The Best Booths at Expo Chicago, from an Ode to Hometown Heroes to Solo Showcases


Expo Chicago has returned to Navy Pier, offering its fairgoers more of what it’s known for: a decidedly relaxed vibe (at least compared to its coastal counterparts), an unparalleled focus on regional operations, and wide-ranging art willing to take on American politics.

This is the first edition of Expo under the leadership of Frieze, which acquired the event alongside the Armory Show in 2023. Tony Karman, EXPO director, told ARTnews that new management has only led to further improvements. The fair has a fresh layout and its special sections—Exposure, In/Situ, and Profile—have been better integrated into the main exhibition.

Some 170 galleries have gathered for this year, including first-time participants Labor (Mexico) and Hannah Traore Gallery (New York), along with blue chip enterprises from beyond the Windy City, like Galeria Nara Roesler and Vielmetter Los Angeles. Chicago, of course, is well represented by homegrown operations such as Document, Rhona Hoffman Gallery, and Corbett vs. Dempsey. Among the notable returning enterprises are Perrotin, Mariane Ibrahim, Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, and Harper’s.

Below, a look at the best on offer during the 2024 edition of Expo Chicago, which runs through Sunday.


One of the best sections of Expo is Exposure, a series of solo and two-artist presentations represented by young galleries curated by the Walker Art Center’s Rosario Güiraldes. And one of the most memorable participants of Exposure is NOME Gallery, which gathered an incisive selection of works by painter, sculptor, and installation artist Voluspa Jarpa. She’s no emerging talent, having represented Chile at the 2019 Venice Biennale and participated in the Shanghai Biennale (2018) and the São Paulo Bienal (2014), but Expo should make her a more familiar name Stateside.

Jarpa deals in hegemonic history—a repressive tool of secret police and world leaders that’s easy to spot, but laborious to undo. Faced with a foe like false memory, she brandishes proof of the past: government records, state symbols, eyewitness accounts, anthropological studies. At the entrance to Expo hangs a ceiling-scraping installation, titled Declassified (2021) and part of the In/Situ section curated by Amara Antilla. The work is from her “Minimal Secrets” series, which focuses on eras of misinformation, such as the Pinochet regime and the Cold War. Inside NOME’s booth, reels of redacted records are elegantly draped against the wall, though the subject matter is grotesque—human zoos, a phenomena prominent in cities during the 19th and 20th centuries. This installation shares space with a series of delicate drawings based on first-hand accounts of Indigenous life in America before colonization. The communities are depicted at leisure in the everyday, and it is a sad and disquieting sight. The viewer knows what horror is coming to stay.


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