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Art at the Mart

By Justin Sondak in Arts & Entertainment on Apr 27, 2006 4:32PM


Art Chicago is a go. After days of rumors and uneasy speculation prompted by wrangling with the labor unions, Thomas Blackman’s international showcase will proceed on a slightly smaller scale. Through some combination of serendipity and persuasion most could only dream of, Mr. Blackman arranged a sweet deal with the Merchandise Mart to rent space on the eighth floor for free.

Even before this latest episode, Chicago’s largest and most prestigious art fair garnered criticism for moving away from Navy Pier and losing renowned artists to Art Basel Miami Beach. But even Mr. Blackman’s detractors acknowledge that Art Chicago’s cancellation would have hammered the city’s standing in the art world. Exhibitors started setting up last night (they’re probably making last minute arrangements as we post this) and organizers are hoping to lure foot traffic from the neighboring Chicago Antiques Fair.

Over 100 exhibitors are still participating, many from Chicago and the East Coast but some from as far as Germany and South Korea. If all goes well, attendees will simply forget about this week’s headlines and be delighted.

Art Chicago’s Opening Night Party is tonight from 6-10pm at The Merchandise Mart. The event runs Friday – Saturday 11am – 8pm, Sunday 11am-5pm, and Monday 11am – 3pm. General admission is $15; passes run from $25-35; discounts available for groups, seniors and students; children under 10 admitted free. For more information, visit

Image via Art Chicago.