. Dee said sternly, “intellectually bankrupt.”

Meanwhile, Ms. Westreich enthused, the energy is out there.

“Where is it? It is!” she sang. “Independent is just an opportunity for more people to see it. It’s happening! And it’s not just happening in New York—it’s happening in Paris, it’s happening in Berlin, it’s happening in Cologne. It’s happening wherever there are serious artists living and working.”

Asked to be more specific about the defining characteristics of this “it,” Ms. Westreich said something about interactivity, listening and responding, her passion for the cause evidently undeterred by its abstract nature.

“There is no perfect truth,” she said, with emotion. “We’re all looking for things that we’ll never find. We’re all in dark rooms. How do you know there was a big bang? How do you know it’s 75 million light years to the sun, or whatever that number is?”

The Observer admitted it was a good point.

“It isn’t about knowing anymore,” Ms. Westreich said. “There is no right and wrong. All we have are questions. And Independent is a big question mark.”

lneyfakh@observer.com

Don’t Call It An Art Fair!