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Expo Chicago CEO Tony Karman talks to guests under the Roundhouse dome./photo by Shia Kapos 0

Before Expo Chicago, it was tres chic at Roundhouse

September 14th, 2017

This year’s Expo Chicago isn’t just a blow-your-mind art fair at Navy Pier. It’s a celebration of broader Chicago–including the South Side.

The annual art show that draws a crowd from around the world has expanded its boarders beyond the pier.

Earlier this week, a hip crowd of artists, art lovers and collectors gathered at the Roundhouse next to the DuSable Museum of African American History.

“Let that sink in,” Perri Irmer told the crowd gathered at the historic building designed by famed architect Daniel Burnham. We’re at the Roundhouse!

The historic building was once used as a stable and then a storage area before it fell into disrepair and was vacant. The DuSable has since taken it over and has pain-stakingly worked to refurbish it. Irmer is the museum’s CEO.

This week, Roundhouse is part of the pageantry of Expo Chicago and the accompanying architecture show called Architecture Biennial, which runs through January.

Roundhouse is showcasing the acclaimed Palais de Tokyo exhibition called “Outside the Walls.” It features the work of 11 artists representing France and Chicago.

The opening the other day was tres chic. There was people-watching, wine sipping and I even heard guests speaking French.

Chicago artist Theaster Gates and gallery owner Paul Gray were there. So were a number of French-ambassador types. Other notable names attending included Chicago businessman and Obama Foundation Chairman Marty Nesbitt and his wife, Dr. Anita Blanchard. They mingled with guests in the new patio designed by Chicago architect Ernest Wong,  who also attended.

Nesbitt, a collector, chirped about the excitement that comes with Expo. Blanchard looked around at the location. “I love that it’s in our neighborhood,” she said.

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