I went by the NOVA party last night (to rendezvous with the Artist Extraordinaire entourage.)
You’ve got to hand it to the Young Art Fair for pulling it all together after getting booted from their choice venue in the 11th hour. Politics and interdepartmental city government infighting are supposedly to blame. In any case, a tight little show has come about. And being a hop, skip and a jump from the West Loop galleries is a prime location. For once this is a situation where having openings “coincide” isn’t counterproductive but actually beneficial.
When we arrived around 9:30, it was quiet and empty. I wondered if there was no party, no opening event, if things were that dire. People were still putting things up, adjusting their booths and installing. So it goes with art fairs. The first rule is that nothing ever goes completely smoothly. Just it’s usually a lit bit smoother than abruptly relocating.
Regardless, there is a hot concentration of art. At NOVA you’ll find a good selection of work in a manageable sprawl. It’s a nice relief from the endless rows and intersections in the football field style Navy Pier, or even Stray Show of previous years. As time went by last night, it slowly began to fill up. Tensions eased and everyone started having a good time. It was a good party with good art. And that’s important. It was fun. Finally! some fun amidst all the clenched teeth and bulging veins. I doubt hitting Art Chicago or CC&C will be as much of a good time. And I wonder if the art will seem as good or fresh. I have a feeling that Art Chicago will have some good art but also be depressing and that CC&C will have less good art that’s not as good and be even more depressing. I hope these fairs don’t call it quits as Paul Klein suggests, but keep trying to figure things out.