Your Guide To The Gigantic Art Show Expo Chicago This Weekend

By Carrie McGath in Arts & Entertainment on Sep 18, 2015 2:00PM

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Andy Warhol Dorothy Lichtenstein 1974, Richard Gray Gallery. Photo by Paul Audia.

There's no excuse for boredom this weekend in Chicago.

Navy Pier's massive Festival Hall hosts Expo Chicago beginning Friday and going on through Sunday. And off the pier, you can enjoy even more art, lectures and performances in tandem with the festival throughout the city. With so much going on all weekend, art lovers can get the most out of the art-packed weekend with our guide to Expo Weekend.

This year's Expo Chicago is in its fourth edition, and will continue the tradition of showcasing artwork and galleries from around the globe. This year, it hosts 140 galleries from 16 countries and 47 cities, including both established and emerging galleries and artists. But there's no need to stick to the exhibition hall when there are arts events going on all over the city this weekend, Expo's President and Director Tony Karman told us.

"It's really unparalleled," Karman said. "In addition to the art fair that is the centerpiece, one should also look at the broader listing of events throughout the city. One can attend the fair for a couple of days, and then attend other exhibitions throughout the city."

And whether you're new to enjoying or buying art or a seasoned collector, Expo has something for everyone, Karman says.

"There is an opportunity for every point of entry, meaning if you're a seasoned collector, you're going to see 140 of the leading contemporary and modern art galleries in the world and to see work by over 3,000 artists," he said. "If you're not a seasoned collector, you can obviously experience it with a point of entry such as a curator-led tour, take advantage of the free programming."

Start at Expo Chicago: With 140 galleries from around the world showcasing a prolific array of artists both established and emerging, it is must-do destination where it's all under one roof with other works adorning the iconic Navy Pier. It is large enough to need all three days, so a pass is best so you can come and go at your leisure. In addition to the visual art represented by galleries through Festival Hall, there is also a discussion series called /Dialogues presented in partnership with the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. There are panels for art lovers of all levels throughout each day of the festival spanning topics such as new media, public collections, architecture and the Chicago Imagists. Booth talks, performances and signings take place throughout the day.

2015_09_Expo2014_Large Image.jpg Art from a previous Expo Chicago exhibition/Handout

Head to Museums and Art Centers: From the Museum of Contemporary Art's stunning exhibition, The Freedom Principle: Experiments in Art and Music, 1965 to Now to the Driehaus Museum's dazzling (literally) Maker & Muse: Women and Early Twentieth Century Art Jewelry, there is truly something for everyone in your group, no matter how varied your tastes. Be sure to head to Pilsen for the National Museum of Mexican Art to see the exhibition, La Muerte NiƱa: Day of the Dead that opens on Friday with a 6:00 p.m. opening reception. Right off the Jefferson Park Blue Line stop, go see the incredibly unique show, La Palette: The Chicago Palette at the Ed Paschke Art Center before heading to Intuit for the diverse and spellbinding exhibition, dRAW. End the day in Hyde Park to see wonderfully confounding work by Jessica Stockholder at the Smart Museum of Art.

Gallery Hop: Chicago is a city of neighborhoods, and each one has its share of galleries. Starting on the North Side, head to Iceberg Projects to see the work by the intense and provocative Barbara DeGenevieve called, Medusa’s Cave before heading to River North for two exhibitions at Russell Bowman Gallery including a celebration of thirteen years of exhibitions with a prolific display of work by Kiki Smith to Jim Nutt, to Roger Brown and Vivian Maier. The poignant, zen-like work by Miller and Shellabarger is on exhibition at Western Exhibitions in West Loop. Then head northwest to Corbet vs. Dempsey for the intensely poetic exhibition of drawings by Terry Winters.

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Giuseppe Penone Idee di pietra - Olmo / Ideas of Stone - Elm, 2008. Image courtesy of the artist and Marian Goodman Gallery.

Public Art and Temporary Installations: Expo Chicago's IN/SITU Outside is presented with the Chicago Park District and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and gives Expo exhibitors the chance to present temporary art installations around the city and along the lakefront. Many temporary installations are located on Chicago's Museum Campus including Giuseppe Penone's Idee di pietra - Olmo / Ideas of Stone - Elm. Ai WeiWei's Circle of Animals / Zodiac Heads look perfectly at home outside of the Alder Planetarium while Christopher Wool's quietly chaotic 2013 sculpture, Untitled, is located at Buckingham Plaza North.

Tickets are still available for Expo Chicago along with more information on concurrent exhibitions taking place all over the city. Expo Chicago runs Friday, Sept. 18 through Sunday, Sept. 20.