EXPO ART WEEK: Highlights and Key Events


Since EXPO CHICAGO is opening a little later in the month than usual this year, we have been looking forward to it a little bit longer.

Built around rigorous and challenging programming, strategic international partnerships and strong institutional relationships with major local museums and organizations, the opening of EXPO CHICAGO launches the international fall art season, making Chicago the place to be in September. In addition to heralding the opening of the fair, EXPO ART WEEK's extensive programming, thanks in large part this year to the efforts and support of Art Design Chicago, is highly anticipated, and there are more shows to see and events to attend than there are hours in the week. 

We recently plucked some art highlights to watch for from the fair, and here we share some key events to watch this week, as well as highlights from EXPO's special programs and a list of notable exhibitors. 

From city-wide openings to a marathon interview session to notable book signings and art that's as big as the Merchandise Mart, there is a lot to take in.

Check out for the complete guide.

Our CGN Arts Calendar is also full of EXPO events, new gallery and museum exhibitions, and much more. Visit the CGN booth at the west end of the show floor to find out about more art events in the area all year long, as well as to say hi and pick up a copy of our CGN Arts Guide and our Fall 2018 magazine.

We look forward to EXPO all year.

– See you in the galleries, and at the fair!



VERNISSAGE - Purchase Tickets Here
• Thursday, Sept 27, 5-9pm at Navy Pier
A benefit for the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, presented by the MCA Women's Board. 

GENERAL ADMISSION - Purchase Tickets Here
• Friday, Sept 28, 11a-7p
• Saturday, Sept 29, 11a-7p
• Sunday, Sept 30, 11a-6p

EXPO CHICAGO takes place at Chicago's historic Navy Pier in the Festival Hall: 600 E Grand Ave, Chicago (60611)


Notable Exhibitors in 2018

EXPO features a growing list of exhibiting galleries from around the world. Some participants to watch for from outside of Chicago include:

• Anglim Gilbert Gallery, San Francisco
• DC Moore Gallery, New York
• GRIMM, Amsterdam, New York
• Nancy Hoffman Gallery, New York
• Edwynn Houk Gallery, New York, Zürich
• Paul Kasmin Gallery, New York
• Anton Kern Gallery, New York
• Lévy Gorvy, New York
• Luhring Augustine, New York, Brooklyn
• Matthew Marks Gallery, Los Angeles, New York
• Gallery Momo, Cape Town, Johannesburg
• Nahmad Projects, London
• Gallery Wendi Norris, San Francisco
• Perrotin, New York, Paris, Hong Kong, Seoul, Tokyo
• P.P.O.W, New York
• Galerie RX, Paris
• Eduardo Secci , Florence
• Jessica Silverman Gallery, San Francisco
• Sims Reed Gallery, London
• Sundaram Tagore Gallery, New York, Singapore, Hong Kong
• Templon, Paris, Brussels
• Pavel Zoubok Fine Art, New York

To see the complete list of all galleries exhibiting at EXPO CHICAGO click here.


Special Programming Highlights

In addition to seeing the world's top galleries under one room, EXPO offers opportunities to connect with the international art community through unique programming. 



Presented in partnership with the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), offers panel discussions, conversations and provocative artistic discourse with leading artists, curators, designers and arts professionals on the current issues that engage them. The 2018 program includes an onsite panel and performance at the U.S. Pavilion of the 16th Architecture Biennale in Venice, and the third annual /Dialogues Symposium, Present Histories: Art & Design in Chicago, tracing select art and design legacies produced in the city, taking place during EXPO CHICAGO in conjunction with the Terra Foundation for American Art’s initiative Art Design Chicago.


Alternative spaces are often discussed within the canon of Chicago’s exhibition history. Yet, these spaces also played a parallel role in the activities that defined feminist art and social practice in the city’s scene. In her chapter for the newly launched book Art in Chicago: A History from the Fire to Now, author Jenni Sorkin delivers a survey of communal alternative exhibition spaces from 1973 to 1993 as they built momentum in Chicago alongside the commercial gallery system and during the women's movement. The panel features Lynne Warren, Mary Patten, Kay Rosen, and Torkwase Dyson. This conversation will trace the histories and roles of feminism in Chicago's alternative spaces from the 1970s to the present. Torkwase Dyson, on view at Rhona Hoffman Gallery, will align with EXPO ART WEEK.


How do we visualize belonging? Tracing the responsibility of the architect and the artist to depict not only flows of data, but also manifestations of glitches or abstractions, this discussion will examine the role of representation as an agent to reveal truth. Moderated by Mimi Zeiger, Co-Curator of the US Pavilion, this panel will be hosted within the context of the exhibition at the Venice Biennale for Architecture, entitled Dimensions of Citizenship. Presented in partnership with CULTURED Magazine, and co-commissioners of the US Pavilion the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the University of Chicago. Followed by a book signing.



Installed within the expansive, vaulted architecture of Navy Pier’s Festival Hall, IN/SITU features large-scale, suspended sculptures and site-specific works. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum Curator at large, Latin America Pablo León de la Barra curates a selection of works featuring artists from leading international exhibitors participating in the 2018 exposition. 


Iván Navarro. Metal Electric Chair, 2017 – Paul Kasmin Gallery, New York

Iván Navarro was born in 1972 in Santiago, Chile, to a family of artists. What Navarro remembers most about his childhood growing up under the regime of General Augusto Pinochet, was the fear of being “disappeared,” as many political dissidents were. In order to better understand this dark history, Navarro uses light — a symbol of hope and truth — as his medium. Navarro uses electric light as his primary medium, making politically charged sculptures and installations that address the violence inflicted by the Chilean state. With their ambient glow, the works are seductive, and yet with the live current coursing through them, they are admittedly unnerving. 

Navarro's This Land is Your Land, (2014), Paul Kasmin Gallery is also on view at the top of the pier outdoors in Polk Bros. Park as part of IN/SITU OUTSIDE.


Judy Chicago. Cartoon for The Fall from the Holocaust Project, 1987 – Jessica Silverman Gallery, San Francisco and Salon 94, New York

The Fall is a visual narrative tracing artist Judy Chicago’s discovery that the Holocaust grew out of the very 'fabric' of Western Civilization, hence the use of tapestry for this work, is the full scale 'cartoon' (based on the Italian word 'cartoni,' a detailed painting for tapestry). The Fall introduces Chicago’s longstanding and formative series the Holocaust Project: From Darkness into Light (1985–93) through a narrative that traces the battle between the Amazons and the giants, based on the Pergammon Altar, through the rise of patriarchal religions and their imposition through force. 


• Book Signings – Highlights:


Edited by Maggie Taft and Robert Cozzolino, Art in Chicago is a magisterial account of the long history of Chicago art, from the rupture of the Great Fire in 1871 to the present. The first single-volume history of art and artists in Chicago, the book—in recognition of the complexity of the story it tells—presents an overlapping sequence of interrelated narratives that together tell a full and nuanced, yet wholly accessible history of visual art in the city. 

Funded by the Terra Foundation for American Art, this newly launched book will be available for purchase and signing through the University of Chicago Press. Book price: $65. Location: /Dialogues Stage 


Architect and educator Dirk Denison reflects on the diverse influences that have shaped his practice over 30 years in a volume featuring 10 remarkable houses designed in a broad range of modernist vocabularies—each finely tuned to its site and occupants. Taking the form of an in-depth conversation between architect and educator Dirk Denison and journalist Fred A. Bernstein, this volume chronicles Denison’s childhood in Detroit, travels and early encounters with the arts and architecture, and his education at the Cranbrook Academy of Art, the Illinois Institute of Technology, and the Harvard Graduate School of Design. A perceptive interlocutor, Bernstein deftly draws upon Denison’s own insights into how these experiences have influenced his aesthetic sensibilities, design philosophy, and working processes over 30 years of collaborative practice. For design professionals and students of architecture, Dirk Denison 10 Houses draws attention to the manifold ways in which life experiences at all scales nurture and shape a career in the field. More broadly, this book is an engaging read for anyone interested in the gratifying process of conceptualizing and building one’s own home. Book price: $44.95. Location: /Dialogues Stage


With images ranging from Harlem in the 1970s and 2000s, to photographs that commemorate the 1963 Birmingham church bombing, this volume offers a forty-year career retrospective of the MacArthur "Genius Grant" award-winning photographer Dawoud Bey. An introduction by scholar and curator Sarah Lewis, and essays by noted art historians, scholars, and educators—including Hilton Als, Maurice Berger, Jacqueline Terrassa, David Travis, Leigh Raiford, and Deborah Willis—examines Bey’s evolving practice. An illustrated Chronology documents Bey’s diverse New York art community in the 1970s and 80s and places his work in the context of that community. Presented in partnership with the University of Texas Press and the Museum of Contemporary Art Store. Book price: $65. Location: /Dialogues Stage 


Highlights from EXPO ART WEEK

• The Time Is Now! – EXPO ART WEEK Party at the Smart Musuem of Art

SEPT 25, 8-10pm

Kick off EXPO CHICAGO’s EXPO ART WEEK with an evening of overlapping receptions and programming on the South Side, ending at the Smart Museum of Art for a special celebration of The Time is Now! Art Worlds of Chicago’s South Side, 1960–1980.

The party features the live collaborative performance “Cultural Confluence” from Douglas R. Ewart’s Nyahbingi Drum Choir and Tatsu Aoki’s Miyumi Project that blends global traditions into a unique confluence of concepts and cultures that represent now and the future. Plus, food, drink, and after-hours access to the Smart Museum. FREE, open to all.



SEPT 29, 1-6pm, Aon Grand Ballroom, Navy Pier

The Chicago Humanities Festival in partnership with EXPO CHICAGO and the Terra Foundation for American Art's Art Design Chicago initiative will present Creative Chicago: An Interview Marathon during the 2018 exposition at Navy Pier. The marathon will be led by Hans Ulrich Obrist, Artistic Director of the Serpentine Galleries in London, and one of the world's leading curators, critics, and art historians.

Hosted on a stage commissioned and designed by artist Barbara Kasten, the five-hour interview marathon will be presented within Navy Pier's historic Aon Grand Ballroom on Saturday, September 29. Free and open to the public. Participants include, among many others: Louise Bernard, Museum Director, Obama Presidential Center Museum; Dawoud Bey, Photographer; Buritt Bulloch, Owner, Old Fashioned Donuts; Richard Hunt, Artist; Jeanne Gang, Architect; Theaster Gates, Artist; Joseph Grigely, Artist/Art Historian; Suellen Rocca, Artist; Tim Samuelson, Cultural Historian of the City of Chicago; Stanley Tigerman, Architect; Amanda Williams, Artist

The celebrated oral historian and iconic Chicagoan, author Studs Terkel, was a major influence and inspiration for Obrist’s creative practice, making Chicago a fitting destination for the curator’s first U.S. marathon. The two met in the 1990s during one of Obrist’s visits to Chicago. Terkel’s style of interviewing—intense, intimate and wide-ranging—and his subject choices (both major artistic figures and everyday citizens), inspired Obrist’s marathon-style approach to interviewing, and is a central aspect of his current artistic and curatorial practice.

Obrist’s first interview marathon in the United States, Creative Chicago will capture and chronicle individuals who have helped to define the city’s creative landscape, as well as those who are shaping it in the twenty-first century.



SEPT 28, 6-9pm

Art After Hours is a citywide open gallery night in more than 30 spaces, inviting EXPO CHICAGO visitors and the Chicago community to experience the city's vibrant art scene, including alternative exhibition venues and performance spaces, during extended hours. After the fair, head out into the various gallery centers around the city to see the season's best exhibitions on view. Some spaces are just staying open late, while others are offering tours, meet and greets, film screenings, and performances. 

A list of participating galleries with extended hours and special events taking place on the evening of the 28th may be found here


• ART ontheMART

SEPT 29, 6:30pm –8:30pm

In the spirit of Chicago’s great legacy of public art and culture, Art on theMART will be the longest-running and largest digital art projection in the world. The first-of-its-kind for Chicago, this curated series of digital artworks will be projected across 2.5 acres of theMART’s exterior river-façade. Beginning at approximately 6:30 p.m., Wacker Dr. between N. Wells St. and N. Franklin St. will be closed off to traffic to enable public viewing of the projections. While viewing the inaugural program, the public will enjoy a live DJ, food trucks and a Lantern Procession presented by Light Up My Arts (LUMA8). The art unveiling will begin at 7:15 p.m. with a fireworks show at 8:00 p.m.


Top image: Art ontheMART will feature artists such as Diana Thater, Jason Salavon, Jan Tichy and others.