Since the news broke that exposition Chicago will be coming to Navy Pier September 19-23, 2012, lots of talk has been circulating around the art world. Not much more is known, but plans and news is sure to come out steadilty from now until next fall. As we all know, the new fair will be here before we know it. What we do know is that the gallery limit will be capped at 100. Rhona Hoffman was quoted in the initial press release. Fair organizers have managed to squeeze the show in amongst a busy September calendar, including working around the Jewish holidays. Other than that, it's still anyone's guess for awhile, but while things are staring out, it's as critical as ever to be supportive of new art endeavors in Chicago. If we can manage to support TWO major art fairs a year, congratulations to us all.
From June 1:
The art world is buzzing today with a little breaking tidbit that there will be a new art fair in Chicago next September (2012). Whispers have abounded in many forms for the past couple years: Maybe Art Chicago will move to a fall schedule? Maybe we won't have a contemporary fair at all some day? Maybe former Art Chicago man Tony Karman will do a fair? Well, the 3rd option appears to be the winner. Lauren Viera at The Chicago Tribune broke the story this morning with a few details about the forthcoming "exposition CHICAGO", and the word is that Karman is in a conference all day today, so he's unavailable for comment for now.
The show is called exposition Chicago. More details to come for sure, but the short of it now seems to be that there will be an entirely new, serious fair in our city for the first time in many, many years. It'll be run by capable figures who have long been passionate and knowledgeable about the art world in general, as well as our local galleries and artists. They are forming a new team: Karman will be working with SOFA founder and director Mark Lyman, as well as Michael Franks of the Art Fair Company.
For now, there are lots of questions. Big names (and big booths) have been missing from Art Chicago the past couple of years, as well as SOFA, and it'll be interesting to see how international leaders may be lured to a new fair here, especially when competition has not let up in the US. Frieze recently announced it'll be setting up shop in New York, and Art Basel Miami seems to have stayed strong for its regular showing in December each year. There's a lot of space between September and May, so will local galleries participate in both contemporary fairs, or will they choose between the two? Will the return to Navy Pier be a welcome one? Has the lack of enthusiasm been tied to Chicago, or is it a result of the abundance of art fairs around the world, not to mention the changing economics of running a gallery day-to-day (art fairs are expensive, even if they're in your backyard!) The art fair calendar also continues to change: Frieze is coming to New York (the same time as Art Chicago, mind you) and the Mart is even starting a whole new fair in LA. All of this is while Art Basel Miami and the Armory Show still manage to dominate as the big players in the country. So, while the excitement and gossip is here, a lot is still to be determined. The team at Art Chicago also will no doubt have a new fire lit underneath them, but with some time to plan ahead for spring 2012. One question I did hear was, "what will NEXT do?" Well, the Mart owns NEXT - they bought it from Chicago founder Kavi Gupta in 2008. So, there's one question answered.
While all of these details and outcomes are still unknown, anything can be possible... Hey, it's great to have something to talk about other than our crazy Chicago weather.