The third year of The International Exposition of Contemporary and Modern Art (EXPO) is upon us. There is much to be seen this weekend both on and off the Pier, but no one can do it all. (I had a hard time even getting through the encyclopedic press materials in a timely manner.) So strap on your sensible shoes, paint your face like Ziggy Stardust, and keep your eyes peeled for Shaq; here are my recommendations, must-sees and predictions for what’s most likely to elicit schadenfreude.
Tickets are $20 for a one-day pass or $30 for the weekend. The fair is open 11am-7pm Friday and Saturday and 11am-6pm Sunday. Unless otherwise noted, all events are taking place at Navy Pier’s Festival Hall (600 East Grand).
If you can afford the tickets or scam your way in, the official opening fête Vernissage is a great party. Although definitely not the optimal scenario for art-viewing (is any of this?) last year I spotted Billy Corgan as well as several collectors wearing Google Glasses non-ironically. Where else can you find that combination in the wild? This year will feature the debut of Industry of the Ordinary’s new performance initiative Ordinary Projects. (6pm–9pm, $100)
It’s supposed to be nice out so head down to museum campus to view Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads: Bronze, an installation of public art by Ai Weiwei on the Adler Planetarium lawn (1300 South Lake Shore Drive). Then, it’s back up to the West Loop gallery district for the second iteration of EDITION Art Fair to check out the offerings from local apartment gallery sweethearts LVL3 among others. Word on the street is that everyone’s favorite studio-visitors INSIDE\WITHIN will be in the house with some exciting announcements. (Chicago Artists Coalition, 217 North Carpenter, $10 suggested donation).
Upwards of forty galleries are participating in the phantasmagoria that is Art After Hours from 6pm-9pm Friday evening. The possibilities are as exciting as they are geographically dispersed, but most of the shows are up for a while so don’t fret if Uber surge prices restrict your mobility. Highlights include the much-anticipated new show of rising Chicago star Robert Burnier at Andrew Rafacz (835 West Washington), the annual “Day of the Dead” exhibition at The National Museum of Mexican Art (1852 West 19th), “Experiments in Environment: The Halprin Workshops, 1966-1971” at the Graham Foundation (4 West Burton Place), and tandem openings of “A Proximity of Consciousness: Art & Social Action” and “Faculty Projects” at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Sullivan Galleries (33 South State).
Kick off your Saturday at 11:15am with the rousing panel discussion “What Do Your Politics Get From Being in My Art?” Bad at Sports founder and host Duncan MacKenzie (worth the price of admission) will moderate a conversation between associate director of Threewalls Abigail Satinsky and artists Michael Rakowitz and Jim Duignan. Then go back to bed for a while, it’s going to be (another) long night.
Consume your stimulant of choice to make it to the Rashid Johnson’s 1am performance of Amiri Baraka’s “Dutchman” at the Russian & Turkish Baths (1914 West Division, $45, BYOBathing Suit).
What are you, a plebeian? No one goes to the fair on Sunday. Brunch off your art-hangover and then go home to irately tweet about how terrible/predictable/offensive you found the art/outfits/weather. Or, catch up on all the shade we’ll be posting on Newcity Art throughout the weekend. (Erin Toale)