Expo Chicago, the city’s major art fair, kicks off the fall art season this weekend with a flurry of talks, parties, high-profile sales, and more. Whether you’re a connoisseur or just simply art-curious, the behemoth fair is nothing short of overwhelming. The event runs Thursday to Sunday at Navy Pier, and there’s plenty going on. Consider this list your curated guide.
Hit the Parties
For $100, get a first-look at this year’s Expo, plus a front row seat to new performance art (think: gold-covered semi-nude men), a rumored free tequila bar, plus a dance party at this year’s Vernissage. Thursday, September 17 from 6 to 9 p.m.
Check out some of Chicago’s best galleries during Art After Hours, a citywide gallery crawl organized by EXPO. Friday, September 18 from 6 to 9 p.m. Downloadable map available here.
Spot the Art Stars
Theaster Gates signs his new book at Phaidon’s booth on Thursday from 5 to 7 p.m.
Painters from the original Hairy Who (Gladys Nilsson, Karl Wirsum, Art Green) are interviewed live. Saturday, September 19 at 4 p.m.
New York artist Hunter Reynolds performs his Survival AIDS Mummification Performance in collaboration with local artists Elijah Burgher and Steve Reinke. Sunday, September 20 from 1 to 3 p.m.
Get a Little Weird
See your future with Dana Major, who reads your fortune using mineral magic. Thursday September 17 to Sunday September 18.
Check out a solar-powered ice-cream truck devised by artist Spencer Finch. The food art squirts soft serve in the colors of the sunset.
Play Dominos on a hand-crafted jatoba wood table with corian inlay, modeled after the public game tables in Puerto Rico, made by Dan Sullivan and Edra Soto.
Try the Columbia College Chicago’s artisan boutique featuring art, fashion, literature, prints, and gifts made by top students.
Embrace your inner lithead at a miniature bookstore featuring small-publisher artist books, sketchbooks, zines, and printed oddities from eight art-book sellers.
Spruce up your desktop with Threewalls’s limited edition sculptures that perch happily on desks and bookshelves.
Expo Chicago runs from September 17 to 20 at Navy Pier. $15 to 30. expochicago.com.