To many in Chicago, Billy Hork was the go-to guy for art. He opened his first gallery on Oak Street in 1972, selling everything from Calder lithographs and Nierman paintings to inexpensive framed museum reproductions, and bringing art to folks who otherwise might have empty walls- people who never thought they could afford art for their homes. At the same time, he made a point of educating countless clients about art techniques and the artists whose works he sold, while striving to make art buying a fun event for his customers.
Throughout the next decades Billy expanded his gallery network, at one point having as many as 5 locations. Simultaneously he became involved in publishing, printing Robert Natkin posters, distributing the popular mixed media paintings of Dan Lencioni and Frank Rowland in the 1980s and 1990s, and later working with Chicago’s Zhou Brothers on a series of giclees.
More recently Billy concentrated most on retail sales in his flagship gallery on Clark Street, always utilizing his great sense of what artists and paintings would most please his clientele, and consistently displaying them beautifully framed and ready for hanging.
Billy’s sudden death on November 18 is a loss to the art community. He leaves his wife, Monica, and two sons.