Issue #160  4/17/2009
Art Chicago Kicks Off April 30th At Merchandise Mart, and Runs May 1-4

Art Chicago, the international fair of contemporary and modern art, returns to the 12th floor of the Merchandise Mart, May 1-4, 2009, with an opening preview on April 30. The downtown Chicago show will feature a fresh slate of exhibitions, call-out panels, provocative programming and approximately 110 premier galleries from around the world.

"Art Chicago is as much about Chicago as it is about art," said Chris Kennedy, president of Merchandise Mart Properties, Inc. (MMPI). "This is a city with a spirited commitment to art and architecture, and, as such, is home to world-class cultural institutions run by the brightest professionals in the arts. I think art--particularly contemporary art--has a tremendous capacity to help form our civic outlook, encourage acceptance of original ideas, and help shape the point of view from which we approach problem solving."

Offering curators, collectors and art enthusiasts a wide-ranging survey starting with early 20th -century modern masters up through the most celebrated, emerging artists of our times, Art Chicago includes works in a wide range of media including painting, photography, drawings, prints, sculpture, video, mixed media and special installations.

A sampling of 2009 art galleries includes:

--Base Gallery, Tokyo

--Chambers Fine Art, New York

--DIE Gallery, Frankfurt

--Fleisher-Ollman Gallery, Philadelphia

--Forum Gallery, New York

--James Goodman Gallery, New York

--Mayor Gallery, London

--Paul Thiebaud Gallery, San Francisco

--P.P.O.W., New York

Although many of the general art galleries feature photography, the galleries announced that will specialize in photography at the fair include:


--Contemporary Works/Vintage Works

--Stephen Daiter Gallery

--Catherine Edelman Gallery

--Hackelbury Fine Art

--Rhona Hoffman Gallery

--Robert Koch Gallery

--Alan Koppel Gallery

--Holden Luntz Gallery

--Weinstein Gallery

"Art Chicago 2009 will be a comprehensive art experience for dealers, collectors, curators, artists and enthusiasts alike," notes Tony Karman, vice president of Art Chicago. "The show will maintain its international flavor, with galleries from Spain, England, Germany, Canada, India, Korea, France, Mexico and Japan participating. We welcome many returning Art Chicago galleries as well as first-time participants from abroad, throughout the US, the Midwest and, of course, our own Chicago dealers."

"Art has to be the subtext for any production concerning Art Chicago," notes Vice President of MMPI Art Shows & Events Paul Morris, "To this end, Art Chicago has taken a lead position emphasizing education and outreach to experienced collectors, and programs designed to attract and engage new collectors. Our team is focused on making all of the art at the fair accessible; we've implemented a Docent Program, improved cultural alliances, are offering Art Advisory services, and have solicited the participation of the pre-eminent thinkers in the art world."

Entering The Merchandise Mart, Art Chicago attendees will encounter one of Buckminster Fuller's renowned geodesic domes in the enormous South Lobby. The original dome, aptly placed in the epicenter of design, is the ultimate representation of Buckminster Fuller's unparalleled influence on art, design and architecture. The dome also serves as a complement to the Museum of Contemporary Art's concurrent exhibition Buckminster Fuller: Starting with the Universe.

Three stand-alone, on-site exhibitions will harmonize with the Art Chicago dealers within the gallery-like setting of The Merchandise Mart's twelfth floor, including: New Insight, Partisan, and The Hairy Who and Imagist Legacy in Contemporary Art.

New Insight, now in its third year, is a much-anticipated exhibition of top MFA students from some of the country's most influential graduate art programs. Curated by Susanne Ghez, director of the Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago, New Insight is a platform for new talent and innovative ideas. This non-commercial installation will introduce Art Chicago visitors to the brightest young artists working in diverse graduate programs across the country.

Mary Jane Jacob, executive director of exhibitions at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, will curate Partisan. This special exhibition culled from Art Chicago galleries will highlight works dedicated to the artistic exploration of social and political ideas. With hopes of initiating dialogue about art, activism and social change, Partisan provides a critical space of thought-provoking, highly charged works.

The Hairy Who and Imagist Legacy in Contemporary Art will honor Chicago's legendary artists best known for a colorful and irreverent aesthetic. Art Chicago will present an exhibition of works by contemporary artists whose works demonstrate an Imagist influence, whether from an unusual approach to representation, rebellious technique or link to the Imagist lineage. This exhibition, also featuring work by artists represented at the fair, will be curated for Art Chicago by Lynne Warren, curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago and expert on the history of artistic practice in Chicago.

Realist art evolves to encompass the eras it represents, and Art Chicago is proud to showcase unique representational works in a Salute to Realism. Throughout the fair in dealer spaces, representational, outstanding works that demonstrate realism and traditional inspirations will be highlighted with special plaques.

In addition to exhibitions, Art Chicago once again presents Art Chicago Speaks, an on-site series of round-tables, panels and presentations from an international roster of artists, writers, critics and curators brought together during the fair to discuss current trends and challenging issues confronting the contemporary art market today. Among many others, presentations include A Night at the Opera: Performance and Process in Contemporary Sculpture presented by the International Sculpture Center. One on One: A Creative Conversation between Cynthia Rowley and Nick Cave will explore the intersection between art and style during this presentation by celebrated fashion designer and avid art collector Rowley and contemporary artist Cave, known for his wearable sculptures. Rounding out the weekend will be Art and the New Economy, a panel discussion focusing on positive ways to navigate the art market and arts funding in challenging economic times; organized by ArtTable, this program will be led by Paul Morris, vice president MMPI Art Shows & Events and co-founder of The Armory Show; Chicago gallery owner Rhona Hoffman, and will also feature Sarah Herda, executive director of the Graham Foundation.

"Art Chicago Speaks is a forum for exploring questions facing the art world in a tumultuous market," explains Paul Morris. "This intellectually engaging component to the fair challenges participants and guests with questions about the past, present and future of the art world, all led by some of the utmost experts in the art world today."

Debuting at Art Chicago and NEXT, CONVERGE will assemble 30+ regional curators together in public programs and panels to discuss topics confronting museum and curatorial practice in the changing economic climate. Art Chicago and NEXT will present this forum yearly during the fairs, bringing together curators from across the region and the country to discuss the most critical topics of the day.

Art Chicago, the star of a city-wide celebration of arts and culture called Artropolis, will be hosted at The Merchandise Mart. Running concurrently at The Mart is NEXT, the invitational exhibition of emerging art, and The Merchandise Mart International Antiques Fair. In 2008, Art Chicago and the fairs at The Merchandise Mart drew 54,000 attendees over four days.

More than 80 cross-discipline institutions from around Chicago will participate in the weekend with special openings, performances, exhibitions, back-of-house tours, discounted tickets, after-hours events and more. Museums, dance troupes, nightclubs, music venues, arts organizations and a host of cultural institutions large and small will be involved with the Artropolis experience. Further information can be found at artropolischicago.com.

Art Chicago 2009 enjoys a particularly strong alliance with the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. Devoted to the art of our time, the MCA is recognized as one of the nation's most esteemed museums and an enormous cultural draw to Chicago. Art Chicago 2009 has aligned dates with the opening of the MCA's much anticipated opening of Take your time: Olafur Eliasson, May 1 – September 13, 2009. Curators from the MCA will offer their expertise on panels and exhibitions; The Mart recently partnered with the MCA for Jenny Holzer's exquisite exhibition PROTECT PROTECT, during which text-based work projected onto the enormous south face of the building turned The Merchandise Mart into a colossal canvas.

Art Chicago's Opening Preview, April 30, 2009, will begin with First Focus, a $150 / ticket benefit for the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, from Noon – 3 p.m., hosted by the MCA Women's Board. First Focus will give collectors the first opportunity to see the exceptional works at Art Chicago.

Following First Focus is a Professional Preview, by invitation, from 3 – 6 p.m., followed by an Opening Night Preview, from 6 – 9 p.m., with a ticket price of $40, partial proceeds benefiting the MCA.


Opening Preview, April 30, 2009

Noon-3 p.m. First Focus, providing sneak peek at Art Chicago. All proceeds will benefit the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. Tickets are $150 and can be purchased by visiting http://www.mcachicago.org/firstfocus .

3-6pm: Art Chicago Professional Preview

By invitation.

6-9pm: Art Chicago Opening Preview

Benefiting the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. Tickets are $40 and may be purchased on site or pre-ordered by going to http://www.artchicago.com .

General Run of Fair, May 1-4, 2009


Friday, May 1, 11 am-7 pm

Saturday, May 2, 11 am-7 pm

Sunday, May 3, 11 am-6 pm

Monday, May 4, 11 am-4 pm

Location: The Merchandise Mart, Chicago


$20 for entry to all three shows (Art Chicago, NEXT and Merchandise Mart International Antiques Fair).

$25 for multiple-day pass.

$15 Seniors and Students, all multi-day passes.

Information: http://www.artchicago.com or 1-312-527-3701.