The Fifth Edition of EXPO CHICAGO Revitalizes Chicago

Jan 17, 2017 4:54PM

For Immediate Release: September 28, 2016

CHICAGO—EXPO CHICAGO, The International Exposition of Contemporary and Modern Art, concluded its fifth edition on Sunday, September 25, with record attendance of more than 38,000 visitors, exceptional presentations from exhibiting galleries, and strong sales. On opening night alone, the exposition welcomed 8,250 guests while raising money to benefit the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago during Vernissage. Mounted annually at the historic Navy Pier in Chicago, the international exposition featured 145 of the world’s leading galleries from 22 countries and 53 cities and presented work from more than 3,000 artists by galleries and through programming including /Dialogues, IN/SITU, IN/SITU Outside, EXPO Projects, EXPO VIDEO and Special Exhibitions. Exhibitors voiced strong support from the greater Midwest collector base in addition to a high volume of museum curators and institutions from around the country and abroad.

“I am extremely grateful to the exhibiting dealers who participated in the landmark fifth edition of EXPO CHICAGO,” said EXPO CHICAGO President | Director Tony Karman. “Milestones like this can only be achieved with the unprecedented support of Chicago’s cultural and civic community, along with the numerous global partnerships and collaborations that we have developed with international collectors, curators, artists and gallerists,” he added. “I feel strongly, and without question, that we have established our place on the annual art fair calendar and we look forward to continuing to welcome the world each September to the great city of Chicago in support of our exhibitors.”

“We were very happy to be back in Chicago for this year’s fair. It was an active and knowledgeable audience and sales exceeded our expectations. The organizers of the fair and the arts community in Chicago did an excellent job of facilitating meaningful conversations between gallerists and collectors and institutions. We’re looking forward to returning in 2017.” Nicholas Olney | Paul Kasmin Gallery

"We saw a lot familiar faces and met several new collectors, had fruitful conversations with curators and museum directors from all over the country, and received plenty of positive feedback on the works in our booth, some of which resulted in sales."
Claire Bergeal | Bortolami Gallery 

“We had a wonderful time in Chicago. We were thrilled with how involved the local institutions were with the fair as well as how many curators from around the world attended. It was also fantastic to connect with the established Chicago collections.”

Peggy Leboeuf | Galerie Perrotin

“EXPO CHICAGO has grown and improved consistently over the last five years, but the most substantial increase in quality and depth happened this year. This fair has the potential to become one of the most important and powerful fairs in the US. It has the most amazing institutional support and context, the audience is incredibly knowledgeable and thoughtful, the booths are generously sized at a very good price and sales were amazing for us. This fair has been a highlight for us this fall, and thanks to Tony Karman's tireless efforts, this is a major fair on the rise.”

Susanne Vielmetter | Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects

“This has been our first time at EXPO CHICAGO and we are incredibly pleased with the outcome. We felt a strong and very committed collector base - people who are engaged with the art scene and who are also not afraid to get to know new artists and get involved with new galleries. We are also very grateful for the institutional support we received from Chicago's
art museums, who not only engaged with the work we brought, but also recommended our artists to collectors and supporters. We made some outstanding new contacts and good sales and are looking forward to returning next year.”

“Remarkable improvement for KÖNIG GALERIE this year. EXPO CHICAGO was an excellent experience for us as sales were strong and we could equally strengthen and built valuable long term relationships.”
Sarah Miltenberger | KÖNIG GALERIE

“EXPO CHICAGO is a beautifully produced, high quality art fair that we look forward to every September as we launch the fall season. Each year, Tony Karman and his team somehow manage to fold in one more layer that makes the current year that much better than the last. This year's public programming, for instance, set a new bar for its depth and rigor. The fair is not to be missed.”

Valerie Carberry | Richard Gray Gallery

“We were delighted to be a part of EXPO CHICAGO this year amongst such a thriving community. Chicago-based collectors and institutions are highly committed to discovering new artists and identifying important works of art, which is why so many high quality collections are based here.”
Alissa Friedman | Salon 94

“We have had the pleasure of seeing EXPO CHICAGO grow from a mostly regional fair into an international exhibition that attracts an increasingly diverse range of collectors and curators. The response that we received this year was tremendous, and we look forward to participating in future iterations of the fair."

Miles McEnery | Ameringer | McEnery | Yohe

“This is the third time we’ve participated in EXPO CHICAGO, and year after year the quality of exhibitors and collectors is increasing. We were delighted with the contacts we have made. We have sold works by Senegalese artist Omar Ba, American painter Kehinde Wiley and French painter Philippe Cognée. We have received tremendous interest in Ivan Navarro, who gave a talk at the fair. Several works are on hold and we hope to close sales very soon. We shall be back next year and are very excited to see the new partnership between EXPO CHICAGO and Parisian institution Palais de Tokyo.”

Anne-Claudie Coric | Galerie Templon

"EXPO CHICAGO gave us the opportunity to meet an exciting group of curators that presented us with a new perspective and attitude towards our booth."
Zesty Meyers | R & Company

"The fair went very well for our gallery as we we met collectors from all over the country and were pleasantly surprised by the turnout of museum groups and major art collectors. I see the fair having a big upswing and becoming a major destination for the art world—as it should be." Kavi Gupta | Kavi Gupta Gallery

“The fair was very good, we’ve met a lot of people and are looking forward to participating again next year when we’ll hopefully create a link to the architecture biennial and hope to expand our presence in the IN/SITU part of the fair as well.”
Jorg Grimm | GRIMM Gallery

“We were really impressed with the way the fair and local institutions worked together to create a successful EXPO CHICAGO. We were able to confirm a number of sales this edition and look forward to returning.”
Nick Koenigsknecht | Peres Projects

“We were very pleased with the fair this year. We sold a beautiful recent Frank Bowling painting to a Chicago collection and the second one we brought is under serious consideration. We also sold a work by Michelle Stuart and a diptych by William Wegman, both to collectors in the Midwest. We also expect, from experience, that some of the serious interest we have gotten will result in further sales. Things that would be sold in New York minute, might sell here in 5 to ten days, but they are sales in the end.”

Marc Selwyn | Marc Selwyn Fine Arts

Curatorial Forum

In an extended effort to draw the leaders of top institutions to the exposition, EXPO CHICAGO hosted the second annual Curatorial Forum, welcoming 25 of the region’s top curators from institutions including California African American Museum, Centre Pompidou Foundation, Cincinnati Art Museum, Columbus Museum of Art, Cranbrook Art Museum, Dallas Contemporary, Des Moines Art Center, the Guggenheim, Hirshhorn Museum of Art, Institute of Contemporary Art Philadelphia, Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, Lo schermo dell'arte, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Menil Collection, Milwaukee Art Museum, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, New Museum of Contemporary Art, Phoenix Art Museum, Portland Art Museum, San Francisco Museum Of Modern Art, San Jose Museum of Art, St. Louis Art Museum, Seattle Art Museum and the Whitney Museum of American Art.

The Forum also included a private Symposium in partnership with Independent Curators International (ICI), hosted on Saturday, September 24 at the Graham Foundation. Director of the Liverpool Biennial Sally Tallant led the lively and engaging discussion, focusing on the struggles and strengths of hosting a citywide cultural event. 

“The quality and verve of so many presentations—from gallery booths, to the projects and talks—exceeded my expectations, and it was especially nice to encounter a number of young artists’ work for the first time.”

Natalie Bell | New Museum

Northern Trust

Returning for the fourth year as EXPO CHICAGO’s Presenting Sponsor, Northern Trust’s partnership continues to ensure the fair’s longevity and ability to attract art influencers from around the world. In addition to sponsorship of the VIP Collectors Lounge, Northern Trust once again offered clients a private VIP experience in the Northern Trust Anchor Lounge. This dedicated space provided a venue for Northern Trust’s signature programming, including Exchange by Northern Trust: An interactive conversation around the art of collecting featuring highlighted panel discussions with top arts professionals from around the world. Northern Trust also hosted the inaugural Family Forum, inviting clients from around the country to experience an exclusive first look at the fair, curated tours, private dinners and more.

On Saturday, September 24, Northern Trust awarded the Northern Trust Purchase Prize to Neil Raitt whose work was displayed at Anat Ebgi in the EXPOSURE section of the fair. The piece was gifted to the DePaul Art Museum and was chosen by a selection committee led by Depaul Art Museum Executive Director Julie Rodrigues Widholm.

2016 Programming

EXPO CHICAGO’s robust programming allowed visitors the opportunity to extend discussion and discourse beyond the booths of the fair. /Dialogues, presented in partnership with the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, once again offered panel discussions, conversations and provocative artistic discourse between today’s most respected art professionals including Kerry James Marshall in conversation with Sarah Thornton, giving one of the most intimate looks into the artists method while drawing the largest, standing room-only crowd in the fair’s five year history. Other featured conversations included an inaugural symposium featuring founding members of ART & LANGUAGE, artists Mel Ramsden and Michael Baldwin, as well as Philippe MéailleJill Silverman Coenegrachts and Guillaume DésangesHans Ulrich Obrist in conversation with Joseph GrigelyBeatrix Ruf and Jack Pierson with Linda Yablonsky; a roundtable on the economy of contemporary African art with Bomi OdufunadeYesomi UmoluMary Sibande and Kenneth Montague; and Pablo León de la Barra in conversation with Iván Navarro; among others.

Curated by Diana Nawi, the 2016 IN/SITU program, A Break in the Code, once again featured major suspended installations in addition to large scale work capitalizing on the unique architecture of Navy Pier’s Festival Hall. Bettina Pousttchi’s Rotunda, 2016 (Buchmann Galerie) hung above the center of the fair while Spencer Finch’s Sky Over Coney Island (November 26, 2004, 12:47 pm. Southwest View Over the Cyclone), 2004 (Rhona Hoffman Gallery), was suspended on the far west plaza and Victoria Fu’s Egg 2014 (Honor Fraser) hung over the far east plaza. Other pieces included work by Amalie Jakobsen (Efrain Lopez Gallery), Shana Lutker (Susanne Vielmetter Gallery Los Angeles Projects), Jillian Mayer (David Castillo Gallery), Rodney McMillian (MACCARONE) Julio César Morales (Gallery Wendi Norris), Carlos Rolón/Dzine (moniquemeloche; Pearl Lam; Salon 94), and Hank Willis Thomas and Eric Gottesman’s For Freedoms. 

Located on the main floor of the exposition, EXPO VIDEO was curated in two distinct sections, The Yellow Wallpaper and Deadulus, by Daria di Beauvais from the Palais de Tokyo. The two large-format screening rooms and various viewing stations presented dual conceptual approaches to film with a dynamic selection of cutting-edge film, video and new media works. For a complete listing of all EXPO VIDEO artists, click here.

IN/SITU Outside, in partnership with the Chicago Park District and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events featured the work of Afruz Amighi (Leila Heller Gallery), Daniel Buren (Bortolami), Mark di Suvero (Paula Cooper Gallery) and Ewerdt Hilgemann (Borzo Gallery; The Mayor Gallery) on display for an extended period of time throughout Chicago’s neighborhoods and along the lakefront.

The inaugural OVERRIDE | A Billboard Project, in collaboration with Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, allowed EXPO CHICAGO to further extend its reach throughout the city by placing the work of 15 artists from local, national and international galleries on Chicago’s City Digital Network consisting of 28 digital billboards. The citywide public art initiative was on view from August 29 through the close of EXPO CHICAGO, September 25. For a complete listing of all OVERRIDE Artists, click here.

EXPO Projects featured additional large-scale installations, site-specific and performative work on display in and around the exposition. Artists included Magdalena Abakanowicz (Marlborough), Kimathi Donkor (Gallery MOMO), Cody Hudson (ANDREW RAFACZ), Alfredo Jaar (Human Rights Watch in partnership with Rhona Hoffman Gallery), Samuel Levi Jones (PATRON), Anna Kunz (McCormick Gallery), Atelier van Lieshout (GRIMM), Dana Lixenberg (GRIMM), Matt Magee (THE MISSION), Sandro Miller (Catherine Edelman Gallery), Nnenna Okore (Jenkins Johnson Gallery), Sabina Ott (Hyde Park Art Center and Aspect/Ratio Gallery), Ren Ri (Pearl Lam Galleries), Adam Parker Smith (The Hole), and Saya Woolfalk (Daata Editions).

More than 25 Special Exhibitions were included in this year’s exposition highlighting EXPO CHICAGO’s mission to illustrate and preserve the important link between the arts, philanthropic and nonprofit organizations through unique and high-quality exhibitions. Top museums, universities, organizations and institutions that participated include 6018North/3 Arts, Aperture Foundation, Art Capsul, Art+Culture Projects, ART & LANGUAGE jsvcPROJECTS/London, Artadia: The Fund for Art & Dialogue, Casa Maauad, Chicago Artists Coalition, The Conservation Center, DePaul Art Museum, Human Rights Watch, Hyde Park Art Center, Natural Resources Defense Council, Redbrick Art Museum, The Renaissance Society, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, SculptureCenter, ShopColumbia, Thoma Foundation, Threewalls, University of Chicago, University of Illinois at Chicago College of Architecture Design & the Arts, Whitechapel Gallery and Zuecca Project Space.

EXPO CHICAGO also presented the inaugural Art Critics Forum on Friday, September 23. Moderated by ArtNews Editor-in-Chief Sarah DouglasTransparency | Opacity featured presentations by noted journalists including ArtReview and ArtReview Asia Editor-in-Chief Mark RappoltFrankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung Art Editor Kolja ReichertBlouin Art+America Editor- at-Large Judd Tully and Ran Dian Editor Iona Whittaker, followed by a larger discussion amongst all panelists.


In addition to Presenting Sponsor Northern Trust, premier sponsors included Chicagoland BMW CentersChloe Wine CollectionRolls-Royce Motor Cars NARuinart Champagne and Vista Residences. Additional sponsors include ArtsyArt MoneyAXA Art Americas CorporationChartwell Insurance ServicesThe Conservation CenterCultured MagazineFashion Outlets of ChicagoHeritage AuctionsKehoe DesignsMichigan Avenue MagazineThe Peninsula ChicagoRichard M. Horwood and Horwood Marcus & Berk CharteredSchool of the Art Institute of ChicagoSotheby’sSpace Haus,Terry Dowd, Inc.Tiffany & Co.United Airlines and Willis Towers Watson. Additional EXPO CHICAGO beverage sponsors and partners included EFFEN VodkaLagunitas Brewing Co.NespressoPerrierSōmruS and Wansas Tequila.

The official Hotel Sponsor was Peninsula Hotel Chicago. Hotel partners included Chicago Athletic AssociationThe Godfrey Hotel ChicagoLoews Chicago HotelLondonHouse ChicagoPark Hyatt ChicagoPUBLIC ChicagoPark Hyatt ChicagoThompson ChicagoVirgin Hotel Chicago (Official Sponsor of the Art Critics Forum) and W Chicago Lakeshore.


EXPO CHICAGO/2016, The International Exposition of Contemporary and Modern Art, is presented by Art Expositions, LLC. Now in its fifth year as a leading international art fair, EXPO CHICAGO (Sept. 22 – 25, 2016) is a four-day art event featuring more than 145 leading international galleries and offering diverse programming including /DialoguesIN/SITUIN/SITU OutsideEXPO VIDEO and the Curatorial Forum. In addition, EXPO CHICAGO continues to publish THE SEEN, Chicago's International Journal of Contemporary & Modern Art, following the first printed edition, which launched during the 2015 exposition. Under the leadership of President and Director Tony Karman, EXPO CHICAGO draws upon the city’s rich history as a vibrant international cultural destination, while highlighting the region’s contemporary arts community and inspiring its collector base. Vernissage, the opening night preview benefiting the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, takes place Thursday, Sept 22, 6 – 9 p.m. General Admission to the exposition is Friday, Sept. 23 – Sunday, Sept. 25 (for hours please visit Tickets to the exposition are $20 for one day, $30 for three days. Northern Trust is the Presenting Sponsor of EXPO CHICAGO. For more information about EXPO CHICAGO and EXPO ART WEEK (Monday Sept. 19 – Sunday Sept. 25), visit

EXPO CHICAGO/2017 returns September 13 – 17 at Navy Pier’s Festival Hall.