Chicago Edition

Emphasizing emerging artists, and eschewing booths, a new “low-risk” mini-fair aims to make its mark.


At last year’s inaugural EXPO Chicago art fair, Chicago art dealer Andrew Rafacz participated in a panel that broached the topic of artist retention in Chicago. With collector and gallerist Daniel Berger and the Renaissance Society’s Hamza Walker, Rafacz, whose eponymous gallery was exhibiting at EXPO, discussed a problem that, though not unique to Chicago, is one the city continually faces: thousands of new artists graduate from the city’s many distinguished art programs each year, and many decide to leave and look elsewhere to pursue their careers. “I found it problematic to be discussing this while participating in this art fair,” Rafacz said, “because I couldn’t bring truly emerging artists to EXPO.”

It’s no secret that fairs make their money off exhibiting galleries, and that art fairs are integral in keeping most galleries in business. Gallerists unfortunately have to make the tough decisions to leave their rosters’ emerging artists at home and bring their big sellers to reduce the risk of losing money in a booth that costs tens of thousands of dollars. In order to untie the hands of his fellow art dealers and create a space for emerging art in an art fair setting, Rafacz is partnering with Chicago Artists’ Coalition to launch EDITION Chicago, what he describes as a “low-risk” art fair as a satellite to EXPO, one in which the booths cost a fraction of the price of a typical art fair. And though EDITION is financially accessible for exhibitors, the quality of art on display will remain high as the fifteen participating dealers have been hand-picked from amongst those Rafacz considers his peers.

“We’re not trying to reinvent the art fair,” he says. “EDITION is designed by dealers with the dealer in mind–not making money off them and their risk.” EDITION’s inaugural year will be modest, housed within the West Loop exhibition space of Chicago Artists’ Coalition, a non-profit, membership-based art organization. Rafacz has been involved with the organization as a board member of CAC’s Chartwell Collectors Circle, which has tasked itself with the uphill battle of creating a new collector base in Chicago for emerging art. In the spirit of their joint mission, EDITION will feature artwork with an average price point of $5,000 and under. Though the fair is called “EDITION,” (“Not ‘EDITIONS,’ plural,” notes Rafacz), it will not be featuring the offerings of book publishers or presses; rather, Rafacz hopes that the invite-only selection of art dealers will use the opportunity to experiment and bring new media, video and work from the emerging artists they represent.

Of the list of exhibitors, one third are from Chicago including Andrew Rafacz Gallery, The Mission, threewalls and Document, and the bulk of exhibitors will be coming in from out of town, including LaMontagne Gallery from Boston, MKG127 from Toronto, and Carter & Citizen and Walter Maciel Gallery from Los Angeles. Rafacz doesn’t view EDITION as competing with EXPO (in fact, Andrew Rafacz Gallery and The Mission will be simultaneously exhibiting in booths at EXPO); “We can do this because EXPO exists,” he says, in hopes that the visitors drawn by EXPO will also venture out from Navy Pier to the nearby West Loop for a viewing experience that offers something fresh and accessible.

Festival Hall, Navy Pier 600 East Grand Avenue

Thursday, September 19
6-9 pm | Vernissage

Opening night tickets required. Proceeds from Vernissage support Education, Exhibition, and Performance programs at the MCA.

Friday, September 20
11am | Highlight // William J. O’Brien

William J. O’Brien (Artist) in conversation with Christopher E. Vroom (Founder and President, Artadia: The Fund for Art and Dialogue).
12:30pm | In Conversation // Michelle Grabner on “Work From Home”
Panelists: Michelle Grabner (Artist and Chair of SAIC Painting and Drawing Department), David Norr (Cleveland MOCA), and Gaylen Gerber (Artist).
Moderated by: Reto Thuring (Cleveland Museum of Art).
2pm | IMG TXT // Art and Writing for the Digital Screen
Panelists: Paddy Johnson (Art F City), Josh Baer (The Baer Faxt), Forrest Nash (Contemporary Art Daily). Moderated by: Richard Holland (Bad at Sports).
3:30pm | In Conversation // Painter, Painter
Panelists: Eric Crosby (Walker Art Center), Artists: Rosy Keyser, Scott Olson.
5pm | ADAA Presents: Regional Art Capitals // Challenges and Successes
Panelists: Larry & Marilyn Fields (Collectors), Jill Snyder, (Cleveland MOCA), and Elizabeth Leach, (Elizabeth Leach Gallery).
Moderated by: Mary Sabbatino (Galerie Lelong).

Saturday, September 21
11am | Highlight // Jesper Just

Jesper Just (Artist) in conversation with Dean Otto (Walker Art Center).
12:30pm | Bad at Sports // One-on-One
Panelists: Solveig Ovstebo (Renaissance Society), William Powhida (Artist), and Charlie James (Charlie James Gallery). Hosts: Duncan MacKenzie and Richard Holland (Bad at Sports).
2pm | Northern Trust Presents: Collecting through Warhol
Panelists: Lisa Cavanaugh (Christie’s), Patrick Moore (Warhol Museum), and
Christopher Perry (Northern Trust). Moderated by: Jill Arnold (AXA Art Insurance).
3pm-6pm | Bad at Sports // One-on-One
Panelists: Sanford Biggers (Artist), Elysia Borowy-Reeder (MOCAD Detroit)
and Jose Lerma (Artist). Hosts: Duncan MacKenzie and Richard Holland.

Sunday, September 22
11am | Highlight // LaToya Ruby Frazier

Aperture presents LaToya Ruby Frazier (Artist) in conversation with Karen Irvine (Museum of Contemporary Photography).
12:30pm | In conversation: Radical Assemblage // Isa Genzken
Panelists: Susanne Ghez (Former Executive Director, Renaissance Society), Michael Darling (Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago).
2pm | In Conversation: The Ephemeral Public
Doreen Remen (Art Production Fund) and Adam Brooks (Artist).
3:30pm | University of Chicago Presents: Artist Talk // Zachary Cahill

September 19 — 22

IN/SITU provides an opportunity for our exhibiting galleries to showcase large-scale installations, and performative works by leading international artists. Organized by Director and Curator, Shamim M. Momin, of Los Angeles Nomadic Division (LAND).

EXPO VIDEO is a selection of film, video and new media works by artists selected from the 120 international exhibiting galleries at the 2013 exposition. EXPO VIDEO will run on the main floor.

Artadia: The Fund for Art and Dialogue and the Andree Stone Emerging Artist Prize will each present awards at separate press conferences during the course of EXPO.

For more information, visit: