MMPI Cancels Chicago International Antiques and Fine Art Fair in April

January 2, 2014

Two antiques and arts shows were headed for a showdown the same April weekend in Chicago, but Merchandise Mart Properties Inc. decided to cancel its Chicago International Antiques and Fine Art Fair.

The other show – Palm Beach Show Group’s Chicago International Art, Antique and Jewelry Show – will be held April 24-28 at Navy Pier.

A spokesperson for MMPI confirmed their show would not be held this April.

“It's a fractured market and we thought it was best to hold off and see what happens in 2014 and what demand might be in the future,” said Vice President of Marketing for Merchandise Mart's trade and consumer shows Lisa Simonian in local press reports.

Palm Beach Show Group has antiques and fine arts shows in several other cities, including Los Angeles, Dallas, Baltimore, New York, Palm Beach, Fla., and Naples, Fla.

Scott Diament, who heads the Palm Beach-based company, said Chicago was a perfect location to launch a new show.

“It has a long history of collecting Art and Antiques, and it has some of the best architecture and design in the world,” he added.

Diament said, “Navy Pier is an incredible location for a consumer show, also Chicago is the No. 3 market in the U.S. behind N.Y. and L.A., where we are also represented.”

Palm Beach Show Group had, in fact, offered to buy MMPI’s Chicago International Antiques and Fine Art Fair.

“They turned us down,” Diament said. “Once we launched, I did not think they would hold one.” He added that now the focus in Chicago would be on his company’s event.

In April of last year, Laurette Lutiger, head of sales for the Mart's antiques fair, was hired as show director for the Palm Beach Show Group’s new show.

Diament said the show has a lot in store, such as a bevy of international exhibitors, valet parking, great dates for Chicago, an interior design showcase and much more.

The Women's Board of the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago will host the opening night champagne reception at which attendees will have the opportunity to preview the art and antiques.

“There is a remarkable legacy for trade shows and art fairs that began at Navy Pier,” Lutiger said. “In recent years, Chicago has established itself as a leading arts and cultural city in the Midwest and represents collectors of every age and level of interest who have been waiting for a show of this caliber to emerge.”

In the first year, 150 exhibitors and 20,000 attendees are expected, Diament said.

The Palm Beach Show Group has plans to continue to launch and acquire new shows in the future, he added.

In its most recent acquisition, the company acquired Manhattan Media’s Avenue Show, held at the Armory in New York City and focused on antiques, art and design.

The Chicago International Antiques and Fine Art Fair isn't the first high-end arts show canceled by MMPI. In 2012, the company scrapped its Art Chicago event saying that it would be focusing its efforts on the coasts where the art markets were more active.

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