NADA Chicago, Which Was Set to Open in Late September, Has Been Cancelled as Art-Fair Calendar Shakeups Extend to the Fall

EXPO Chicago, however, is still scheduled to take place.

The Chicago Athletic Association on the Magnificent Mile was the home of the inaugural edition of the NADA Chicago Invitational. Photo: Diego Delso.
The Chicago Athletic Association on the Magnificent Mile was the home of the inaugural edition of the NADA Chicago Invitational. Photo: Diego Delso.

NADA Chicago, which was scheduled to open its second edition in the Windy City on September 24, is the latest event to be cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The cancellation of the well-received contemporary art fair, which was launched last year as a satellite to EXPO Chicago, is especially notable considering how late in the calendar it was due to take place. Until now, most auctions and fairs that have been moved or rearranged were originally scheduled to take place in the summer.

“While this decision was difficult to make, the health and well-being of our galleries, staff, and community is our number one priority,” New Art Dealers Alliance executive director Heather Hubbs said in a statement. “We are looking into alternative initiatives for our members and galleries to showcase work.”

NADA says it is also postponing the more imminent May 7 opening reception for the third edition of NADA House, a collaborative public exhibition in two turn-of-the-century Colonial Revival houses on Governor’s Island in New York. A new date has not been announced yet.

The trade organization has been actively rallying its members in response to the COVID-19 crisis, and launched a petition earlier this month demanding government relief for galleries, artists, and art workers in New York. It has also advocated for Senate Bill S8125, which is aimed at suspending rent for residential and commercial tenants affected by the coronavirus.

Most recently, NADA partnered with the Kinkade Family Foundation to release prints of a never-before-seen artwork by Thomas Kinkade as part of the NADA Gallery Relief Fund to benefit members of the organization and galleries internationally.

Meanwhile, the head of EXPO Chicago, Tony Karman, said in a statement earlier this week that his fair is still taking place in September, but noted that fair organizers are watching the pandemic situation closely.

“We are moving forward as scheduled and continually monitoring recommendations from health professionals and government agencies,” he said. “However, if after several months it is determined that large events still should not take place, we will set new dates.”

EXPO will also be making contributions to the NADA Gallery Relief Fund.

“In the spirit of collaboration and respect, we welcomed NADA to Chicago last year and we look forward to future alignments,” Karman told Artnet News today after the cancellation of the NADA fair. “In addition to our commitment to contribute to their organization, we will continue to explore ways that we can work with NADA this year and in the future to further their mission.”

Last year, NADA took place across three floors of the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel. It was scheduled this year to take place September 24–27.


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