See the Top 10 Booths at EXPO Chicago

The VIP preview was the hottest ticket in town.

Installation view David Kordansky Gallery at EXPO Chicago. Courtesy David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles.

Access to the exclusive VIP preview of EXPO Chicago was the hottest ticket in the city’s art scene on Thursday, as big-name collectors such as London’s Anita Zabludowicz rubbed shoulders with dealers and selected members of the press.

In its fifth edition, EXPO Chicago president and director Tony Karman attracted hundreds of exhibitors from across the United States, Europe, and even South Korea; they competed for attention with some eye-catching presentations at Navy Piers.

International galleries in the main section shared the floor with young galleries from the fair’s dedicated Exposure section in what turned out to be a an enthralling and well balanced mix of established players and up-and-comers.

Here’s the top 10 booths that caught our eye at EXPO.

Clare Rojas Untitled (2015). Photo: courtesy Kavi Gupta, Chicago.

Clare Rojas Untitled (2015). Photo: courtesy Kavi Gupta, Chicago.

1. Kavi Gupta
Chicago is Kavi’s town. And the local gallerist certainly made sure it didn’t escape your attention by occupying a large booth right at the entrance of the exhibition hall. Gupta showed works by an eclectic range of artists including two medium-sized color-field paintings by Clare Rojas, a compressed jute, and a compressed aluminum work by the emerging Indian artist Manish Nai, as well as photos by Mickalene Thomas, and an installation by Jessica Stockholder.

On Stellar Rays, New York. Photo: Henri Neuendorf.

On Stellar Rays, New York. Photo: Henri Neuendorf.

2. On Stellar Rays
Showing three wonderfully mysterious sculptures by Tommy Hartung alongside intricate works on paper by Zipora Fried, the New York gallery’s booth caught the eye with its minimal, yet refreshingly unique display. Although the medium and content of the works diverge, gallerist Candice Madey says that “the artists are in a close dialogue with each other…”

Installation view David Kordansky Gallery at EXPO Chicago. Photo: Courtesy David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles.

Installation view David Kordansky Gallery at EXPO Chicago. Photo: Courtesy David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles.

3. David Kordansky Gallery
Participating at EXPO for the first time, the Los Angeles-based gallery brought works on paper by Sam Gilliam and ceramics by Betty Woodman. Not only did the works complement each other beautifully in terms of their color and vibrancy, dealer David Kordansky explained that he deliberately chose to show two artists in their 80s, describing both as “radically influential.” He added, “People are super excited, especially as it’s the work of two octogenarians.”

Honor Franser, Los Angeles. Photo: Henri Neuendorf.

Honor Franser, Los Angeles. Photo: Henri Neuendorf.

4. Honor Fraser
Anchored by a large eye-catching canvas by street art darling KAWS, a Kaz Oshiro steel-beam shaped canvas, and paintings by Brenna Youngblood, the Los Angeles-based gallery brought a selection of artworks that really drew in visitors on Thursday, both in terms of the innovative selection and presentation of works which demonstrated the variability of the gallery’s program.

James Cohan, New York. Photo: Henri Neuendorf.

James Cohan, New York. Photo: Henri Neuendorf.

5. James Cohan
Presenting a broad range of works both in terms of content and medium, the New York-based gallerist showed off the eclecticism of his program by offering a circuit-board work by the Ethiopian artist Elias Sime and a tapestry and small painting by Fred Tomaselli, which hangs adjacent to a large Amy Feldman canvas, and two paintings by Michelle Grabner.

In spite of the notoriously difficult-to-curate art fair setting, Cohan managed to show the works in a context where they become more than the sum of their parts.

Nordenhake. Berlin/Stockholm. Photo: Henri Neuendorf.

Nordenhake. Berlin/Stockholm. Photo: Henri Neuendorf.

6. Nordenhake
The Stockholm and Berlin-based gallery showed a three-person presentation made up of works by the self-portrait photographer John Coplans, small, intricate tapestries by Helen Mirra, and a combination of small drawings and paintings by the American neo-mondernist painter Scott Olson. Few if any booths showed the same diversity and depth in terms of medium and subject matter and also presented the art in a coherent curatorial context.

Jessica Silverman, San Francisco. Photo: Henri Neuendorf.

Jessica Silverman, San Francisco. Photo: Henri Neuendorf.

7. Jessica Silverman Gallery
Making the trip to Chicago from San Francisco, Jessica Silverman chose to show a strong, all-female billing of artists. Highlights included works by feminist artist Judy Chicago, Tammy Rae Carland’s Lesbian Beds photo series, Nicole Wermer’s Untitled (Bench) (2016) which featured colored rocks in a plexiglass container, and two of Margo Wolowiec’s woven works.

The Breeder, Athens. Photo: Henri Neuendorf.

The Breeder, Athens. Photo: Henri Neuendorf.

8. The Breeder
The gallery made the trip all he way from Athens to show large and impressive works by Janis Varelas, the Greek painter known for putting absent-minded doodles in the spotlight in his large scale, and colorful canvasses. The booth was accentuated by a marble floor piece, which was hand carved by the artist Andreas Lolis. All in all the booth brought a refreshing and distinctly southern European flavor to the American Midwest.

Peres Projects, Berlin. Photo: Henri Neuendorf.

Peres Projects, Berlin. Photo: Henri Neuendorf.

9. Peres Projects
Boldly lit in fluorescent light, Peres Projects is showing a solo presentation of work by Blair Thurman. Bringing a total of 11 works by the American artist, who blurs the distinction between painting and sculpture in his innovative 3-D painted wall pieces, the spotlight was—quite literally—on the Berlin gallery’s enchanting booth.

König Galerie, Berlin. Photo: Henri Neuendorf.

König Galerie, Berlin. Photo: Henri Neuendorf.

10. König Galerie
The Berlin gallery showed a solo exhibition by the über hot Polish artist Alicja Kwade. Demonstrating the artists’ flexibility, König showed a wide variety of works from across the artist’s oeuvre. Despite the amount, the show remains intimate, providing a snapshot of the artist’s recent work.


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