By Sarah Douglas • 09/18/2017
I was flown to Expo and put up in a hotel to participate in a panel discussion about art journalism. (It’s an issue in which Expo, to its credit, seems to take an interest. Not enough people in the art world know that Karman, for instance, serves as publisher of The Seen, a local art journal edited by the tireless Stephanie Cristello, who curates the fair’s Dialogues program.) Second: I grew up in Waukesha, Wisconsin, a half-hour drive from Milwaukee, and I suppose on some level I have a nostalgic investment in a Midwest fair succeeding.
With all that noted, I saw some terrific work at Expo, at booths for galleries like Los Angeles’s Grice Bench and San Francisco’s Jessica Silverman. I saw major Chicago collectors like Larry Fields, and I saw museum honchos like the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago’s director, Madeleine Grynsztejn, and its curator, Omar Kholeif. Two heavy-hitting newcomers to the fair, Gagosian and Lévy Gorvy, put real effort into their booths: Gagosian exhibited a particularly dark and brooding group show (read more about that here), and, at Lévy Gorvy, co-director Brett Gorvy used the word “intellectual” in reference to a booth with challenging works by Adrian Piper and a terrific new painting by Pat Steir. (And at relatively modest price points: Whereas the gallery brought a $30 million Jean-Michel Basquiat to Art Basel in Switzerland, Gorvy said the ceiling at Expo was $2 million to $3 million.)