Andrew Bae Announces Retirement After 30 Years in River North


Longtime River North art dealer Andrew Bae formally announced yesterday that he is closing his eponymous gallery at 300 W. Superior St. by the end of this year. He is holding a private closing event in celebration of 30 years this month. The gallery's program, unique in Chicago, has been dedicated to introducing contemporary works by Asian artists, primarily with ties to Korea and Japan. Bae represented established as well as emerging artists, from Young June Lew, to Dr. Keysook Geum, to recent SAIC graduate Dabin Ahn, showcasing each for them for a lengthy period of time in order, as Bae noted, to allow viewers to examine and follow their development.

Bae sent a message to friends and supporters saying, "It is a momentous time for me to make this announcement for my retirement after 30 fabulous years in Chicago River North art district. I want to thank all of you for it would not be possible without your confidence and support."

Bae came to America from Korea when he was 23 years old, with a Bachelor’s degree in science, and he worked as an analytical research chemist at Kellogg's company for seven years. Indulging a desire to travel, he left his job as a scientist and became an importer of beautiful things from around the world, and he even made furniture for a while, fascinated by its aesthetic and function. Eventually he became an art dealer and opened Andrew Bae Gallery. 

Following the closing of the gallery at the end of December, Bae says he will focus on consulting with institutions such as museums and universities. His parting retirement gift to one of his artists is the announcement by The Art Institute of Chicago of the solo exhibition of Tetsuya Noda's 'Diary' prints.

Bae told CGN in a 2017 interview that he believes that nature and art are the ultimate beauty of all existing things. 

Tetsuya Noda, 474 Diary; Mar. 05th, '10, Woodcut and silkscreen print, Ed. 10, 21.5 x 33.25 in., 2010