Curatorial Initiatives

Curatorial Initiatives, Barbara Nessim Awards at EXPO CHICAGO 2023. Selva Aparicio, Mary Dinaberg, Ionit Behr, Barbara Nessim, Anna Demchick, Stephanie Seidel, Renaud Proch. Photo by Mario Gallucci.

EXPO CHICAGO is committed to supporting arts leaders and professionals through educational programs and networking opportunities. The exposition is one of the only art fairs in the United States with dedicated platforms which aim to foster future collaboration and dialogue among local, national and international curators of contemporary art and architecture. 

The Curatorial Initiatives include an expanded, year-round Curatorial Forum program alongside its annual Curatorial Exchange, which together will gather curators from nine countries to discuss shared perspectives, goals and challenges facing the field. The exposition’s robust Curatorial Initiatives support its larger mission to foster the critical creative dialogues taking place in the Midwest and internationally today.

The 2023 convening featured a keynote by Victoria Noorthoorn, Director of Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires. She has acted as Projects Coordinator of the International Program at MoMA, New York; Assistant Curator of Contemporary Exhibitions at The Drawing Center, New York; and Curator of Malba-Fundación Costantini, Buenos Aires.

Since ICI's partnership with EXPO CHICAGO on the Curatorial Forum began in 2016, ICI's dedication to serving the region's curatorial voices has continued to expand. In 2022, ICI opened an office in Chicago, led by Midwest Programs Manager Scott Vincent Campbell, an expansion that represents a powerful new point of year-round engagement between ICI, EXPO CHICAGO, and ICI's curators in the Midwest.

In 2023, EXPO CHICAGO and ICI presented the inaugural Barbara Nessim Acquisition Prize and the Barbara Nessim Curatorial Travel Award, both of which are fully funded by Barbara Nessim, an artist known for her life-long multidisciplinary art practice as well as her support of women in the arts. The annual acquisition prize will be dedicated to the purchase of an artwork created by a woman artist valued up to $10,000 on view at EXPO CHICAGO that will be donated to the DePaul Art Museum.

For the 2023 edition in partnership with Independent Curators International (ICI), EXPO CHICAGO hosted its ninth annual Curatorial Forum – eighth co-organized with ICI – which will gather more than 60 curators from across the country to discuss pressing issues of accessibility, community engagement, labor conditions and new ways of working with artists, featuring both public and closed-door sessions taking place throughout the week. The Curatorial Forum presents an unrivaled environment for professional development, exchange, and collaborations throughout the art and museum ecosystems. 

View 2023 Curatorial Forum participants.

The 2023 edition included the addition of the Chicago Assembly, a cohort of Chicago-based curators who will convene both prior to and following EXPO CHICAGO in April, to further explore the ideas exchanged throughout the program as well as to identify themes and strategies generated at the Forum that hold special significance for the Chicago community.

View 2023 Chicago Assembly participants.

The Curatorial Exchange is one of the nation’s only dedicated initiatives focused on funding global curator convenings that foster future collaborations for curators on the local, national, and international level. The program has supported over 120 international curators since inception, bringing a wealth of cross-cultural dialogue to EXPO CHICAGO each year. The fourth annual exchange was developed in partnership with foreign consulates and cultural agencies from countries around the world, offering select mid-career and established curators the opportunity to engage closely with their peers, convening as part of a four-day program that includes access to the Curatorial Forum, exhibitions, top private collections, artist studios, museums, and institutions during EXPO CHICAGO. 

View 2023 participating countries

EXPO CHICAGO and Independent Curators International Announce Details for Curatorial Programming at 2023 Edition

EXPO CHICAGO has big plans to expand the offerings it provides to curators.

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