Days after Frieze Los Angeles and TEFAF New York decided to cancel their 2021 editions, another U.S. art fair called off plans to host an in-person event this year. Expo Chicago said its forthcoming ninth iteration would not take place in 2021. Its 2022 fair is now set for April 7–10, 2022.
The organizers of the fair also said that Expo Chicago will now take place each April, as opposed to the September dates used for its first eight editions. The dates for the subsequent iterations of Expo Chicago are April 13–16, 2023 and April 11–14, 2024; the fair will continue to be staged at its longtime home of Navy Pier.
In an email to ARTnews, Expo Chicago founder and director Tony Karman said, “We gauged the global re-emergence of fairs, gatherings, and exhibitions and felt strongly that our commitment to April of 2022 allows us a strong chance to open where we left off after the 2019 exposition, respecting the impact and numerous considerations that dealers and collectors are making in 2021.”
As the coronavirus pandemic began to force art fairs around the world to cancel and postpone their 2020 editions, Expo Chicago pushed its September iteration to the following April. In January, it became the first art fair to say that it would delay a springtime fair until later in year, most likely sometime between July and September, but it did not provide firm dates.
In lieu of having an in-person fair in April, Expo Chicago hosted the second version of its online fair, which closed last Sunday. This online edition failed to attract major blue-chip dealers that the physical fair typically sees, but the dealers who did show there reported that they were able to make sales by focusing on highlighting emerging artists. Karman said his team “will continue to refine the platform” and that it will be incorporated into how the 2022 fair is staged.
Despite the continued high levels of the coronavirus infections in much of the world, some art fairs are still scheduled to take place in the coming months. Art Dubai hosted an in-person fair last month. Next month, Frieze New York will host a slimmed down version at the Shed, marking the first time a major art fair has been held in the city since the pandemic began, and Art Basel Hong Kong will bring together about half its normal number of galleries, with 56 of its 104 booths not being manned by staff, for an event taking place in May.