July 18, 2005
I stopped looking out for news on the art fair front after the big weekend hit back in May (though somewhere I still have a half-written post on NOVA I ought to spew out one of these days...). So I can't say how long this has been out there but, via a post to the Other Group, I see that—their seven-year contract at Navy Pier and "participants' enthusiasm" notwithstanding—Chicago Contemporary & Classic looks to be officially throwing in the towel.
Given barely even tepid support from local galleries, totally anemic attendence (by all accounts) and generally dismal reviews all around, this is entirely unsurprising. And, really, it just wasn't a great show.
They do leave the door open for a return in the event of finding new dates at a new location, but it doesn't appear that they expect any such news to be terribly imminent:
The directors wish to thank everyone who supported Chicago Contemporary & Classic from April 29–May 2, 2005. In spite of the show's success and the participants' enthusiasm, our supporters have advised us to suspend production of the second edition of CC&C. We had hoped to find ourselves in a scenario where two shows could co-exist and collaborate where necessary, but the galleries have made it clear that only one show should take place at a time. We sought a different time of year that would work for everyone involved, but, unfortunately, no other dates are currently available.
We are researching other venues in other locations, so please contact us if you wish to be apprised of any new developments.
To be fair to CC&C, this spring didn't exactly present ideal conditions for launching a new fair in Chicago. Though treading water themselves (Thomas Blackman has called this year's fair a mere "prototype" for its future), Art Chicago still had the clear leg up in terms of location and track record (such that it is).
And you may recall that late April/early May wasn't really Thomas Blackman Associates' top choice in dates either. They had originally hoped to hold their revamped fair mid-summer, but had to settle for the icy side of spring for lack of available dates. (Staging it in Grant Park at the height of festival season is bound to be the sort of thing that requires the 'support' of some civic sponsor, not to mention a bit of lead time.)
Both fairs, then, were held as the spring auction season was getting ready to launch out east and, although some expected the prospect of all-out war to garner Chicago a surfeit of art world attention, it looked to me like the weekend passed almost without notice.
CC&C also felt the squeeze on the antiques side of things (and their promised antiques component barely materialized in the end), facing competition from the Chicago Antiques Fair down the road at the Merchandise Mart, while a major concurrent antiques fair on the west coast was the stated reason for Leslie Hindman's parting ways with the production.
Ultimately, should Pfingsten Publishing try to mount a revival of CC&C at a new location, in 2007 or whenever, more power to them. But here's hoping that 2005 will at least prove to have been the final nail in the coffin of McPier's plans for an art fair in the tourist circus that Navy Pier has become.
"Art Fair Fallout"
Posted by Dan at 07:30 PM
Chicago Antiques Fair
Chicago Contemporary & Classic
Chicago Park District: Grant Park
Chicagoist: Navy Pier Rocks Chicago Tourism List
Iconoduel: A Discouraging Art Fair Digest
Iconoduel: Fair Thee Well
Iconoduel: Pfingsten Demands Satisfaction
Iconoduel: Working Up a Head of Steam—The Park vs the Pier: the Participants Revealed
Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority
NOVA Young Art Fair
Other Group: 2611
Pfingsten Publishing, LLC
Wikipedia: Chicago City Council
Wikipedia: Richard M. Daley