EXPO CHICAGO to Go Virtual For Spring 2021 Dates


By Ginny Van Alyea

Last spring, when the pandemic was just becoming real to most of us, EXPO CHICAGO's Tony Karman made the decision to postpone the upcoming September fair until April 2021. At the time, it seemed extremely cautious and prudent. And far away. Today EXPO has shared that it is opting to reschedule the upcoming in-person April dates at Navy Pier a second time and that it has secured a new series of flexible dates from July 2021 on–including its historic dates September 23 – 26–in order to ensure the safety of participating exhibitors and patrons of the ninth edition. It still plans to organize a virtual exposition during its previously scheduled in-person dates of April 8 – 11, 2021

“We are grateful for our strong partnership with Navy Pier, our local institutions, and our deeply committed exhibitors in collaborating with us on finding the right time to mount the fair," said Tony Karman, President | Director. “With the advice and council of our Selection Committee, civic leaders, and dealers worldwide, we have decided to produce a digital experience this coming April, while simultaneously preparing for an in-person fair as soon as it is safe to do so," he added. “Fortunately, thanks to Navy Pier we have several options to consider, including our historic September dates, and rather than announce a set date at this time, we will carefully monitor the progress with vaccines and protocols in order to make the announcement with ample time for our participating galleries, patrons, and institutional partners to prepare."

EXPO CHICAGO’s commitment to rigorous programming, institutional alignments, VIP events, and critically acclaimed curatorial initiatives remain core to the exposition. The previously announced program curators Marcella Beccaria – Chief Curator and Curator of Collections at Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea (Turin) – for IN/SITU and Humberto Moro – Deputy Director and Senior Curator at Museo Tamayo (Mexico City) – for the EXPOSURE section will be returning as planned for the ninth edition. 

“Navy Pier is proud to have been home to EXPO CHICAGO for nearly a decade, presenting exhibitors and welcoming guests from around the world with the annual opportunity to explore and enjoy this large-scale exposition of contemporary art and culture along Chicago’s lakefront,” said Navy Pier President and CEO Marilynn Gardner. “It has become a tradition that our guests have come to treasure and a partnership that our organization cherishes. We look forward to EXPO’s ninth edition as soon as we all can gather and enjoy the event safely and comfortably once again.”

“We remain hopeful to be able to launch our ninth edition in 2021 as we deeply value our partnership with the local cultural community – galleries, artists, institutions, hotels, restaurants and collectors”, Karman said. “Over the next few months we will present some new initiatives that will amplify the great work being done in Chicago and by our many international partners, while simultaneously planning to play our role in supporting Chicago’s tourism re-emergence to once again welcome the world to our great city”, he added.

So while we have to wait a little bit longer until we can attend EXPO CHICAGO in person, we can enjoy more virtual programs in the mean time and we look forward to a strong and safe return to the fair and Navy Pier this year.  

Details on EXPO's April programming will be shared at a later date. 

More info will be on