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April 8, 2007

Art Chicago looks primed again to contend for its spot on the art world stage. Formerly THE art show in the U.S., and one of the best in the world, the show went through a rough patch with poor management, venue problems and new competition in New York and Miami, but now America's longest running international contemporary art fair looks like it is heading back to recapture some of its former glory and status under new capable management and in a new spacious home at the Chicago Merchandise Mart.

Many of the top art and photography dealers that had dropped out are now back for this year's show, which should prove to be the strongest one in years. Under the new and influential ownership of Merchandise Mart Properties, Inc. the space will double from last year to over 200,000 sq. ft., and the selection process was extremely vigorous with only about a third of the applicants being accepted. Nearly a third of the exhibitors are international galleries. Over 30,000 visitors to the show are expected.

One hundred and thirty-two exhibitors will be on display at Art Chicago itself, which will be held on the seventh floor of the Chicago Merchandise Mart, in conjunction with the Merchandise Mart Antiques Fair (on the eighth floor), the Artist Project (in the lobby), the Intuit Show of Outsider Art (also on the eighth floor) and the Bridge Art Fair (a show of young galleries showing emerging contemporary work, which will be held across the street on the 12th floor of 350 West Mart Plaza).

The entire city of Chicago appears to have gotten solidly behind the show, and special art events are planned all over the city under the banner of ARTropolis, much of it free to Art Chicago attendees and VIPs. Educational programs, guided tours, music, theatre and dance performances are planned at a variety of venues throughout the city: from major museums to small galleries, from world-class concert halls to cutting-edge clubs, from lakefront parks to exclusive private parties. Visit http://www.artropolischicago.com to find specific details on the events and activities planned.

Exhibitors focusing on photography include Contemporary Works/Vintage Works, Ltd., Charles Cowles Gallery, Stephen Daiter Gallery/Daiter Contemporary, Catherine Edelman Gallery, Peter Fetterman Gallery, Flowers, HackelBury Fine Art Ltd., Robert Koch Gallery, Paul Kopeikin Gallery, Robert Mann Gallery, Lawrence Miller Gallery, Yossi Milo Gallery, P.P.O.W., Inc., Weinstein Gallery and Stephen Wirtz Gallery. In addition numerous exhibiting art dealers and galleries will also be showing photography, which has become the hottest area of contemporary art.

Art Chicago will open Thursday, April 26 with an evening Preview to benefit Best Buddies International, from 6-9 p.m. Best Buddies is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to enhancing the lives of people with intellectual disabilities by providing opportunities for one-to-one friendships and integrated employment.

The regular show hours for Art Chicago will run: Friday, April 27, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.; Saturday, April 28, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sunday, April 29, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; and Monday, April 30, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Admission is $15 and includes entrance to the other fairs at the Merchandise Mart, including Antiques Fair, the Artist Project, the Intuit Show of Outsider Art and the Bridge Art Fair.

Art Chicago is committed to addressing the needs of important collectors through "Gold Pass Program," a luxury program designed to cater to their needs. For more information, please contact David Rosen at drosen@mmart.com . For more detail on Art Chicago and its extensive educational programs, just click on: http://www.artchicago.com/ .

For clients and readers of my newsletter, please contact me at 1-215-822-5662 or by email, if you are planning to attend, so that I can get you the most advantageous credentials for the show. Also, please let me know if you would like me to bring anything special to our booth at the fair. Contemporary Works/Vintage Works will be in booth 7-4022.

The Merchandise Mart is bordered by Wells and Orleans Streets on the east and west, and Kinzie Street and the Chicago River on the north and south. From I-90/94, exit east at Ohio Street. Turn south on Wells Street and drive four blocks to The Mart. The Chicago River is on the Merchandise Mart's south side.