As Chicago approaches the four day run of its annual art fair, the art world becomes increasingly animated with preparations. This is the moment backstage of an as-yet empty auditorium; red carpets are cleaned one last time as painters touch up their back drops and technicians in black clothes hastily test light and sound sequences. Dancers stretch. Producers sweat, fiddling their mobile devices unconsciously. There is a palpable buzz of anticipation — an energy not yet disseminated into the greater public, rumors nevertheless spread wildly about what one might expect on opening night. When EXPO CHICAGO opens this Thursday, it will be as if the red curtains have drawn up at last, revealing with it a precise choreography of energy and effort. So begins the musical.
In addition to the booths of over 140 international galleries exhibiting select artists, EXPO CHICAGO platforms IN/SITU works. It’s a bit like a play within a play. The fair itself is one production within which another spectacle — its own exhibition — plays out. This year the series is curated by Renaud Proch, Executive Director of Independent Curators International who describes his selection as “an homage to the city, to what artists take from and give to it, to the abundance of artistic creation and experimental practice that exists here [in Chicago] amid an intense exchange of ideas.” Robert Burnier, Fernando Pareja and Leidy Chavez, Cheryl Pope, Michael Rakowitz, Jessica Stockholder, Saya Woolfalk, Ken Gonzales-Day, and Elijah Burgher all install works that “provide occasions for pause and reflection throughout the exposition.” In so doing they impose different techniques that expand a viewer’s physical, political, and historical perspective. read more