September is here and the art world has descended upon the Windy City. Black-clad directors, dealers, and art handlers alike have taken over Navy Pier in preparation for the EXPO Chicago art fair. Despite the calendar telling us its autumn, the thermostat has crept dangerously close to 90 degrees almost every day, making it difficult to stay within the convention centre and off of the beach. Thankfully, however, there is a great deal of compelling art within Festival Hall to keep us interested.
Since its inception in 2012 when it took over the previous duties of Art Chicago, EXPO Chicago has become an increasingly relevant fair within the international art world circuit. There is a great mix of up-and-coming galleries as well as the tried and true tastemakers. Since it’s roots were built with midwest values and interpretations of art, EXPO is different than other fairs. Most people work during the week and the weekend is actually for sales, unlike most of the big fairs where if you’re not in with the VIPs, most of the best works will be gone by the time you make your rounds.
While there are a number of noteworthy booths at EXPO this year, we’ve managed to pick a few favourites. One of the first to catch our eye was Paul Kasmin Gallery. They wisely utilised their large space by having a multitude of fantastic sculptures to walk through in addition to a variety of paintings on the walls. A large scale Walton Ford hung in the centre flanked by works by Robert Motherwell and William N. Copley as well as 3D works by Roxy Paine and Barry Flanagan. Another large booth was occupied by Gagosian. This was the gallery’s first time at EXPO and they came out with a bang displaying a brooding group show with works by Steven Parrino and Duane Hanson. James Cohan took a bit of a lighter approach with Yinka Shonibare and Spencer Finch but still managed to set a captivating scene within their booth with 2D, 3D, and video works.
In addition to the more blue chip galleries, there were some smaller booths that truly excited us. One of those was Karla Osorio Gallery, a Brazil-based space with a focus on South American artists. While chatting with Karla, she completed a sale and needed to ship a work to its new owner. She then decided to buy Articheck on the spot and we quickly completed a condition report with her before sending it off! Luftwerk, while based in Chicago, brought attention to Antarctica’s Larsen C ice shelf cracking and breaking off due to global warming, thus changing the shape of the earth. With light, colour, and sound, the true implications of the earth’s rising temperature and water levels was brought to life with White Wanderer.
All in all, EXPO Chicago was a stunning, diverse fair and a great start to the fall season. We definitely look forward to attending again next year, hopefully with just as much luck in warm weather.