Issue #171  4/25/2010
150 International Art Galleries Join Art Chicago 2010, April 29-May 3

By Alex Novak

Art Chicago 2010, one of the big three U.S.-based art fairs, kicks off its exhibition with an opening night preview on Thursday, April 29th from 6-9 pm for the professional preview, which will be preceded by First Focus from noon-3 pm, which will benefit the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art. The regular schedule for the exhibition is April 30 - May 3, 2010, Friday and Saturday, 11 am-7 pm; Sunday, 11 am-6 pm; and Monday, 11 am - 4 pm at the Merchandise Mart, 12th Floor and Main Lobby, Chicago, IL.

Art Chicago will bring together the world's leading emerging and established galleries. Art Chicago offers curators, collectors and art enthusiasts a comprehensive survey of current and historic work, from cutting-edge to modern masters in a wide variety of media including: painting, photography, drawings, prints, sculpture, video and special installations. The fair will also be the centerpiece of Artropolis--a world-class, citywide celebration of arts, antiques and culture. NEXT, an invitational exhibition of emerging art, and the Merchandise Mart International Antiques Fair are also held in conjunction with Art Chicago, also at the Mart.

This year's Art Chicago features 150 galleries from 55 cities and 16 countries, an increase of 30% from last year's 105 exhibitors. It also includes 30 panel programs with 70+ speakers. This year's Programming Partners are Aperture Foundation, Art Table, Humble Arts Foundation, Independent Curators International (ICI), International Fine Print Dealers Association, the Renaissance Society, Studio Chicago, and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

"2010 promises to be a banner year for Art Chicago," says Tony Karman, the fair's vice president. "Along with the return of some of the world's best galleries from last year's fair, we are welcoming 70 new exhibitors, plus a dozen returning from 2008. The quality of our participants continues Art Chicago's long-standing tradition as the premier art event for our region and our country."

Karman has also assured me that the group is doing all that it can to accommodate the 30+ international exhibitors that might be caught in the Iceland volcano ash tie-up of air traffic, which fortunately eased this past week. We had our Frank Auerbach painting delayed in London, but it looks like it will arrive in time for the show. Not so certain is a group of new large-scale color photographs by Lisa Holden that is coming out of Amsterdam via Dublin. Holden is also scheduled to be at the show, and we are still hopeful.

Some of the photography art-oriented dealers exhibiting at Art Chicago include:

-- Contemporary Works/Vintage Works (my own company in booth 12-513)

-- White Cube

-- Aperture

-- Catherine Edelman Gallery

-- Weinstein Gallery

-- Peter Fetterman Gallery

-- HackleBury Fine Art

-- Verve Gallery

-- Amstel Gallery

-- Holden Luntz Gallery

-- Photo Eye Gallery

-- Rena Bransten Gallery

-- Chinasquare

-- Greg Kucera Gallery

But, of course, today photography is being shown by many of the art galleries exhibiting at the fair.

Our own company, Contemporary Works/Vintage Works (booth 12-513), will feature top images by Irving Penn, Robert Rauschenberg, Edward Steichen, Edward Weston, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Raoul Ubac, Horst, Helmut Newton, Aaron Siskind, Dan Graham, Jacques-Henri Lartigue, Lee Friedlander, Andre Kertész, Édouard Boubat, Josef Sudek, and many other key artists. We will also feature work by our own artists, Lisa Holden, Mitch Dobrowner and Arthur Tress. The top piece in the booth and one of the top artworks in the show will be a large and important 1955 oil painting by British master Frank Auerbach, "Building Site near St. Paul's, Winter". This piece was recently exhibited at Oxford's Courtauld Gallery's retrospective show, "Frank Auerbach: London Building Sites, 1952-1962."

In addition to the notable art brought by Art Chicago's exhibitors, the fair is bolstered with extensive programming, panels and special exhibitions. Among them:

Partisan: A presentation of works that explore social and political ideas selected by independent curators Rachel Furnari and Karsten Lund. The show includes works by Oscar Muñoz, Brian Alfred, Paul Shambroom, Deana Lawson and Alex Soth.

Public Sculpture: Sculpture exhibited in interior and exterior public spaces of the Merchandise Mart. The section includes art by Rodney Graham, Kiki Smith, Dzine, John Clement, Jun Kaneko and Dietrich Klinge.

"Survey America: A highlight of extraordinary works by artists living and working in the United States" includes works throughout the fair that are emblematic of major movements and developments in American art. They are marked with a special plaque.

This year cutting-edge speaker programs, "Art Chicago Speaks" and "Converge Chicago: Contemporary Curators Forum", feature an international roster of artists, writers, curators and critics discussing current trends and provocative issues confronting the contemporary art market. Detailed programs can be found at http://www.artchicago.com .

I am personally moderating a panel on Contemporary Art Photography, which will be held on Saturday, May 3, from from 3-4:30 pm in the Art Chicago Art Spot, located on the 12th floor. The Art Spot is the main Art Chicago speaking venue, and it will be located in the northwest corner of the floor. Joining me on the panel will be Sandra Phillips, chief curator of photography, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Larry Fields, Chicago contemporary art photography collector; artists Dawoud Bey and Lisa Holden; and gallerist Martin Weinstein of Weinstein Gallery.

Perspective Texas, a special programming focus on the Lone Star State, will host top Texas collectors and curators from the Dallas Art Museum, Rachofsky House, Arthouse, Artspace, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, the Blanton Museum and more.

In addition, the fair features on-site exhibitions including "New Insight", an annual exhibition of rising MFA students from the country's most influential art programs, curated by Susanne Ghez of the Renaissance Society; "Partisan", a display of works that critically explore social and political ideas; and Survey America, a floor-wide exhibit that highlights extraordinary works by artists living and working in the United States.

Collectors programs include a Docent Program, which debuted successfully in 2009 to museum, corporate and school groups, led by art professionals and consultants to help patrons and collectors navigate the fair and provide assistance with questions about works of art.

Novak has over 45 years experience in the photography-collecting arena. He is a long-time member and formally board member of the Daguerreian Society, and, when it was still functioning, he was a member of the American Photographic Historical Society (APHS). He organized the 2016 19th-century Photography Show and Conference for the Daguerreian Society. He is also a long-time member of the Association of International Photography Art Dealers. Novak has been a member of the board of the nonprofit Photo Review, which publishes both the Photo Review and the Photograph Collector, and is currently on the Photo Review's advisory board. He was a founding member of the Getty Museum Photography Council. He is author of French 19th-Century Master Photographers: Life into Art.

Novak has had photography articles and columns published in several newspapers, the American Photographic Historical Society newsletter, the Photograph Collector and the Daguerreian Society newsletter. He writes and publishes the E-Photo Newsletter, the largest circulation newsletter in the field. Novak is also president and owner of Contemporary Works/Vintage Works, a private photography dealer, which sells by appointment and at exhibit shows, such as AIPAD New York and Miami, Art Chicago, Classic Photography LA, Photo LA, Paris Photo, The 19th-century Photography Show, etc.