Honor Fraser

September 22, 2012 @ Chicago

Expo Chicago kicked off its inaugural fair last week in Festival Hall at Chicago's Navy Pier, where America's first art fair famously held court for some 25 years. The new fair, subtitled "The International Exhibition of Contemporary/Modern Art & Design," offered a mix of art and design from 117 international galleries in a dynamic environment designed by the Chicago's Studio Gang Architects. "The fair is beyond our expectations on every front—from the quality of work that the exhibitors are presenting to the response from the city, from the institutions and collectors, and from the mayor," Expo Chicago founder and director Tony Karman told A.i.A on opening night. Mayor Rahm Emanuel strolled the aisles, as did Chicago-raised film star Billy Zane. Jerry Saltz jump-started the EXPO /Dialogues the next day by advising artists to "rethink skill" and "be poor with as much style as possible"—advice that befits new art spaces and young art fairs.—PAUL LASTER