For this year’s list, we kept our overall ranking numbers but organized everything by category.
Art 50 2022: Chicago’s Visual Vanguard (Introduction)
Art 50 2022: Curators and Dealers
Art 50 2022: Organizers and Arts Workers
Art 50 2022: Directors and Administrators
Plus: Art Leader of the Moment: A Conversation with Monique Brinkman-Hill, Executive Director of South Side Community Art Center
Here are Chicago’s Collectors and Philanthropists.
Eric T. and Cheryl M. McKissack
Eric T. and Cheryl McKissack are longtime philanthropists and collectors, with a focus on work by local artists of color. The couple provided support for “The Obama Portraits” at the Art Institute, where Eric sits on the board. A retired investment executive and entrepreneur, Eric is also on the board of the Terra Foundation and The Arts Club of Chicago, and is board treasurer at the Graham Foundation, while Cheryl, who serves on several nonprofit boards, recently teamed up with Desiree Rogers to put together Black Opal and Fashion Fair, two leading cosmetics brands targeted at women of color.
Liz and Eric Lefkofsky
Longtime patrons and collectors Liz and Eric Lefkofsky, who established the Lefkofsky Family Foundation in 2006, lend crucial support to the city’s arts organizations. At the MCA, where Liz is a trustee, the couple have endowed a grant to make admission free for anyone under eighteen. “Our hope is that one day all art museums are free, especially for children,” the couple says. Eric is a trustee at the Art Institute of Chicago, where the couple were lead individual supporters for the groundbreaking Barbara Kruger exhibition, which opened in 2021. In addition to donating to the Ravinia Festival, Steppenwolf Theatre and the Renaissance Society, the couple have loaned John Baldessari’s “A work with only one property” to the Art Institute.
Collector and Senior Vice President-Head of Office, Sotheby’s Chicago
At Sotheby’s, Gary Metzner helped oversee a pivot to the online realm. Time named the company one of the most influential of 2022—Sotheby’s Chicago office was one of the first to hold a local NFT event, selling $100 million in digital assets at auction last year. Sotheby’s also started an online charity auction platform for museums, and will support the Directors Summit at EXPO Chicago 2023. In September, Metzner will host the collectors sale for the Society for Contemporary Art at the Art Institute. He also sits on the board of Driehaus Museum and Arts Club of Chicago, is on the advisory board of Art on the Mart and is vice chair of ChiArts. He and his husband, Scott Johnson, fund the MCA internship program and are sponsoring the forthcoming Art Institute exhibition, “The Language of Beauty in African Art.”
Jack and Sandy Guthman
The pandemic has not slowed down the work of art patrons and collectors Jack and Sandy Guthman. Jack, who serves as board chairman for the Chicago Architecture Biennial, helped restructure the 2021 edition to satellite sites around the city. He sits on the board of Chicago Sculpture Exhibit, which launched the Richard Hunt Award in 2021 in honor of the revered Chicago sculptor. He also serves on the board of United States Artists, is chairman of EXPO’s Civic Committee and is a trustee of the MCA, where the couple recently lent support to the “Nick Cave: Forothermore” exhibition. Sandy has been similarly engaged, serving on the board of the Chicago High School for the Arts and supporting the Harris Theater, which has a full season scheduled for the coming months. She looks forward to the return of Chicago Live! At Navy Pier this September, a free two-day performance festival featuring more than sixty of the city’s arts organizations.
Gary and Denise Gardner
Collectors and Chairman, Board of Trustees, Art Institute of Chicago
Prodigious collectors of art, Gary and Denise Gardner also provide extensive support to the local cultural community. The couple were sponsors of “The Obama Portraits” and “Bisa Butler: Portraits” at the Art Institute and the Nick Cave and Duro Olowu exhibitions at the MCA, and also fund scholarships for Chicago students who want to pursue art careers. In 2021, Denise was named chairman of the board of trustees at the Art Institute, where she will support its continued progress and help “the museum ensure that local audiences feel welcome” and engaged.
Hall of Fame
These folks, or the roles they inhabit, are so well-established and foundational to the art world of Chicago that they are always near the top of the list.
* new this year
Dr. Daniel Berger
Collector/Founder, Iceberg Projects