Five years ago, Stanlee Gatti realized one of his dreams. The event planner extraordinaire had always hoped that San Francisco would have its very own contemporary design fair. Luckily, the time was right and with the SFMOMA gearing up for a three-year closure and expansion, Gatti was able to partner with the late Elaine McKeon to ensure that the museum would be the beneficiary of the fair’s inaugural opening night gala. Gatti chose six people to join him in planning the weekend-long Fog Design + Art Fair. Along with Gatti, the steering committee consists of Douglas Durkin, Roth Martin, Katie Paige, Allison Speer, Susan Swig, and Cathy Topham. It was Martin who came up with the name. “Roth Martin put forward the name,” Durkin recently told Haute Living by email. “There was no debate! A simple three letter word that linked to San Francisco so appropriately. . . Add Design + Art and we were off to the races. It was as simple as that.”
Now in it’s fourth year, the Fog Design + Art Fair takes place next week at Fort Mason, with a gala opening event on Wednesday, January 11 and the fair running the 12-15. According to Swig, “this year’s slate of galleries is better than ever.” 45 leading international art galleries and prominent 20th century and contemporary design dealers will be showcased at the fair. “It was a highly competitive process to be accepted into the fair this year,” Swig explains. “We asked each gallery/dealer to provide us with an idea of what their program would be as to make sure that we would have fresh work and exciting presentations. We are striving to have a balance and good dialogue between design and art at the fair because this sets us apart from many other art fairs that happen.” Durkin points out that this year there is a geographic broadening of the dealer list. “It is important to mention that we now have dealers presenting from the Bay Area, New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, as well as London,” he says. “On the design side, new dealers include Carpenters Workshop Gallery of London, Volume Gallery and Casati Gallery of Chicago, and Chamber of New York. On the art side, Levy Gorvy, Gagosian, Paula Cooper, and Gavin Brown Enterprises all of New York are all new to the fair.” Stanlee Gatti’s exhibition, 21 POP, has a theme of flowers and the installation is expected to be sensational. A16 will operate a pop-up and Jane is hosting a coffee lounge and espresso bar, so art lovers won’t go hungry or thirsty.
Other highlights of the fair include a half-day forum focusing on the current state of collaborations between public art museums and private collectors as well as special programs and features. “I’m thrilled about the array of exciting programming and speakers that we have lined up this year,” Swig says. “Architect (and newly knighted) Sir David Adjaye is accepting our Innovator Award. Other speakers scheduled throughout the fair include both artists and designers and notables in the art world. To name a few: Sterling Ruby, Trevor Paglen, Zio Ziegler, Tomas Saraceno, Lonneke Gordjin and Ralph Nauta from Studio Drift, Ron Rael from Emerging Objects and designer Susan Kare who created many an icon for Apple and now is a lead product designer at Pinterest. Christies is presenting a film with a panel discussion, the Curran Theater is doing a presentation called ‘designing for the Stage’, and The San Jose Museum of Art is presenting a panel about their show on view in San Jose now called ‘A Conversation on Beauty – Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial.’ ”
This dizzying array of activity proves one thing: San Francisco has become an significant and influential player on the international art and design scene. “The SF Art World is burgeoning,” says Swig. “The art energy is palpable—and having an art fair the caliber of FOG is not only an attractor but a great instigator too.” Durkin adds, “the SF art scene is alive, well, and vibrant. I have immense hope that this moment is a marker of greater things to come. Museums, galleries, performance based organizations, and gatherings like FOG present opportunities for communities to come together and experience the arts and the benefits to ones spirit that can come alive with this engagement. I believe our Bay Area culture is very much alive and thriving.”
Get tickets for the not-to-be-missed Fog fair now.