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EXPO CHICAGO, the inaugural International Exposition of Contemporary and Modern Art, presented over 120 leading international galleries and drew over 27,000 patrons to Navy Pier. In its first year, EXPO CHICAGO reaffirmed Chicago’s place as an international art fair destination.
EXPO’s design-forward interior and layout, conceived by MacArthur Fellow Jeanne Gang (Studio Gang Architects) of Chicago set the tone for an elegant setting that highlighted the looming white walls and extraordinary work brought by EXPO exhibitors that had been absent in Chicago for far too long.
Recognizing the importance of both established and emerging galleries, EXPO CHICAGO presented EXPOSURE, a section of the fair reserved for younger galleries to give them the opportunity to gain more visibility by highlighting 1-2 artists from their programs. The program returns in 2013 with elevated criteria for galleries in business up to seven years as opposed to five.
EXPO programming included IN/SITU, organized by independent curator Michael Ned Holte (co-curator for the upcoming Hammer Biennial), presented site-specific and large-scale works throughout the Festival Hall including notable works by Tony Feher and Robert Barry.
Partnerships with the Art Institute of Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art, the School of the Art Institute, the Renaissance Society and over 30 other leading institutions for exclusive tours and viewings. The /Dialogues series of discussions by leading critics, artists, and curators including New York critic Jerry Saltz and LA-based artist Sterling Ruby, highlighted the event generating conversation and a new excitement for art and artists, presented in conjunction with the School of the Art Institute.
Speaking on behalf of EXPO CHICAGO’s inaugural Civic Committee, led by honorary Chair Mayor Rahm Emanuel, chairman Jack Guthman effused, “Having such a prestigious group of business and arts leaders support us in our first year sends a message that Chicago wholeheartedly supports a fair of the finest caliber.”
EXPO's inaugural year was a success, and in 2013, with a new design by Jeanne Gang, the return of 2012 exhibitors, and an even stronger backing from a regional and international community, EXPO CHICAGO promises to shine even brighter.