Art Chicago brings thousands of works to Merchandise Mart
    An interview with artist Pete Nawara, whose work was on display at Art Chicago. Video by the author.

    Two thousand artists’ works in one place: it’s sensory overload, and it’s awesome.

    Art Chicago 2008, an international art fair, features pieces culled from museums around the world, and whatever kind of contemporary art you’re into, there’s something for you. This isn’t your regular exhibit: The setting (aisles and aisles in Merchandise Mart) feels like a factory, and it may not be the best environment to contemplate art. But it is a great way to see a multitude of artists (a lot of new names you won’t find in art history textbooks, but also better-known classics such as Picasso and Warhol) and to experience art done in a bunch of different ways.

    In just one room, you might find brass sculpture, canvas streaked abstractly with color, pop art, and swooping metal. Check out the 12th floor for the main gallery exhibits, the eighth floor for independent artistsĀ and antique dealers, and the seventh floor for NEXT, which focuses on emerging art.

    As for the crowd, you’ll see classy older folks from the art world looking to buy or sell, as well as students and curious Chicagoans of all ages. And Ray Bans aplenty.

    The event runs through Monday: Student tickets are $15.


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