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By Joel Kuennen

On August 21st, the New York Times published an article entitled, “For Art Dealers, a New Life on the Circuit.” In it, a great lament for the loss of the fat times when dealers had but to sit in their galleries and wait for buyers to walk through the door. Now, they must trot around the globe, hawking their wares like common international businessmen and businesswomen. Reeling back the snark, traveling is tough; it keeps a person on-edge, off-center but it’s an increasing reality for those invested in a broad, high-wealth marketplace such as the art world. It’s just a fact of the shifting centers of wealth.

New York, as much as it resists, isn’t the center of the world anymore. In fact, London receives roughly twice as much global capital investment than New York (fun infographic). The center shifts by the hour, as markets open and close, and those old capitals are destabilized by the ebb and flow of global capital, hence the “circuit.” Round and round we go, capital (i.e.: wealth locus) to capital and the best Chicago can hope for is to be included on the itinerary...

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By James Pepper Kelly

On a humid Thursday, shortly before sunset, taxis and town cars carrying well-coiffed women and men will converge on 600 East Grand Avenue. There, joined by a crowd of somewhat lesser personages on foot, they will step into the belly of the beast: Navy Pier Festival Hall, as redesigned by Studio Gang Architects. After three hours inside the leviathan, touched by “celebratory food and drink” and saturated with art, they will emerge—the faithful—into the rainy night. The unseen moon will be full. EXPO CHICAGO will have begun.

That, at least, is the version prayed for by EXPO President/Director Tony Karman and his staff. Thursday, September 19th will have passed by the time this article appears, and Karman will already have telling indicators of the fair’s commercial viability, based not just on the vernissage but also on the six hours of unofficial VIP access directly beforehand. In fact, hints of sales will have come even before that, thanks to EXPO’s partnership with Artspace.com. Since September 9th the site has offered collectors (and everyone else) “first access to preview over 600 works showcased by 100 of EXPO’s premier galleries,” each work helpfully flanked by bright pink buttons announcing “CONTACT US TO BUY”.

Sales, of course, are a common measure of an art fair’s success. EXPO needs more of them if it’s to survive beyond its infancy; if not cash-starved after the 2012 inaugural opening, it was at least underfed. It’s noteworthy that Karman, in this atmosphere, continues to protectively insist that “the art comes first.” On that stormy Thursday, after the last of his elegant guests have departed, it’s easy to imagine him walking through the space with a flashlight, laughing quietly, re-living how his creation finally met the public. It’s his baby, the hulking thing. He’s determined to grow it strong, strong enough to bat its fist/paw/fin into Lake Michigan and send waves out across the Great Lakes, up the St. Lawrence River, and out to the Atlantic Ocean and beyond...

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In this week's Rackroom interview, Caroline Picard talks with Chicago performance art mainstay, Lin Hixson. They discuss Hixson's performance group, Every house has a door, current projects, past lives, and how change is good...

CP: What made you want to direct?

LH: I think the impulse for directing came from my visual art training in the sense that I wanted to see the whole picture. I didn’t like performing and trying to see the work at the same time...

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ABRYANT GALLERY - Sam Jaffe, "Pre-Shrunk," 2012, Yarn on wood panel, 14" x 18". Image courtesy of EDITION Chicago.

COURTNEYBLADES - Alistair Matthews, "Untitled (Banana)", 2013. Pigment Print, 18 x 24 in. Image courtesy of EDITION Chicago.

MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY PHOTOGRAPHY - Geissler/Sann, "Banks and Breese", 2002. Archival inkjet print 9 x 10.75 inches on 11 x 14 inch paper Edition of 50. Image courtesy of EDITION Chicago.

MANNEKEN PRESS - Melissa Cook, “Still Life With Peonies”, 2013. Monotype, 30” x 22”. Image courtesy of EDITION Chicago.


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