Genevieve Gaignard, Selfie. Courtesy of Shulamit Nazarian, Los Angeles.

The PR for Expo Chicago 2017 gives a lineup of numbers: this 6th edition “presents artwork from 135 leading galleries, representing 25 countries and 58 cities from around the world.” As expected with a commercial art fair, galleries rely on their bread-and-butter artists to attract buyers and collectors.

Given that most contemporary art never finds its way to galleries or art fairs, I’m thankful that Expo Chicago spotlights art beyond the commercial space of the exhibition hall. An Expo partnership with the City of Chicago’s City Digital Network created Override. It brings art to viewers as they drive or crawl in traffic on Chicago’s expressways and roads. That is, from the end of August until September 17, digital art is broadcast on giant billboards in rotation with the public service announcements and ads for TV shows, bankruptcy services, etc. IN/SITU Outisde, an array of contemporary public art along the Chicago’s lakefronts and in neighborhoods, is the result of a Expo Chicago collaboration with Chicago Park District, Chicago Department of Cultural affairs and Special Events, and Navy Pier.

Aram Han Sifuentes, from The Protest Banner Lending Library.

On the floor above the din of the main exhibition, 6018North partnered with 3Arts to create VIP: Very Important Platforms. Aram Han Sifuentes’s Protest Banners Talking Back invites visitors to participate in making a large communal banner. Onye Ozuzu presents Project Tool combining dance performance and construction of a sprung wood dance floor.

Onye Ozuzu


Stanya Kahn, Stand in the Stream. HD color video stereo sound. Photo courtesy of the artist and Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects.

These Restless Times is Expo Video’s selection of film, video and new media works curated by Ali Subotnick. Keep your ears open while you navigate Navy Pier. Sound art makes its Expo debut. Daata Editions curated Expo Sound that plays works by sound artists on Navy Pier’s speaker system and on the stage inside the exhibition hall.

The Roundhouse, site of Singing Stones

Palais de Tokyo of Paris is getting in the act too. Through a partnership with Expo Chicago and Institute français, Singing Stones, an exhibition of contemporary art by French and Chicago artists, is at the Roundhouse on the campus of the DuSable Museum of African American History until October 29.

There’s always a lot of art to get out and see in Chicago and it’s even busier at Expo time. Openings and events at museums, galleries, and artist-run spaces proliferate during September. Here’s one for the itinerary: Industry of the Ordinary’s History and Forgetting at Silent Funny. It’s an event with Lindsey French and Katinka Kleijn on Saturday, September 16 that includes making a flag out of ice, a performance–and a Car Wash Champagne Service.

Silent Funny, site of History and Forgetting