Christopher Wool, Stealth Curator, Organized Corbett vs. Dempsey’s Booth at Expo Chicago

Punchy word painter Christopher Wool has been quietly cultivating a part-time side gig as a curator. His latest curatorial effort? The booth of local gallery Corbett vs. Dempsey at Expo Chicago. The eclectic, salon-style display includes work by 40 artists ranging from the established (Mark Flood, Richard Artschwager, Sue Williams) to the up-and-coming (Richard Hell, Margot Bergman, Jimmy Wright, Don Van Vliet) and the quirky (filmmaker Harmony Korine, a friend of Wool’s). The eclectic display bears a characteristically cryptic, Wool-ian title: “Dedicated to You/ But You Weren’t Listening.”

Neither the booth nor the brochure make reference to the artist’s involvement. “He prefers to curate quietly,” co-owner Jim Dempsey, who worked with Wool on the display, told ARTINFO. To create the exhibition, Wool and Dempsey borrowed more than seven works from other galleries including 303 and Eleven Rivington. The artist was particularly interested in curating a booth at Expo because, as Dempsey explained, “he grew up in Chicago — his mom and dad are still here.”

This isn’t the first show Wool has stealthily helped put together. This summer, he co-organized the group exhibition “Mix/Remix” at Luhring Augustine, according to Dempsey. Both the New York and Chicago exhibitions include work by Rita Ackermann, Albert Oehlen, Joyce Pensato, Dieter Roth, Josh Smith, and Wool himself.

Even without the star power made explicit, the booth is a hit — it’s one of the most consistently crowded areas of the fair. By day two, Corbett vs. Dempsey had already sold seven pieces, including an ink and pencil drawing with a square cutout by Roth for $28,000.

Julia Halperin