by Joel Kuennen
What makes EXPO CHICAGO different from the rest? Nicole Berry, Deputy Director of EXPO CHICAGO perhaps said it best towards the end of a chat we had on a sunny day outside a small café near the offices of EXPO in River North. “Hamza Walker said it in an article, ‘Chicago is having a moment,’ which is totally true… Chicago deserves an art fair, a serious art fair of the highest quality and we’re trying to bring that back, but it’s not just about the art fair but about the art community.”
The work started with a trip to Frieze. There, Berry, Rhona Hoffman of Rhona Hoffman Gallery and Tony Karman, the Executive Director of EXPO approached dealers, collectors, museum crews and the like to build awareness for Chicago’s new fair that would take place on storied Navy Pier after two decades of art fairs in the labyrinth of the Merchandise Mart.
Sean Kelly of Sean Kelly Gallery in New York cited the return to Navy Pier as the main reason his gallery would come back to Chicago. The word spread and expectations have only grown as the full breadth of EXPO has come to light. With MacArthur Fellow Jeanie Gang of Gang Studios in charge of the interior design, Karman has involved Chicago’s best in putting together what will be a fair worthy of Chicago and its varied and vibrant arts community...
PHOTOGRAPHY AT EXPO
by Alicia Chester
The inaugural EXPO CHICAGO aims to reestablish the city as a premier international art fair destination, taking place in the same location its predecessor of many years, Art Chicago, had inhabited until 1991. Endeavoring to attract the attention of the international art scene, exhibitor highlights include such high profile photographers as Gordon Parks, presented by the Weinstein Gallery (Minneapolis) and the Gordon Parks Foundation, and László Moholy-Nagy, presented by Annely Juda Fine Art (London). But the most intriguing projects at the Navy Pier this year will not only engage photographic practices, but will be curatorial in nature and decidedly focused on local artists.
Internationally acclaimed photographer Dawoud Bey (Stephen Daiter Gallery) was commissioned to curate a special exhibition for EXPO. With free rein on the direction of the project, he chose five established Chicago-based artists – Barbara Kasten, Laura Letinsky, Kerry James Marshall, Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle, and Jessica Stockholder – who, in turn, selected five lesser-known artists for the exhibition – Curtis Mann, Nazafarin Lotfi, Kenrick McFarlane, Shane Huffman, and Patrick Chamberlain, respectively. Each pairing of artists will be installed in tandem to create a conversation among similarities and differences in concepts and materials, hence Bey’s exhibition title, Eclectic Coherence...