After Initially Hoping to Stick to Its September Opening, EXPO Chicago Has Been Postponed Until April 2021

Organizers of NADA Chicago, an EXPO satellite, pulled the plug on their event last month.

EXPO Chicago 2019. Photo courtesy of EXPO Chicago.
EXPO Chicago 2019. Photo courtesy of EXPO Chicago.

Another domino has fallen in the art industry’s international fair schedule, as the ninth edition of EXPO Chicago has been postponed from September 2020 to April 2021.

“The decision to move the date was the result of a collaborative decision-making process with the galleries to give them the time they need to focus on reopening their spaces and exhibitions,” fair director Tony Karman told Artnet News in an email.

Organizers of the fair, which was originally set to take place from September 24–27 with 125 exhibitors, determined that it would still be too early in the recovery period to hold the event, which attracts close to 40,000 visitors each year. The new dates are April 8–11, 2021.

The 2020 edition of NADA Chicago, EXPO’s one-year-old satellite, was canceled last month.

EXPO was slated to be part of a busy fall, especially after a slew of international events originally scheduled for the spring and summer were postponed or cancelled. Currently on the docket for the season are Art Basel (scheduled for September 17–20), the Dallas Art Fair (October 1–4), as well as regularly scheduled events including Frieze London (October 8–11) and FIAC in Paris (October 22–25).

But social-distancing measures make it nearly impossible to hold major gatherings. EXPO’s postponement follows similar announcements from organizers of South Korea’s Gwangju Biennale, which has been delayed from September to February, and France’s Biennale de Lyon, which has been moved from 2021 to 2022.

Karman remains confident that the fair will still attract high-end dealers, even as some may be looking to refocus how and where they spend their money.

“Fairs of our scale and character, that are based in cities that have robust and longstanding gallery, collector, and institutional resources, will have an advantage in terms of providing the kind of important art experiences patrons and collectors will look for moving forward,” he said.

“While we recognize the increased importance of virtual experiences and will be incorporating a digital platform into our program, we believe that there is no replacement for experiencing art in person.”

EXPO’s organizers have not yet decided if they will seek to return the event to its regular September dates following the April 2021 edition. But a portion of the event’s 2021 proceeds will be donated to the Art Dealers Association of America and the New Art Dealers Association.


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