Putting Chicago Back on the International Art Fair Map by Norbert Marszalek

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The second annual Expo Chicago was very much like last year’s fair … which is a good thing! Expo Chicago is putting Chicago back on the international art fair map. Thank goodness Tony Karman rescued this art fair from the incapable hands of the Merchandise Mart—though it wasn’t all bad with the Mart. The Merchandise Mart worked some of their incredible magic in 2006 with their own recovery from Thomas Blackman and his intended tent in Grant Park. It’s just that the Merchandise Mart doesn’t really know how to run an art fair and it became more apparent as the years went on.

Regarding the work, I really enjoyed seeing a lovely David Park portrait of a woman hanging next to a figurative painting by Elmer Bischoff and then turning the corner and seeing a Diebenkorn. Also memorable was a large painting by Chantal Joffe titled “Molly on the Beach” and some smaller works by San Francisco artist Kim Frohsin.

There was a lot of what I would consider “decorative” abstract work but overall this was a very satisfying fair. I would like to note that the most dynamic piece I saw was a painting (pictured below) by Wesley Kimler. This painting was located in one of the open areas because he is not represented by a gallery.

I am definitely looking forward to next year’s fair. Let’s hope Expo brings the same plus more!

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