EXPO CHICAGO Announces Numbers From 8th Edition


By CGN Staff, via PR

95% of the year can be spent preparing for the 4-5 days an art fair takes place, but, no matter how long those days seem, the event itself is over in the blink of an eye. 

With the eighth edition of EXPO CHICAGO in the rearview mirror already, fair organizers have just released 2019's attendance numbers as well as exhibiting dealer testimonials. If you were at the Pier for last Thursday's Vernissage, it felt extremely buzzy and busy from noon until 9pm, so hearing that there actually were 8,000 people on site puts a figure on the energetic crowd. 

Many exhibitors haven't even made it home yet, since Monday was the move-out, but already this year's fair is being unpacked in many ways. Below is information excerpted from the press release shared Tuesday by EXPO. 

To check out CGN's images from the weekend, see our Instagram @ChiGalleryNews


Aisles were packed during Vernissage


CHICAGO—EXPO CHICAGO, The International Exposition of Contemporary and Modern Art, concluded its eighth edition on Sunday, September 22, with record attendance of international collectors and curators alongside 38,000 visitors, exceptional presentations from exhibiting galleries and strong sales, in what was its most global edition to date. On opening day alone, the exposition welcomed more than 8,000 VIP guests while raising $265,000 to benefit the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago during Vernissage. Collectors, curators, artists and art professionals enjoyed an exclusive first look at 135 leading galleries from 24 countries and 68 cities throughout Navy Pier’s iconic Festival Hall.

“We are extremely proud of our recent eighth edition—the quality of work presented by our participating exhibitors translated into strong sales, an overwhelmingly positive response to our critically acclaimed programing, and significantly contributed to our powerful forward momentum,” said EXPO CHICAGO President | Director Tony Karman. “Chicago knows how to welcome the world and our date alignment with the third Chicago Architectural Biennial, our special exhibitions and presentations, along with our ongoing collaborations with our renowned museums, institutions and galleries contributed greatly to our successes,” he added. “I am confident that many more calendars will be marked for Chicago next September.”

The eighth edition marked considerable institutional representation, with museum curators, trustees and patrons from worldwide cultural organizations including Andy Warhol Museum, Aspen Art Museum, The Brooklyn Museum, Centre Pompidou, The Contemporary Austin,Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, de Young Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, Garage Museum of Contemporary Art Moscow, Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), Milwaukee Art Museum, The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Palm Springs Art Museum, Pérez Art Museum Miami, Pulitzer Arts Foundation, Royal Academy of Arts London, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), Serpentine Galleries, The Speed Art Museum, and more.

Notable collectors, curators and museum directors in attendance included Marcella Beccaria (Castello di Rivoli Museo d'Arte Contemporanea), Greg Bell (Vulcan, Inc.), Étienne Bernard (Frac Bretagne), Fred Bidwell (Collector), Giovanna Borasi (Canadian Centre for Architecture), James Cuno (J. Paul Getty Trust), Mireya Escalante (Coppel Collection), David Eskenazi (Collector), Larry and Marilyn Fields (Collectors), Maxine and Stuart Frankel (Collectors), Pamela Joyner and Fred Giuffrida (Collector), Jack and Sandra Guthman (Collectors), Lisa Goodman and Josef Vascovitz (Collectors), Louis Grachos (Palm Springs Art Museum), Kenneth C. Griffin (Collector), John and Sharon Hoffman (Collectors), Kirse Junge-Stevnsborg (Malmö Art Museum), Naima J. Keith (Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Prospect.5) Noel Kirnon (Collector), Alicia Knock (Centre Pompidou), Patricia Marshall (Art Advisor), Marie Martraire (San Francisco Kadist Foundation), Lisa Melandri and Wassan Al-Khudairi (Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis), Ron Pizzuti (Collector), Sheikha Hoor al Qasimi (Sharjah Art Foundation), Claire Le Restif (Centre d'Art Contemporain d'Ivry — Le Crédac), Marc Richards (Collector), María Inés Rodríguez (Museu de Arte de São Paulo), Beth Rudin DeWoody (Collector), Alain Servais (Collector), Jill Snyder (moCa Cleveland), Marjorie and Ambassador Louis Susman (Collectors), Roberta Tenconi (Pirelli HangarBicocca), Michael and Leslie Weissman (Collectors), and Helen Zell (Collector).

Featuring one of the most rigorous and challenging platforms for contemporary art and culture, under the leadership of EXPO CHICAGO Artistic Director Stephanie Cristello, dynamic programming engaged visitors throughout Chicago, including the /DialoguesSymposiumOn Utopia, created in partnership with the School of the Art Institute of Chicago; curator Jacob Fabricius’ immersive IN/SITU installation series, transforming Navy Pier’s Festival Hall; EXPO CHICAGO and the City of Chicago’s citywide outdoor installations IN/SITU Outside and OVERRIDE | A Billboard Project presented in partnership with the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE); the participation of over 60 curators in the Curatorial Forum in partnership with Independent Curators International (ICI); and the expansion of the Curatorial Exchange program. 


Cauleen Smith's SOJOURNERS, took center stage as a part of this year's IN/SITU program, curated by Jacob Fabricius (Kunsthal Aarhus, Denmark).


EXPO CHICAGO welcomed several new galleries in 2019 as well as numerous returning galleries, all of whom drew critical praise for their curated and ambitious presentations. Exhibitors both new and returning noted that they received strong support from both nationally and internationally renowned collectors, museum curators and institutions, along with the greater Midwest collector base.

“We elected to participate at EXPO CHICAGO for the first time this year given the opportunity it presented for our growing network with collectors and museums across the Midwest. We were particularly excited to present Lorna Simpson’s work since she has a longstanding relationship with the city––the MCA was an early supporter and staged her first major museum survey exhibition in 1992. The concept was the result of a perfect storm and the response has been overwhelming. We are thrilled to have placed all 10 works with incredibly prominent collectors and institutions across the country."
Marc Payot | Hauser & Wirth 

"We are thrilled to be back at EXPO CHICAGO! The quality of the curators and collectors in attendance has been quite impressive, and the pace of this fair allows us to have longer and more meaningful conversations about the artists we are presenting in the booth. Sales have been great, and you cannot beat fall in Chicago!"

Kevin Scholl | Vielmetter Los Angeles

“It was our first year at EXPO CHICAGO and our decision to participate was significantly influenced by our appreciation of the outstanding institutions in the city and the collectors based here and in the wider Chicago area who are very important to us. We have certainly benefitted from new connections with collectors and representatives from museums."


“It has been an incredible experience for the gallery to return to EXPO CHICAGO after a number of years. We sold works across the board by our programs artists; Alex Katz, Eduardo Terrazas, Gabriel de La Mora, Eddie Martinez, Annie Morris & Sean Scully. In addition to strong sales, we had many interesting conversations with a considered and knowledgeable collecting community. We look forward to coming back next year. A big thank you to the fair organizers who made the experience seamless and welcoming.”

—  Tarka Russell | Timothy Taylor

“EXPO CHICAGO is consistently a great fair for us. The dynamic programming and presence of esteemed international and midwestern collectors—along with the city’s world-class institutions—makes for a unique and unmissable experience.”

—  Molly Taylor | Kasmin

"EXPO CHICAGO is one of our favorite fairs to do because of the long-standing history of collecting in Chicago, the fantastic curatorial attendance, and the high level of quality in our colleagues’ booths.  We have done two-artist booths here for the last three years, and we never cease to be amazed by the great conversations these pairings generate."

Lauren Wittels | Luhring Augustine

“The fair was exponentially stronger this year, not only in terms of the galleries exhibiting but also the work that was on view, and there was a significant increase in the number of visitors and collectors from outside of Chicago. We placed work in collections in Los Angeles, New York, Seattle, Houston, and Chicago.”

Monique Meloche | Monique Meloche

"We have had a fantastic edition, alongside our inaugural opening in Chicago. Our high expectations were met! We have sold out of our booth, works placed to new and old collectors. In addition to the warm welcome to Chicago from many local collectors, we have had positive reception from institutions and private collections, local and global.”

Mariane Ibrahim-Lenhardt | Mariane Ibrahim

"The museum community is extremely supportive of the fair and welcoming to galleries coming to Chicago for EXPO CHICAGO. We, therefore, find the fair to be an extremely valuable point of contact with curators and museum directors who we would normally only see in passing at fairs in more established markets. In addition, the patrons and museum supporters in the community are extremely engaged, intelligent, and hungry to learn more about artists that we bring to the fair. Overall this results in a very engaged audience."

Nick Koenigsknecht | Peres Projects

"On the first day of the fair we had strong sales, selling works by Nathaniel Mary Quinn, Derrick Adams, Sylvia Plimack Mangold, Gladys Nilsson, Claire Zeisler, Michael Rakowitz, Jacob Hashimoto, Anne Wilson, Torkwase Dyson, and Martha Tuttle. Most of our sales happened within the first few hours. It seems that most people are quite happy with the attendance, quality of attendance, and the sales they have made."

Rhona Hoffman | Rhona Hoffman Gallery

"EXPO CHICAGO is always an exciting time for us, it's a unique moment where we actually get to host people in our spaces and this year was really one for the books- from announcing representation of iconic New York artist, Deborah Kass, at the start of the week, to unveiling our new rooftop sculpture deck at our Washington Blvd. gallery and opening Jeffrey Gibson's CAN YOU FEEL IT and Kennedy Yanko's HANNAH at Elizabeth St. on Friday, we are filled to the brim with joy. Now more than ever, we are electrified by our program and incredibly optimistic for all that's in store for our gallery as we continue to grow, expand, and one up ourselves. Chicago has always been an incubator for the arts, and we are dedicated to continuing its legacy as a humble giant."

Chanelle Lacy | Kavi Gupta

"This year we were quite pleased with the reception of Sarah Ann Weber's work at EXPO CHICAGO. On the first day we saw a number of works confirmed to excellent collections in the Midwest. EXPO continues to be a great opportunity for us to connect with collections and institutions from across the region. This week the University Club of Chicago premiered their recent acquisition of two major works of Faith Wilding, one of which will be loaned to the MCA Chicago for an exhibition next year. I think this helped bring even more attention from both curators and collectors to our presence here at the fair."

Stefano di Paola | Anat Ebgi


SAIC's booth at EXPO 2019

Curatorial Forum

In an effort to draw leaders from top institutions to the exposition, EXPO CHICAGO once again hosted the Curatorial Forum, welcoming more than 40 mid-career and established curators for the fifth year. Participating institutions included Art Institute of Chicago, Art Museum of the University of Memphis, Aspen Art Museum, Atlanta Contemporary, Blue Star Contemporary, The Brooklyn Museum, Canadian Centre for Architecture, Chrysler Museum of Art, Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning  and Preservation, Contemporary Arts Center, Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, de Young Museum – Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Het Nieuwe Instituut, Hirshhorn Museum, Institute of Contemporary Art | Virginia Commonwealth University, Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, Materials & Applications, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Milwaukee Art Museum, Museum of the African Diaspora, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Nelson Atkins Museum of Art, Pinacoteca de São Paulo, Prospect.5, Pulitzer Arts Foundation, San Diego History Center, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), Serpentine Galleries, Smart Museum of Art, Storefront for Art and Architecture, The Contemporary Austin, The Factory Contemporary Arts Center, Tufts University, Williams College and Art in Embassies, U.S. Department of State.

For more information on all participating curators, click here.


Curatorial Exchange

EXPO CHICAGO’s second annual Curatorial Exchange is a leading international initiative developed in partnership with foreign consulates and cultural agencies. The Curatorial Exchange offered 17 select mid-career and established curators based around the world the opportunity to engage closely with their peers, convening as part of a four-day program that included access to exhibitions, top private collections, artist studios, museums and institutions during EXPO CHICAGO.

In 2019, the Curatorial Exchange brought curators from Brazil (supported by Red Bull Arts Detroit), Canada (supported by the Consulate General of Canada in Chicago), Denmark (supported by the Ministry of Culture of Denmark and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark), France (supported by the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in Chicago and New York), Italy (supported by the Italian Cultural Institute of Chicago), The Netherlands (supported by the Dutch Culture USA, a program by the Consulate General of the Netherlands in New York) and Spain (supported by Red Bull Arts Detroit).

Participating Curators included Art Museum at the University of Toronto Curator Sarah Robayo Sheridan (Canada), Ateliers Médicis Director Cathy Bouvard (France), Castello di Rivoli Museum of Contemporary Art Chief Curator and Curator of Collections Marcella Beccaria (Italy), Centre d'art Contemporain d'Ivry Director Claire Le Restif (France), Centre Pompidou Curator Alicia Knock (France), Frac Bretagne Director Étienne Bernard (France), Independent Curator Iben Bach Elmstrom (Denmark), KADIST San Francisco Director Marie Martraire (USA), Kunstfort Vijfhuizen Curator & Artistic Director Zippora Elders (Netherlands), Kunsthalle Amsterdam Artistic Director Bas Hendrikx (Netherlands), Latitudes Founders Max Andrews and Mariana Cánepa Luna (Spain), Mercer Union Director of Exhibitions & Programs Julia Paoli (Canada), Museu de Arte de São Paulo (MASP) Curator-at-Large María Inés Rodríguez (Brazil), Pirelli HangarBicocca Curator Roberta Tenconi (Italy), Triangle Marseille Director Céline Kopp (France), Winnipeg Art Gallery Curator of Indigenous and Contemporary Art Jaimie Isaac (Canada).


2019 Programming

EXPO CHICAGO’s robust programming allowed visitors the opportunity to extend discussion and discourse beyond the booths of the fair. /Dialogues, presented in partnership with the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, once again offered panel discussions, conversations and provocative artistic discourse between today’s most respected art professionals including a featured symposium On Utopia, featuring a performative intervention by artists Ilya and Emilia Kabakov and conversations featuring artists Sheikha Hoor Al Qassimi, Jan Tichy (SAIC MFA 2009), Jill Snyder, Samson Young and more.

Additional panels included a panel discussion with Prospect.5 curators Grace Deveney, Naima J. Keith and Diana Nawi moderated by Sarah Thornton that considers how the African diaspora has shaped the vision for P.5, slated to open in New Orleans in the fall of 2020; a discussion with artist Charles Atlas in alignment with his new commission for Art on theMART; and a conversation on the cosmos with artists Eduardo Terrazas and Edra Soto (SAIC MFA 2000), moderated by Hans Ulrich Obrist in advance of his book launch for Creative Chicago: An Interview marathon.

Located on the Exchange Stage by Northern Trust, Exchange by Northern Trust: An Interactive Conversation Around the Art of Collecting featured exclusive panels open to invited VIP guests. Highlights of the 2019 program included a conversation between British painter and President of the Royal Academy of Arts in London, Christopher Le Brun and Director of The J. Paul Getty Trust, James Cuno; a panel on private collections featuring collectors and philanthropists Pamela Joyner and Fred Giuffrida and Rebecca McDade from Northern Trust; a case study on diversity, inclusion and accessibility within an institution with moCa Cleveland Executive Director Jill Snyder; and a discussion on collaborative museum models with Miranda Lash of the Speed Art Museum.

Curated by Jacob Fabricius, the 2019 IN/SITU program featured major suspended installations in addition to large-scale work capitalizing on the unique architecture of Navy Pier’s Festival Hall. IN/SITU featured the work of Janine Antoni (Luhring Augustine | New York), Neil Beloufa (Mendes Wood DM | Sao Paulo, Brussels, New York), Stine Deja & Marie Munk (ANNKA KULTYS GALLERY | London), Morgan Fisher (Bortolami | New York), Lena Henke (Bortolami | New York), Rodney McMillian (Vielmetter Los Angeles | Los Angeles), Dan Peterman (Rhoma Hoffman Gallery | Chicago), Scott Reeder (Kavi Gupta | Chicago) and Kay Rosen (RENÉ SCHMITT | Berlin).

IN/SITU Outside, in partnership with the Chicago Park District and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events featured The Ship of Tolerance (2019) by Ilya and Emilia Kabakov; Collages for the Esplanade Apartments (2019) by Assaf Evron; and Chris Pappan and Monica Rickert-Bolter’s Founders Inflatable (2019) in collaboration with the Floating Museum. IN/SITU Outside installations will be on display for an extended period of time throughout Chicago’s neighborhoods and along the lakefront.

OVERRIDE | A Billboard Project, in collaboration with Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, allowed EXPO CHICAGO to once again further extend its reach throughout the city by placing the work of 15 artists from local, national and international galleries on Chicago’s City Digital Network. As part of a dedicated site-specific installation series, Chicago-based artists Jessica Campbell and Zekkiyyah Najeebah presented their works exclusively on the billboard located at 515 W. Ida B. Wells Dr. alongside work by Summer Wheat and pioneering feminist artist Betty Tompkins. The citywide public art initiative launched September 9 and is on view through October 29. For a complete listing of all OVERRIDE artists and documentation, click here.

20 Special Exhibitions were included in this year’s exposition highlighting EXPO CHICAGO’s mission to illustrate and preserve the important link between the arts, philanthropic and nonprofit organizations through unique and high-quality exhibitions. Top museums, universities, organizations and institutions participated. For a complete list of participants and projects, click here.

For more programming, please visit