Mart kills Art Chicago

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Is there a white flag waving over the Merchandise Mart? Yesterday the Mart abruptly and briefly posted an announcement that Art Chicago (or Next Art Chicago, as they were calling it), scheduled for April 27-29, has been canceled, forever.

After stepping up to save the storied show when Tom Blackman's 2006 edition tanked before opening, and struggling with it ever since, the Mart says it's done with the art fair business in Chicago. So the latest (could it be the last?) round in the city's art fair wars has been won without a full-blown face-off: the other show, Tony Karman's ambitious Expo Chicago will reign at the Pier, in September.

Here's the saddest part of the Mart's explanation:
"While Chicago is home to a thriving arts community, including galleries, world-class museums, theaters, arts-related organizations, along with thousands of art enthusiasts, it is our conclusion that the great majority of the art fair market in the United States has gravitated toward the coasts. This is where MMPI will be reallocating its considerable resources."

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