Under the Leadership of Frieze, EXPO CHICAGO Is Set for an Enduring Success

by | Apr 18, 2024 | Art Fair Coverage

Laura Lati in font of Cynthia Corbett Gallery’s booth, featuring Andy Burgess at EXPO CHICAGO 2024 © Laura Lati for artfairmag

EXPO CHICAGO’s 11th Edition opened on Thursday April 11th, 2024 within EXPO ART WEEK. For the first year, the fair operated under the Frieze Art Fairs umbrella and the excitement was palpable. Midwestern collectors gathered on opening night, with a friendly and approachable vibe I have not experienced at a fair before.
170 galleries gathered under the theme Collective Memory intercepted by fascinating IN/SITU installations like the mirrors installation by Perrotin’s Colombian artist Ivan Argote, facing a large-scale canvas (Cultural Archaeologist) framed with lace trim by Sydney G. James, a big name of the Detroit art movement, at Jane Lombard Gallery (35,000 USD). Also in IN/SITU, center stage, was Lucia Koch’s giant photograph on vinyl with wood from Nara Roesler gallery. Facing it, a work on paper WWTD by Nicole Eisenman stole the show at one of Chicago’s major galleries, Corbett vs. Dempsey (around 175,000 USD).
WWTD by Nicole Eisenman

Nicole Eisenman featured by Corbett vs. Dempsey at EXPO CHICAGO 2024 © Laura Lati

In the Galleries section, Michael Kohn Gallery with gleaming works by Nir Hod sold out in the first hours of the fair (larger works priced at 130,000 USD). The booth of Mariane Ibrahim Gallery caught my eye with a presentation of monumental works by Raphael Barontini. Labor Gallery, from Mexico City, exhibited Chilean artist Seba Calfuqueo, whose works will be on view in Arsenale, at the 60th Venice Biennale, curated by Adriano Pedrosa. The head sculptures were priced around 9000 USD.
labor gallery with heads by chilean artist seba calfuqueo (also at venice arsenale)

Labor Gallery with heads by Chilean artist Seba Calfuqueo at EXPO CHICAGO 2024 © Laura Lati for artfairmag

Gallery Kristin Hjellegjerde presented a work by Eileen Cooper, listed for 26,000 USD. Cooper is part of the Women in Revolt! Art and Activism in the UK 1970-1990, Tate Britain exhibition and is quickly getting more exposure on the American art scene. Another beautiful work in their booth, that sold for 15,000 USD very early in the fair, was by Christina Nicodema who will have a show with the gallery’s Palm Beach location this coming September.

A fair highlight Love is… was at the heart of the Tennessee gallery, David Lusk, a winding large-scale wall relief made with used romance novels by artist John Salvest. The work was listed for 54,000 USD. Galerie Carole Kvasnevski featured a bedroom installation, entirely by Zanele Muholi, with South African Gavin Rajah designed pillow cases, priced at 400 USD.

john salvest at david lusk gallery

John Salvest work, made with romance novels, at David Lusk Gallery’s booth, at EXPO CHICAGO 2024 © Laura Lati for artfairmag

The Profile section

In the Profile section, showcasing solo booths and collective projects, Luce Gallery from Turin, Italy, which just had a highly successful booth at Frieze Los Angeles, was presenting enchanting soft pastel paintings by Grace Lynne Hayes, vibrant with supernatural female figures of the Black community. Spinello Projects Cuban artist Nereida Garcia-Ferraz was deservedly awarded the La Crema Award at the fair opening day for his intricate village scenes. The prize focuses on the LGBTQ+ community.

Grace Lynne Hayes presented by Luce Gallery at EXPO CHICAGO 2024 © Laura Lati for artfairmag

The Exposure section

In the Exposure section, for younger galleries and emerging artists, curator Rosario Güiraldes, from the Walker Art Center, was full of wonderful surprises. Dreamsong gallery, also from Minneapolis, presented artist Ta-coumba Aiken whose abstract works explore the spirit of his ancestors through form and color (Reunion, from 2022 was priced at 15,500 USD). Cob Gallery, from London, exhibited the delicate spiritual imaginary women portraits by Chechu Àlava. Àlava uses only four pigments to create her color palette to reflect her personal feminine history.
chechu alava, peace, 2024 at cob gallery

Chechu Alava, Peace, 2024. Cob Gallery at EXPO CHICAGO 2024 © Laura Lati for artfairmag

Chicago’s art scene is certainly expanding and the hub is confirmed as an international cultural destination. This year’s fair cements that, along with the blockbuster shows, such as Brooklyn artist Nicole Eisenman’s What Happened at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Anish Kapoor’s forever iconic Millenium Park Bean, its strong affluent collectors base and its many taste making galleries.
EXPO CHICAGO entrance at Navy Pier

EXPO CHICAGO 2024 entrance at Navy Pier © Laura Lati

Sum it up, I'm in a rush!

  • When? | April 11-14, 2024
  • Where? | Chicago
  • Atmosphere | Sophisticated, yet friendly
  • Curator’s pick | Michael Kohn Gallery
  • Featured Gallery Gem | Spinello Projects
  • Spotlighted Artists | Raphaël Barontini, Seba Calfuqueo, Chechu Álava
  • For Whom? | Midwestern and international collectors

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