2012 is going to be an interesting year for Chicago's art fairs. With the announcement of newcomer exposition Chicago slated for September 20-23 and the second year of the grassroots MDW Fair, many in the Chicago art community were wondering about the status of Art Chicago.
Private speculation about Art Chicago's fate first started after a Los Angeles Times article disclosed that Merchandise Mart Properties Inc., the owner and operator of Art Chicago, was quietly beginning to plan an art fair in Los Angeles.
Fueling the rumors was a June 1st article from Lauren Viera for the Chicago Tribune about the new exposition Chicago. Asked for comment about the new fair, the article ended with MMPI M.I.A: "MMPI President Chris Kennedy was unavailable for comment, and MMPI's spokesperson did not return phone calls."
Rumors gave way to open speculation with Kathryn Born writing: "As many of the galleries that left Art Chicago are indicating that
they'll come on board with this fair [exposition Chicago], it leaves the future of Art
I contacted MMPI about these speculations and asked for comment. Here is Paul Morris, Interim Director of Art Chicago and Vice President, MMPI Art Shows & Events:
"Art Chicago and NEXT partners with local cultural, social and civic
institutions annually in April and these efforts, combined with
extensive outreach through our entire art portfolio, and thoughtful
programming, help the fair attract over 50,000 collectors, curators,
artists and visitors. Art Chicago and NEXT have filled the Spring gap
in Chicago's cultural calendar. We have great initiatives in place for
Art Chicago | NEXT 2012, and look forward to again producing two
superior, complementary art fairs in Chicago."
So Art Chicago will be returning in 2012 with NEXT in the spirit of cooperation. Next year already looks busy.