Artropolis | Merchandise Mart | Special Events | Chicago Reader
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Artropolis 

When: May 1-2, 11 a.m.-7 p.m., Sun., May 3, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. and Mon., May 4, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. 2009
Price: $20 per day, $15 students and seniors, $25 for multiple days
artropolischicago.com
Sufficient unto the day are the art fairs thereof. Last year, the collection of events known as Artropolis featured no less than five fairs located in the Merchandise Mart. At 4.2 million square feet, the building could handle it. But it was a little much for the rest of us. This time around, the Artist Project—a diffuse show of artists without gallery affiliations—has been jettisoned, along with the Intuit Show of Folk and Outsider Art (though Intuit the gallery, at 756 N. Milwaukee, remains an Artropolis "cultural partner" and is running two exhibitions that coincide with the big event.) What's left is still more than enough to take in over a weekend. As ever, the centerpiece is Art Chicago, with a relatively spare 110 galleries (down from 180 in 2008) representing cities from Frankfurt to Philadelphia, Tokyo to San Francisco. Then there's Next, positioned to be edgier due to its emphasis on galleries showing emerging art. And for those of us looking for something of proven value in this crazy world, there's the Merchandise Mart International Antiques Fair, which kicks off this year with a keynote appearance by Martha Stewart (Fri 5/1, 10 AM, but it's full up). Special attractions include more presentations and panels (including "The Weather Underground in Conversation," with Bernardine Dohrn, Bill Ayers, and artist Tania Bruguera, Fri 5/1, 6 PM); Buckminster Fuller's 24-foot, 3,500-pound fiberglass Fly's Eye dome, set up in the Mart's south lobby; and a special exhibit called "Partisan," for which Chicago's Mary Jane Jacob has culled politically conscious work from Art Chicago and Next galleries.

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