Art Chicago, one of contemporary art’s longest-running fairs, will not open for business this year. Rechristened as NEXT Art Chicago late last year, after a merger with the emerging-gallery fair NEXT, it had been scheduled to run April 27-29 this year.
A representative for Merchandise Mart Properties Inc., the conglomerate that owns Art Chicago, New York’s Armory Show and Los Angeles’s Art Platform fair, among other ventures, told the Chicago Tribune today, “We are not moving forward with it.”
The website New American paintings has the lowdown on the reasoning behind the move from Merchandise Mart:
“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. …While Chicago is home to a thriving arts community, including galleries, world-class museums, theaters, arts-related organizations, along with thousands of art enthusiasts, it is our conclusion that the great majority of the art fair market in the United States has gravitated toward the coasts. This is where MMPI will be reallocating its considerable resources.”
Art Chicago was started in 1981, in a far less crowded, less competitive fair landscape. In 2006, it was acquired by Merchandise Mart after it ran into financial trouble. Now it is over.