EXPO CHICAGO to Expand Its Acquisition Prizes for Institutions

The art fair's prizes will total roughly $100,000 for the 2024 edition.

Art fair room with blurred group of people walking amongst white booths
A view of Expo Chicago in 2023. Photo: Kyle Flubacker

EXPO CHICAGO, one of the largest art fairs in the U.S., is giving its purchase prizes a boost. In addition to hosting returning awards sponsored by wealth management company Northern Trust and artist Barbara Nessim, the fair has announced two new prizes for its 2024 edition.

Sign Up For Our Daily Newsletter

By clicking submit, you agree to our <a rel="nofollow noreferer" href="http://observermedia.com/terms">terms of service</a> and acknowledge we may use your information to send you emails, product samples, and promotions on this website and other properties. You can opt out anytime.

See all of our newsletters

The fair has for more than a decade brought together contemporary and modern artwork in annual exhibitions at Chicago’s Navy Pier. More than 170 national and international galleries are expected to participate in the next fair, opening April 11, which will be complimented by city-wide arts programming.

SEE ALSO: The Met Explores Africa’s Lasting Impact On the Mediterranean World

Throughout much of its tenure, EXPO CHICAGO, which was recently acquired by art fair behemoth Frieze, has given museums the opportunity to acquire exhibited artwork through the Northern Trust Purchase Prize. While the prize was previously limited to local institutions, in recent years it has expanded to include museums outside of Chicago. 

Atlanta’s High Museum of Art, the Milwaukee Art Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego will be the 2024 recipients, with museum directors able to select works from young and emerging galleries shown in the fair’s EXPOSURE section. “The expanded scope of the award, benefiting three U.S. institutions in different regions, underscores the vital role contemporary art plays in shaping diverse cultural landscapes across the country,” said Kathryn Kanjo, director of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, in a statement.

Northern Trust will fund the acquisition of chosen works as they enter the museums’ permanent collections. Last year’s winners were the Seattle Art Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts St. Petersburg in Florida and the Saint Louis Art Museum, which respectively purchased works by Mohau Modisakeng, Claudia Peña Salinas and Wole Lagunju.

EXPO CHICAGO introduces two new purchase prizes

One new purchase prize will be presented by sponsor Macerich’s Fashion Outlets of Chicago. The shopping center, which hosts “THE COLLECTION,” a contemporary art program of site-specific artwork by living artists like Derrick Adams and Daniel Arsham, will select the work of an artist exhibited at the fair to join the program.

The second inaugural acquisition prize will be supported by the boutique hotel chain 21c Museum Hotels. Alongside 21c’s chief curator Alice Gray Stites, founders Laura Lee Brown and Steve Wilson will select up to two works focused on community engagement to join the company’s permanent collection.

EXPO CHICAGO’s 2024 edition will also debut the second edition of two prizes made possible by Nessim. Known as the Barbara Nessim Acquisition Prize, the first award will acquire and donate an exhibited artwork created by a female artist and valued up to $10,000 to the Depaul Art Museum. Last year’s prize bought a work by Selva Aparicio, who is having an exhibition at the Depaul that will run concurrently with the April art fair.

The Barbara Nessim Curatorial Travel Award will give a travel grant of $3,000 to a female curator attending EXPO CHICAGO’s Curatorial Forum. Stephanie Seidel, a curator at the Institute of Contemporary Art Miami and the winner of the 2023 prize, used the funds to travel to California and interview artist Betye Saar.

“It excites me to make a difference and contribute to other women curators and women artists,” said Nessim in a statement. “I look forward to seeing the excellent work at the fair this year and offering these initiatives once again.”

EXPO CHICAGO to Expand Its Acquisition Prizes for Institutions