Publisher's Letter: 10 Years at CGN


Chicago is the city of the hour. You can see it in our stunning new Riverwalk, and in the improvements being made to the lakefront path. Downtown, there are towering cranes on nearly every corner. Our restaurants are garnering national praise. Chicago artists are undertaking major public projects that will last for generations. During EXPO Art Week in September, our cultural institutions are collaborating to show the world the civic power of collective creativity.  

As I mark 10 years as publisher of CGN this fall, I’ve been considering the many dynamic shifts in my life as well as in work, since I took over from founding publisher Natalie van Straaten in 2007. On the life side, there has been one long recession and three presidential elections. I met my husband and got married, we spent a year renovating a vintage apartment, and we now have two children.

Over the course of the decade spent as publisher of Chicago Gallery News, I’ve seen the Modern Wing of the Art Institute open, and David Bowie came back to life at the Museum of Contemporary Art. Maggie Daley Park rose out of Millennium Park, which itself is now 13 years old. In 2012 I watched Art Chicago fold and EXPO CHICAGO rise in its place, once again drawing the attention of the international art world to Chicago and becoming a driver of institutional and artistic collaboration. The Chicago Architecture Biennial, launched in 2015, is mounting its second global gathering and exhibition series this fall. Mayor Emanuel and the City of Chicago declared 2017 the Year of Public Art, and the Picasso in Daley Plaza turned 50. I’ve seen three antiques fairs shutter and one begin. Many galleries throughout the region have scaled back or closed, while others have opened, moved and expanded. Some dealers have gone private or opted for virtual spaces in the name of making their business work.

At CGN, we have moved our offices twice, switched printers, introduced an email newsletter, rebuilt our website three times, worked with more than 25 interns, launched our annual CGN Arts Guide, and greatly expanded our lineup of art world interviews and features in print and online.

The art world changes often and fast, and this fall issue reveals how so many in our community harness creativity to advance the arts and therefore ensure that art will long be present in the lives of all who live here. We talked to artist Nick Cave and architect Jeanne Gang, who joined forces to create showstopping performances during EXPO and the Architecture Biennial. We met Irving Stenn Jr., a collector who grew up on the South Side and acquired a collection he eventually donated to the Art Institute. Commissioner Mark Kelly revealed his out-of-the-box plans for using public art as a vehicle for change. Michelle Boone invites all Chicagoans to come to the new Navy Pier to see cultural programming. Carrie Secrist reflects on how staying old school has helped her survive 25 years in the art business. And Artist Faheem Majeed, whose work is on the cover of this issue, has created, of all things, a free, floating museum on the Chicago River.

I am thankful to be able to continue publishing CGN after 10 years of change and 35 years of history. Being publisher has given me many opportunities to champion this city while learning about many wonderful collectors, artists, and dealers. For that I am very hopeful for the next 10 years. –GV