Art Chicago, the International Fair of Modern and Contemporary Art, joined forces with NEXT, the International Exhibition of Emerging Art, to present a lively mix of art, talks, performance, book signings and parties that opened on Thursday night and runs through May 2nd at the massive Merchandise Mart in Chicago. Art Chicago is hosting 120 exhibitors from more than 45 cities worldwide, while NEXT is featuring 42 cutting‐edge galleries from around the globe.
Art Chicago and NEXT are presenting a special exhibition by Shepard Fairey, creator of the iconic and controversial Barack Obama HOPE campaign poster and a standout in MOCA/LA’s Art in the Streets exhibition, partnership with his LA gallery, Robert Berman. Fairey is making new murals around the city—some sanctioned, some not—while filling the lobby and Berman’s booth with new works.
Fairey’s presence created a buzz at the opening, while the music that he was mixing put a spell on the audience, which was dancing in booths and then buying art. It was a risky venture on the part of the organizers, but one that paid off for exhibitors.
Other highlights of the fairs include the New Insight exhibition, a display of students enrolled in leading American university’s MFA programs, that was curated by Susanne Ghez, director of Chicago’s Renaissance Society; the Focus Photography exhibition running throughout Art Chicago; NEXT Projects, which features works in a variety of mediums by Michael Decker, Anindita Dutta, Theaster Gates, Chris Johanson, Cordy Ryman and many others; and Sculpture Projects, a showcase of large‐scale sculptures produced in conjunction with Chicago Sculpture International, that’s on view in the exterior and interior public spaces of the Merchandise Mart.
Lluis Barba, La muestra de Gersaint Watteau, Courtesy of Cynthia Corbett Gallery