Reshuffling at Art Expo
A massive loss of art-dealer support for John Wilson’s Chicago International Art Exposition has led to a major restructuring of the Lakeside Group, the fair’s parent organization. Mark Lyman, previously director of Lakeside’s New Art Forms Exposition, has been named executive director of the Lakeside Group. He replaces Thomas Blackman, who abruptly resigned last month to form an arts-management group that will present Art 1993 Chicago: The New Pier Show next May.
Lyman says he will oversee a reorganization of the Lakeside Group that will better prepare it “to meet the challenges of the 1990s.” He maintains that Wilson has given him “full authority” to run Lakeside and that Wilson will no longer be a key decision maker or a presence in day-to-day operations. “It’s a whole new ball game now,” claims Lyman, adding that Lakeside will produce an art fair next May and is now searching for a new director to head up the planning process. He says, “We want to do an Art Expo that is significant, but the situation is extremely competitive right now.” Art Expo has moved next year’s fair up to May 6-10 in order to coincide with the two other fairs. Attempts to move Art Expo from McCormick Place’s Donnelley Hall to the Rotunda at Navy Pier were unsuccessful.
Meanwhile, the Chicago Art Dealers Association recently opted to endorse Art Expo’s two competitors: Art 1993 Chicago and David and Lee Ann Lester’s Art Chicago. “These two organizations gave us assurances they would be responsive to our input,” says CADA president Carl Hammer. Hammer says Wilson came to CADA and offered to cooperate with them the day before the organization decided which fairs to support, but CADA viewed the gesture as too little too late. “It was a foolish kind of hardball to be playing,” says Hammer. “We took it more seriously than that.”
Another blow to Art Expo is the Museum of Contemporary Art’s decision to hook up with the Lesters’ Art Chicago for an opening-night benefit next May. The MCA had long been associated with Art Expo’s opening-night festivities.
Hubbard Street’s New Name
Is it civic pride or paranoia? Perhaps a bit of both. Hubbard Street Dance Company, the city’s best,established dance troupe, underwent a name change last week to become Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. The company’s marketing chief, Carol Fox, explains, “People come up to us when we’re on tour who still don’t know where we are from.” Because so many major dance companies are headquartered in New York, Fox says too many people incorrectly assume that Hubbard Street halls from there as well. Hubbard Street is the second local dance company in recent years to change its name in an attempt to more clearly identify itself with its hometown. The Joseph Holmes troupe is now Joseph Holmes Chicago Dance Theatre.
More news from Hubbard Street: the company has teamed up with high-fashion photographer Victor Skrebneski, who recently shot poster artwork featuring the legs of three Hubbard Street dancers.
11 Winning Wines
This Sunday Chicago can rightfully lay claim to being the wine capital of the world when the 11 winners (in red, white, pink, and sparkling wine categories) of the first World Wine Championships are announced at a banquet at the Hotel InterContinental. Seven wine experts convened in Chicago this week to judge some 75 wines that are finalists in the competition, sponsored by the Chicago-based Beverage Testing Institute and the Midwest International Wine Exposition. Sixteen countries, including Chile and Argentina, produced wines that were entered in the competition.
BTI president Craig Goldwyn views the championship as a means of helping wine consumers zero in on some of the best wines available. “Every year there are between 15,000 and 20,000 new wines introduced in the U.S. market,” explains Goldwyn, who says wine prices as well as wine consumption have declined slightly in the past year.
“But supply and demand is the bottom line on determining price,” he says. “A $20 bottle of wine is usually better than a $10 bottle, but it’s never twice as good.” Results of the championship will be available soon from BTI.
Woman Without Country: K.D. Lang Sells Out
Would-be walk-ins to tonight’s K.D. Lang concert at the Chicago Theatre are out of luck. The performance has been sold out for weeks, just as executives at Jam Productions hoped it would be. But the speed with which the 3,700-seat theater sold out did surprise Jam promoter Andy Cirzan. In previous visits to Chicago Lang had played Park West, a venue that seats about one-fourth as many people.
The switch to a much larger venue was a risky move for Jam, given that Lang is at a tricky crossroads in her career. She recently announced she is a lesbian, and her new album Ingenue is mostly a collection of torchy ballads, a marked departure from her previous country-rock-flavored recordings. Lang has said she is leaving the country music world behind because, as Cirzan notes, Nashville never embraced her and country-music radio stations weren’t eager to play her records. But Ingenue’s new and different material is getting airplay and exposing Lang to a wider radio audience.