Inside San Francisco’s FOG Design+Art Preview Gala

FOG Design+Art Fair Steering Committee: Catherine Topham, Roth Martin, Katie Paige, Douglas Durkin, Allison Speer and Stanlee R. Gatti
FOG Design+Art Fair Steering Committee: Catherine Topham, Roth Martin, Katie Paige, Douglas Durkin, Allison Speer and Stanlee R. Gatti

Photo Credit: Kelly E. Carter

You couldn’t turn around in the jam-packed San Francisco Design + Art Fair Preview Gala at the Fort Mason Center on Jan.13 without overhearing someone commenting about how far this event has come in its short three years. The gala, benefitting the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and sponsored by Neiman Marcus and Christie’s, offered patrons early access to the vast range of exquisite furniture, fire art and design from 43 dealers and galleries before the fair opened to the public yesterday. The fair runs through Jan. 17.

“It’s amazing that we’ve got the caliber of dealer from both the design and the art world here, which is a rarity that these things are mixed at a fair,” observed FOG Forum Chair Douglas Durkin, who simply glowed at the evening event. “The dealers seem happy about that. It’s re-energizing. And I think it’s a particular thing for San Francisco. I don’t know if this model is necessarily relevant or game-changing anywhere else. I just think iIt’s a model that is particularly well-suited to our environment in our city—and we’re excited about it.”

Celebrated designer Stanlee R. Gatti organized a spectacular black and white installation, 21Pop: Cut It Out, dedicated to “craft by hand.” The project celebrates the art and design of cut outs and features materials including bowls, leather, paper and aluminum. 21POP is generously presented by Penny and Jim Coulter, the Fisher Family, Gatti, Lisa and John Pritzker, Courtney Roberts-Preston and Steve Preston and Catherine and Ned Topham.

Gatti also came up with a clever way to pay homage to musician and artist David Bowie, who passed away on Jan. 10. A large piece of white fabric with the words “Bowie Forever” emblazoned in black became the haute spot for people to take photos.

“It takes someone to die to fully look at the whole of their work. [People] don’t know quite what he did,” Gatti said, referring to Bowie. “They don’t know that from 1967 how he revolutionized the way people dress, how he revolutionized the way people think about male and female, how he revolutionized the way people think about composing music and lyrics that work together to help society enhance itself and grow hopefully into better people. he was the ultimate expressionist —outside of the serious Joni Mitchells of the world. He affected a lot of things. It’s sad that he died at such a young age. The art world needs to honor Bowie because he did a lot of for everybody.”

The Steering Committee, which included Durkin, Gatti, Katie Paige, Roth Martin, Allison Speer and Catherine Topham, greeted the slew of luminaries who came out for the gala. Among those in attendance: honorary co-chairs Christine and Pierre Lamond, Penny and Jim Coulter, Helen and Chuck Schwab, Kate Harbin Clammer, Joachim and Nancy Hellman Bechtle, Charlotte Shultz, Willie Brown and Sonya Molodetskaya, Mimi Haas, Daniel Lurie and Becca Prowda, Trevor and Alexis Traina, Nion McEvoy and Leslie Berriman, Norah and Norman Stone, Komal Shah and Gaurav Garg, Pamela Joyner and Fred Giuffrida, Stephanie and Jim Marver, Karen Caldwell, Marybeth La Motte, Elaine Mellis, Mark and Alison Pincus, Alton Irby and Daru Kawalkowski, Dagmar Dolby, Jay Jeffers and Michael Purdy, Jane Mudge, Karen Kubin, Joy Venturini Bianchi, Vanessa and Billy Getty, Ken Fulk, Lorre Erlick, Jan and Maria Manetti Shrem, Mark and Susie Tompkins Buell, Alan Morrell, Robert Arnold Kraft, Sako Fisher, Stephanie and Will Harbin, Victoria Raiser, Michael and Lindsay Tusk and oodles of other VIPs and top-level sponsors.

Guests enjoyed the scrumptious culinary creations provided by McCalls and sipped the signature cocktail of the night, the Nebbia (Espolón Blanco Tequila, Aperol, Lemon, Agave, Espelete Pepper) by Campari America while perusing the designs. Also served: SKYY Vodka Basil Gimlet, Wild Turkey Old Fashioned and Negroni by Campari America. Internationally acclaimed DJ Jason Kendig provided just the right amount of entertainment.

Proceeds from the FOG Preview Gala support SFMOMA’s exhibitions and education programs. For more information on the fair, visit or call 415-551-5190.

If you’re planning on going this weekend, here’s what else you can enjoy in addition to the incredible designs from galleries in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Paris, London, Washington, D.C. and Mexico City:

In addition to assorted espresso drinks, coffee, tea, fresh juices and JANE’s signature Tumeric Tonic, Iced Matcha, and “Get Your Greens” Smoothie – an impressive array of pastries, sweets, and baked goods will be on offer. For the first time ever, JANE @ FOG will also be offering a rotating menu of salads, sandwiches, soups and housemade breads; along with cheese plates and other snacks especially for the fair.

Cotogna offers a full-service restaurant at FOG with a menu that showcases Chef Michael Tusk’s rustic Italian fare, including charcuterie and antipasti, soups and salads, sandwiches, fried chicken, and more. Additionally, Cotogna offers a number of take-away items for visitors on the go, as well as a full service bar with wine, beer, and cocktails.

An immersive environment conceived by Charles de Lisle with a site-specific installation by artist Jenny Sharaf.

Photo Credit: Drew Altizer Photography