Funding Pulled and Art Chicago Dies

AdobeAirstream recently learned that NEXT and Art Chicago—which as of 2011, combined into one fair, Next Art Chicago—have been cancelled, and will not occur in 2012 or in years to come. Primarily due to funding that has been pulled from Merchandise Mart Properties, Inc.

Mark Caro, Chicago Tribune, writes, “Founded at Navy Pier in 1980 as the Chicago International Art Exposition and passing through other incarnations before being redubbed Next Art Chicago last year to mark its official merger with the younger Next exhibition, the fair had been facing increased competition from other national and international fairs while struggling to maintain a lineup of high-end dealers. It was scheduled to run April 27-29.”

Caro also mentions the fair’s prestigious, 3-decades long history as one of the preeminent, international art exhibitions, which makes it all the more unfathomable that it should no longer exist, of course!

Could this suggest that the art market in Chicago is downsizing? According to Merchandise Mart Properties, Inc.—absolutely.

Caro reports that, “After a thorough analysis of the art fair landscape, Merchandise Mart Properties, Inc. (MMPI) has determined not to move forward with the production of the 2012 edition of Next Art Chicago and that Chicago will not remain a primary focus of its art fair business activities,’ Next Art Chicago executive director Staci Boris and director Ken Tyburski wrote in an email to vendors Wednesday.” Caro’s article in the Chicago Tribune continues with MMPI stating that popularity amongst art fairs, and thereby success, has, “gravitated towards the coasts.”

The new Texas Contemporary fair in Houston, near the Gulf Coast comes to mind. Along with, of course, veteran art fairs like Art Basel and Los Angeles Art Shows. Also, new fairs are cropping up in Los Angeles—like this year’s Affordable Art Fair. and sites still indicate that MMPI is involved and seem to suggest that the fairs are happening—this, in the midst of breaking news that they are certainly cancelled for the inevitable future.

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