It's that time of year again, when the world comes to Chicago – and Chicago stages a giant temporary art exhibition to welcome the world. With 43 international cities represented, 17 countries and literally thousands of artists participating, this weekend’s Expo Chicago has been anticipated well beyond the city limits.
• Friday: 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
• Saturday: 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
• Sunday: 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand Ave.
$20; $30 for weekend pass; $15 group tickets
Below, images from last year's Expo Chicago.
Phil Ponce: Artworks range from the traditional – to the less than traditional.
Of course you can find Chicago galleries present. And Chicago artists, like the red-hot Theaster Gates, Kerry James Marshall, even Henry Darger and his fantastic landscapes.
There’s a vast assortment of work you can’t see in too many places, including a painting by Robert DeNiro, Sr. – yes, the actor’s late father was a renowned painter.
And, if you can write a six-figure check, you could even go home with an original Roy Lichtenstein.
Officially called “the international exposition of contemporary and modern art,” Expo Chicago 2015 draws upon the city’s long history as a cultural destination. To the organizers, the fair is evidence that, when it comes to art, Chicago doesn’t take secondary status.
Tony Karman, Expo Chicago: In many ways it’s the opening of the art season worldwide, It really is an opportunity for the world to convene each September in our great city and take advantage of everything that’s also opening in our great city – music, dance, theater. It’s a great way to kick off the year.
We have the whole city engaged – our cultural institutions, museums, galleries, most importantly our artists in Chicago along with our civic leaders, our business leaders, everyone has banded together in a unique wonderful way to really say, ‘This is the place to be,’ but most importantly herald what an international art fair can herald, and that is work from around the world that deserves to be seen.
PP: Beyond collectors and casual visitors, the Expo attracts museum and curators looking to acquire new work.
TK: There’s not only private collections and collectors coming to purchase artwork, but curators on behalf of corporations or private foundations or museums, that’s an integral part of what we are about and an opportunity for anyone really to be inspired by a work, be provoked by a work and hopefully purchase that work to enjoy it in their own home.
PP: Chicago Tonight spoke with a few out-of-town visitors.
Thomas Schulte, Galerie Thomas Schulte – Berlin: This fair here for us is really about middle America. There are many places and good museums around here that make it very interesting for us to come and hopefully the fair over the years can be seen as a place where these people and the curators and donors and trustees of these museums can be taking it seriously.
Daniela Gareh, White Cube – London/Hong Kong/Sao Paulo: There’s not really any fairs in the Midwest, there’s no fairs west of New York so I’d say this in an interesting opportunity for some of the international artists that don’t often get seen in this part of the world to be seen.
Mathieu Templon: Galerie Daniel Templon – Brussels/Paris: In the past it’s been a great fair, and I think this year it’s going to be amazing, we’re glad that we brought a lot of our international artists, also French artists so we happy to be here.
PP: Some galleries have been coming to Chicago for decades. Others are new to the scene and looking for exposure.
TK: We have a section called “exposure.” This is galleries that are seven years and younger. They show more emerging work, meaning artists that are just now coming on to the full-on marketplace and this is an opportunity for collectors and curators to really explore and find out who the next leading artist will be.
PP: Overseas visitors seem to like the city as much as the biggest hometown booster.
TK: I think we all need to remember how much this city embraces its artists and culture but also works together in a way that’s unlike any city in the world. I’ve said this for years, the success of Expo Chicago is built upon the collaborative nature of our civic community, cultural community, and you know Chicago’s unique – everybody wants to work together. It really is the City of Broad Shoulders.