Expo Chicago 2023, sprawling through Navy Pier’s vast Exhibition Hall, has what international art fairs usually have: crowds. Crowds are good. Without crowds of galleries, a fair may lack depth and variety. Without crowds of visitors, the artwork may go unseen and unsold.
This writer’s spot check on three Chicago galleries at the fair revealed a very personal approach by the gallerists themselves. Though it was the third full day of greeting the public, all expressed a genuine desire for every person to experience each work individually.
Evan Boris, co-founder of Monique Meloche Gallery, directed attention to Shinique Smith whose fabric sculpture, Inflamed by Golden Hues of Love, is a response to the apparel industry – from its Third World production by people laboring for subsistence wages to the waste it generates in First World countries. With evident passion, Boris articulated Smith’s references to consumerism, slavery and feminine deities.