Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60611
On a humid Thursday, shortly before sunset, taxis and town cars carrying well-coiffed women and men will converge on 600 East Grand Avenue. There, joined by a crowd of somewhat lesser personages on foot, they will step into the belly of the beast: Navy Pier Festival Hall, as redesigned by Studio Gang Architects. After three hours inside the leviathan, touched by “celebratory food and drink” and saturated with art, they will emerge—the faithful—into the rainy night. The unseen moon will be full. EXPO CHICAGO will have begun.
That, at least, is the version prayed for by EXPO President/Director Tony Karman and his staff. Thursday, September 19th will have passed by the time this article appears, and Karman will already have telling indicators of the fair’s commercial viability, based not just on the vernissage but also on the six hours of unofficial VIP access directly beforehand. In fact, hints of sales will have come even before that, thanks to EXPO’s partnership with Artspace.com. Since September 9th the site has offered collectors (and everyone else) “first access to preview over 600 works showcased by 100 of EXPO’s premier galleries,” each work helpfully flanked by bright pink buttons announcing “CONTACT US TO BUY”.
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