From September 22 through 25, the fifth edition of the EXPO CHICAGO art fair will take place at Chicago’s Navy Pier. The fair will present an array of national and international galleries, alongside specially organized exhibition projects such as IN/SITU and EXPO VIDEO. Flash Art spoke with EXPO’s director of programming, Stephanie Cristello.
I attended the first EXPO in 2012. What’s changed since then?
We launched EXPO VIDEO in 2013, working with Alfredo Cramerotti (MOSTYN) in 2015 and Daria de Beauvais (Palais de Tokyo) for the 2016 edition. We’ve expanded and strengthened the panel programming — this year, our inaugural symposium on conceptualists Art & Language is a highlight. In 2015, we inaugurated a program in the Northern Trust Anchor Lounge specifically for discussions on collecting, which is our way of not limiting intellectual conversations to topics outside of the market — after all, we are an art fair. This year we will host talks such as “Collecting in the Age of Futurity” and “The Trans-Atlantic Museum.”
EXPO seems driven by curators—especially the Curatorial Forum. Why this emphasis?
The Curatorial Forum creates an opportunity for colleagues in the field to exchange and collaborate, while supporting our dealers by ensuring leading figures will be in Chicago during the fair. There are the “public” relationships — such as this year’s IN/SITU program curated by Diana Nawi (Pérez Art Museum Miami), but also the more “secret” exchanges that have led to wonderful curatorial focuses. The rhizomatic structure of an exposition of this scale means that each year we get to develop more nuance, and start something completely fresh, all at once.
How does the fair respond to an art climate marked by the recent closure of several young Lower East Side galleries in New York?
We hope for all the galleries we work with to succeed; this is an international fair open to many emerging exhibitors. EXPOSURE, featuring galleries eight years and younger, Special Exhibitions, EXPO Editions + Books, and EXPO Projects allow us to support their mission in a commercially viable way.