January 12, 2006
With offline commitments falling away, I plan to be back at this thing right soon.
In the meantime, let's take a moment for a bit of the old press release regurgitation: This year's NOVA Art Fair (which has wisely shed its gratuitous "young" modifier) finally has a venue lined up.
As Erik Wenzel noted in the run-up to ABMB et alia, fair director Michael Workman has been looking to move the event away from last year's rustic environs (half of which now houses the NOVA Center) into a ~scope-style hotel situation, possibly in closer proximity to the Big Dog in Grant Park:
In local art fair news, Michael Workman announced on the NOVA Advisory listserv that he will be down there too. Networking, handing out business cards and so on, as we are all wont to do, could any of us afford to go down there.
Workman also touched on NOVA’s current plans for next year’s venue. NOVA is still searching. They are looking into Michigan Avenue hotels, which would put it closer to Art Chicago in the Park.
(In spite of their stated hopes of moving Art Chicago from the spring chill to the summer swelter, TBA will again be pitching their Butler Field tent during the last weekend in April, NOVA following suit. Hopefully it'll be a bit warmer this year, though.)
Given the run of the entire hotel, NOVA will have 45 rooms at their disposal (30 standard sized "suites" and 15 smaller singles, priced at $3000 and $2000 respectively). According to their press release, they anticipate stepping it up to 30–40 galleries this time around.
There's no indication whether this will include exhibits from individual artists, though the NOVA exhibitors page (currently in draft form) seems to suggest some sort of participation by individuals in the form of "environmental projects."
[Update... Lord knows, one of these days I'll learn to read: "Besides exhibiting galleries, Nova will continue its tradition of offering space to individual artists and collectives, both within available space at the City Suites Hotel, area businesses, and outdoors."]
Relocating the fair from the West Loop to Belmont trades real estate in the youngsters' art district for the visibility and potential foot traffic of the youngsters' retail thoroughfare. And, though it's much further away from the main event than last year, with the Belmont L stop a block away, transit between NOVA and Art Chicago should actually prove far easier. Having a bevy of amenities and distractions in arm's reach doesn't hurt, either. (Last year found me, post-NOVA, making a late dinner of a sticky bun and some Cheetos from a Loop 7-11 as I hoofed it to the Red Line. I would've killed for a Clarke's at the time—even Dunkin' Donuts would've been a blessing.)
This all sounds pretty good to me (as if anyone cares), just so long as the general ambience of the neighborhood doesn't lead things to a degeneration into Williamsburg-style scenester art ridiculousness.
Provided revelers aren't drawn in by the siren-song öonce-öonce and sideshow freakiness of Berlin across the street, a vernissage after-party featuring DJ Spooky bumps into the small hours just one L stop north at Smart Bar.