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Paul Klein
Paul Klein has long been an art advocate and proponent for artists. In 2006 his long-term contributions were acknowledged by the Chicago Society of Artists when he was selected as their 2006 Man of the Year.

His desire to see artists empowered led him to create Klein Artist Works to demystify the art world, assist artists in a navigating their own path and to make introductions to enable artists to succeed on their terms.

He was the Managing Director of the Briddge Group, the premier Art Succession Planning Group in the country. 

For the past 7 years Klein has championed Chicago by writing and distributing ArtLetter, an online examination of art in Chicago. He previews exhibitions and encourages readers to broaden their horizons by embracing unexpected quality, new venues, dynamic artists and strong exhibitions.

Klein was the Art Consultant/Curator for the 2.3 million square foot expansion of McCormick Place West. It was his vision to use solely local artists at the new convention center, where all the content of the permanently installed art is Chicago and Illinois specific. 

Klein owned and operated Klein Art Works from 1981 to 2004. When he first opened in an unchartered neighborhood he established the area as a new art center. After his gallery was destroyed by fire in 1989, his pioneering move tin relocating led to the development of the another community. 

In over 20 years as a leading art gallery he established friendships with artists , curators, collectors and civic leaders. He has always participated in his community and is highly respected by artists since the days his numerous survey exhibitions first brought attention to broad and diverse segments of his art community. 

In recent years, because of his Chicago focus at McCormick Place and his plain-speaking ArtLetter he has become the go-to guy in the expanding Chicago art scene, advising artists and cultural institutions almost daily.

He lives in Chicago with his wife Amy Crum, and their children.

Entries by Paul Klein

Expo Chicago Surpasses Itself

(2) Comments | Posted September 16, 2015 | 8:45 PM

Expo Chicago 2015 at Navy Pier opens today, Thursday, September 17th, with a private reception--and to the public on Friday. It's really quite excellent. It's hard to maintain an upward trajectory. They've surpassed themselves again. Tony Karman and staff have a lot to be proud of.

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Expo Chicago Kicks... Off

(0) Comments | Posted September 17, 2014 | 6:58 PM

I went to Expo Chicago while all the galleries were setting up. It's one of the best art fairs I've seen -- and it wasn't even fully installed. The art is kick ass. Galleries have brought exemplary pieces. The layout is spacious and flowing. And there are a...

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Chicago's Fall Art Season Kicks Off

(0) Comments | Posted September 4, 2014 | 6:00 PM

It's good to be previewing exhibits again. Good people. Good art. Some galleries I can count on for consistent quality. Others cross the threshold intermittently. Art's like that. And it's subjective. You might, justifiably, have a very different response than I do. These exhibits open tonight and are free.


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Art and Venues

(0) Comments | Posted May 15, 2014 | 5:42 PM

Zolla/Lieberman is going to take a break. After their consummate Deborah Butterfield show, which opens tonight, closes sometime in September, the gallery will close for six months while their space is rehabbed and reconfigured. Faced with a significant rent increase, the gallery chose to contract, redefine their space,...

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Buoyant Frieze

(0) Comments | Posted May 9, 2014 | 12:49 PM

The Frieze Fair in New York City is a beautiful, controlled presentation in a luminous tent on an island just off Manhattan.


The art is top-notch, which means exclusive, blue-chip and expensive. What's nice about the show is that there's...

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Layers Show

(0) Comments | Posted April 4, 2014 | 12:20 PM

There are at least three strong shows opening tonight in Chicago.

At Zolla/Lieberman, artist, Susanne Doremus has curated a show of mostly abstract, mostly female painters, with stunning examples by Molly Zuckerman-Hartung, Michelle Grabner, and Judith Geitchman, among others, who gave jewels, and honor Doremus. For me, Zuckerman-Hartung's...

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O'Brien as Other

(0) Comments | Posted February 28, 2014 | 6:46 AM

The William J. O'Brien show at the Museum of Contemporary Art is full of contradictions. I vacillate between calling it a brilliant show and thinking the art is dumb, between seeing the work as sloppy, and that it elegantly fulfills its intent.

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Light On

(0) Comments | Posted January 24, 2014 | 8:28 AM

The Elmhurst Art Museum has hit its stride with Staci Boris guiding the curation and programing. The current exhibition, Spotlight, hosts a number of Chicago artists for whom light is the content and the medium of their art.



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The Miami Art Fairs, Part 2

(1) Comments | Posted December 5, 2013 | 9:15 PM

They're are several personal 'museums' created by private collectors in Miami. My first stop today was at the Rubell Family Collection. After seeing various exhibitions there over the years I've grown impressed with their vision, pursuit of new territory and advocacy fora broad array of artists on the rise. This...

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The Miami Art Fairs, Part 1

(0) Comments | Posted December 4, 2013 | 9:04 PM

I'm in Miami again, visiting the mother of art bordellos, Art Basel Miami Beach. There's room for every opinion about this show. I saw lots of beautiful, impressive art from the secondary market and plenty of significant art seen for the first time. And it's all expensive.

It's the money...

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Museum Quality Exhibits in 2 Chicago Galleries

(1) Comments | Posted October 24, 2013 | 10:51 PM

I didn't want to write an ArtLetter. It's work. I don't want to write so often about gallery exhibits. I want to cover institutions. I don't want to write about fewer than 3 galleries. Argh. I'm breaking all my own rules because the shows I just previewed are thoroughly impressive.

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Activist Collectors

(0) Comments | Posted October 17, 2013 | 10:56 PM

There are many remarkable things about the Diasporal Rhythms exhibition at the University of Chicago's Logan Center.


Diasporal Rhythms is a predominantly African-American group of art collectors, predominantly on the South Side of Chicago, who collect African-American Art....

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Expo Chicago Opens

(2) Comments | Posted September 18, 2013 | 10:33 PM

I had a blast previewing the art at Expo Chicago at Navy Pier) which opens tonight (Thursday) with a private reception, and to the public Friday, and continues through the weekend.

This is the second year of this wonderful mid-sized art fair, with substantial galleries bringing some A quality art...

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Chicago Galleries Open Fall Art Season Tonight

(1) Comments | Posted September 5, 2013 | 8:08 PM

After a few months of not particularly focusing on Chicago galleries there are quite a few noticeable changes. More galleries, more hybrids that are a melding of a gallery and something else, and more painting, which was never dead in the first place.

The most moving exhibit I saw was...

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The Art Rules?

(4) Comments | Posted July 18, 2013 | 6:54 PM

The art rules. At least it should. But it doesn't always. You'd think that galleries and museums would be constructed realizing the prime intent is to show off the art. That's why those structures exist. Or not.


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Chicago Art Seen

(0) Comments | Posted June 6, 2013 | 10:58 PM

I realized this week that, as of this year, I've been immersed in the art world for 40 years. I guess it's what keeps me young, on my toes, engaged and learning. And in the last few months I've learned the difference between an Art Dealer and a Gallerist. I...

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Chicago Art; Migration, Transformation, Absence, Presence & a Damn Good List

(0) Comments | Posted May 18, 2013 | 9:43 PM

There are perks to having a press pass; like getting to preview exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art with a small group, several curators, and the artist. Theaster Gates is a wonderfully intelligent artist, sensitive and fully capable of pushing paradigms across international borders. Homegrown Chicago, Gates...

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Really Good Art

(0) Comments | Posted April 18, 2013 | 10:46 AM

I've been waiting for the opening of Jun Kaneko's ceramic sculptures at Millennium Park. There are two powerful bodies of work on view. To the south are the dangos I've been familiar with, and exhibited, when I had a gallery. And on the north side of the park are the...

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Three Shows at the Art Institute

(10) Comments | Posted March 20, 2013 | 11:55 AM

Usually, when asked by artists what direction their art should take, I advise them to do what resonates -- to do what they believe in and to be who they are.


When it comes to museums, there are other issues. Museums' missions...

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Bend, Fold, & Mutilate at the MCA's 'Destroy the Picture'

(1) Comments | Posted February 20, 2013 | 8:47 PM

There's a new show that just opened at Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Art, curated by the legendary L.A. curator Paul Schimmel. Destroy the Picture: Painting the Void is an exhibit that looks at the global redirection of art immediately after World War II, which reinforces the notion that...

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