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Expo Chicago 2015 Review – When Navy Pier Gets All Gussied Up

By Amy Munice

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Antony Gormley Freefall, 2007 Stainless steel bar 114 3/16” x 72 13/16” x 70 7/8”, 0.08 in.2 section of steel bar (9.7m3, 290 cm x 185 cm x 180 cm, 2mm2 section of steel bar) Courtesy of the artist and White Cube, London Image Credit: © The artist and White Cube


Walk into the buzzing scene of Expo Chicago and you feel that Navy Pier is putting on its party dress.  It’s not only the stylish wardrobe of many attendees, but more so because of the festive feel of art-art-art everywhere.  


In Richard Gray Gallery's space, a sculpture by Jaume Plensa (familiar to Chicagoans as the creator of Millennium Park's giant heads) with an acrylic sand and charcoal by Jim Dine in the background


You walk only a few steps and something catches your eye, or maybe makes you smile. 


Dan Sullivan + Edra Soto DominoDomino, 2014 Inlaid Corian on Jatoba Wood 30 x 30 x 30 in (76.2h x 76.2w x 76.2d cm) Installation View Courtesy of Morgan Lehman Gallery


Walk on and it happens again


Sung Jang MOBI, 2015 Injection molded plastic Dimensions variable Courtesy of the artist and Volume Gallery, Chicago


—and again


Artist: Arman Gallerie Ernst Hilger


and again. 


Daniel Buren From three windows, 5 colors for 252 places, work in situ, 2006 18 aluminum frames and transparent vinyl (blue, yellow of now, orange, pink, red, green) on Plexiglas panels; hanging system Dimensions variable Image Credit: Courtesy of the artist and Lisson Gallery, London, © DB-ADAGP


If you haven’t attended this yearly week-long ritual--Expo Chicago The International Exposition of Modern & Contemporary Art—make a mental note to do so next year. 


Andy Coolquitt Alice (3473), 2015 Painted steel, epoxy, electrical wire and bulb 10.5” x 12” x 12” each Courtesy of the artist and Lora Reynolds Gallery, Austin, Texas


Not only do you get to see the work of global artists being displayed by exhibitor galleries from around the world, but the city’s many leading cultural and arts institutions (Art Institute, Museum of Contemporary Art, Smart Museum, Block Museum, Hyde Park Art Center, Museum of Contemporary Photography, Ed Paschke Art Center, Chicago Artists Coalition, The Arts Club and more) pitch in to ensure that attendees get to know the Chicago arts scene and to ensure that Chicago is on the global art map. 


Garth Greenan Gallery of New York was typical of many exhibitors who chose to show so few works that the scene of visitors to their booth took over


The list of corporate sponsors for Expo is also long.


Sandro Miller Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich: Homage to Photographic Masters Diane Arbus / A Young Man in Curlers at Home on West 20th Street, N.Y.C (1966), 2014 Courtesy of the artist and Catherine Edelman Gallery


An entire wall of John Malkevich in many iconic photos. "Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich: Homage to Photographic Masters"


These pictures from the show are top picks but admittedly a very small fraction of what you can see. 


Marc Sijan "Security Guard", Gerald Peters Gallery


Amazingly lifelike, "Security Guard" brought many a gawker up close to see if he was real. (Mark Sijan artist; Gerald Peters Gallery)



If you are wont to get museum feet and snow blindness it’s best to take this show in mouse bites over the course of the week when it is held.  


Artist: Gunther Uecker (The Mayor Gallery and Borzo Gallery)


Hopefully next year Chicago’s City Winery and Lagunitas Brewery will continue to help make it all feel manageable.


Stay tuned to how next year’s annual show is evolving by bookmarking the Expo Chicago website.




Photos:  Peter Kachergis unless otherwise indicated



Published on Sep 20, 2015

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