Independent was conceived and initiated in 2009 with a consortium of like-minded commercial and non-profit galleries. The first edition took place in the former Dia Center for the Arts and former home of X Initiative at 548 West 22nd Street. This was the first fair to take place in a former museum, a landmark building in Chelsea’s gallery district. The inaugural edition included 40 international exhibitors in March 2010.
Following the critical success of the first three editions, in 2014 Independent launched Independent Projects—a two-week platform of solo exhibitions during New York's auction week in November 2014. In 2016, Independent expanded to Europe in a partnership with the City of Brussels with three annual editions to date, incorporating a live performance commission series, that became central to the fair’s model. That same year in 2016, Independent relocated the New York edition of the fair from Chelsea to Spring Studios in Tribeca. As the founding visual cultural partner of Spring Studios and Spring Place, Independent joins the ecosystem of Tribeca Film Festival as one of two public events to take place annually in this location.