Chicago’s Art Scene Is Booming Right Now

Here are three new galleries to check out now, and three big shows to see in Chicago this September.

Courtesy of Fountain Art Fair

Foutain Art, a new art festival, will be happening in Chicago on September 20 - 22. 

September is going to be a huge month for Chicago’s art scene. Fountain Art Fair, a Brooklyn-based company, just announced that it will be opening an alternative art fair on September 20–22, the same weekend as the much ballyhooed Expo Chicago at Navy Pier. With Fountain’s announcement, the weekend of September 20–22 will now see three contemporary art festivals in Chicago. (There’s also Edition, a small fair of affordable artworks held at the Chicago Artists’ Coalition.)

Both Fountain and Edition are unaffiliated with Expo, but their presence signals a confidence in Chicago’s ready-to-boom-again art market. How do you measure the health of a city’s contemporary art economy? One way is to count the number of satellite art fairs, both large and small, that pop up like sideshows to the main attraction. Art Basel Miami, for example, attracts about 17 satellite fairs to the city every December.

Fountain, named after Marcel Duchamp’s 1913 sculpture of a urinal, plans to host 20–25 exhibiting galleries, and has enlisted the West Town gallery Johalla Projects as a local partner in recruiting exhibitors and marketing. The fair will take place at Mana Contemporary in Pilsen (2233 S Throop), the same site as last year’s alternative MDW fair. (MDW is rumored to return this October, pending a new location.)

Another sign of a resurgent art market in Chicago? The opening of new galleries.

Here are three to check out: 

Dos Perros Projects

A collaborative curatorial venture by artists Alejandro Jimenez and Nathan Thomas, this West Town gallery “strives to show artists interested in humor, attitude, voidness, the absurd and poetics,” according to their mission statement. The current show, WHO u See?, contains work by Brandon Seckler and Oliver Henry.
Hours are by appointment. 859 N Marshfield, 2R. dosperrosprojects.com.

The Milk Factory

A gallery and artist collective located in a former milk bottling plant in Ukrainian Village, its first show was last weekend and featured work by Michael Endo, Kendra Larson, Emily Nachison, and Lauren Payne.
Hours are by appointment. 907 N Winchester, rear apartment. themilkfactorygallery.com.

Paris London Hong Kong

Three wall clocks tick off the local times in Paris, London, and Hong Kong at this West Loop gallery, established by three venerable Chicago dealers: Dan Devening, Aron Gent, and Sam Vinz. Paris opened in June with Picturing Page, an exhibit of archival photos of pin-up star Bettie Page. Many of these images were censored during the McCarthy era, but the photographer, Paula Klaw, saved several negatives, which were printed anew for this show.
Hours Thursday to Saturday, 11am - 6pm. 845 W Washington, 2R. parislondonhongkong.com.

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