Fog Design + Art Fair Brings International Design Community To SF

The 2017 Fog Preview Gala
The 2017 Fog Preview Gala

Photo Credit: Devlin Shand for Drew Altizer Photography

Next week, Fort Mason will transform into a massive contemporary gallery for the fifth annual Fog Design + Art Fair. From Wednesday, January 10 to Sunday, January 14, 45 leading international galleries will open pop-ups inside Fort Mason. Prominent 20th-century and modern design dealers will mingle with interior insiders, tech titans, and art aficionados. It’s SF’s biggest art extravaganza of the season—and the gala opening event on Wednesday night is not to be missed. “Every year is exciting,” Susan Swig, one of the festival’s founders and steering committee members told Haute Living in a recent telephone conversation. “We have a couple of new galleries and the programming is hugely different this year. We’ve amplified that. During the week, what happens in San Francisco, as the result of Fog, is it becomes this incredible art week with people putting on parties and arts events.”

Mark Hagen's To be Titled
The type of art you’ll find at Fog? Pieces like Mark Hagen’s To be Titled.

Although it’s not on the international map in the way that Art Basel Miami is, Fog has developed a steady growing interest from the art community and this year promises to be the best and biggest fair yet. According to Swig, the hype that surrounds Fog is due to its intimacy. “It’s so well curated and because it’s small, you can wrap your arms around it. We’re limited by our real estate— which is on Fort Mason on one of the piers—so we can’t grow, so all we can do is better quality, not quantity.”

Pace Gallery's booth at Fog 2017
Pace Gallery’s booth at Fog 2017

Swig overseas the programming for the fair. It consists of four days of lectures, panels, and discussions featuring journalists like the New York Times’ Jori Finkel, curators such as the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco’s Claudia Schmuckli, artists, professors, gallery owners, doctors, and more. Two events that stand out are Thursday’s innovators luncheon honoring Alice Waters (which is sponsored by Fendi) and Saturday’s Eames presentation, an informal celebration of the innovative that includes Simon Andrews of Christie’s, the SFMOMA’s Jennifer Dunlop Fletcher, and Kristin Damrow, the artistic director of contemporary dance company, Kristin Damrow & Company.

A16's dining area at last year's fair
A16’s dining area at last year’s fair

Photo Credit: Drew Altizer Photography

Other highlights of Fog? Food and drink from two beloved SF restaurants, A16 and Jane, 21Pop, a surprise installation from Stanlee Gatti, and a tribute to Cathy Topham, a steering committee member who passed away last year. And of course, the furniture, artwork, artifacts, and more that will be on display from the chosen 45 exhibitors. Local favorites like Altman Siegel Gallery, Fraenkel Gallery, and Jessica Silverman Gallery will showcase alongside global giants like Gagosian and Pace.

Jessica Silverman at her booth at the 2017 fair
Jessica Silverman at her booth at the 2017 fair

Photo Credit: Drew Altizer Photography

In its essence, Fog is a festival that celebrates San Francisco and attempts to put it on the map in a thrilling new way. Swig notes that the community is aware of the difficulties that face young emerging artists, especially the insane cost of living in SF, and confirms that Fog is devoted to helping these artists thrive. “This is one of the things that I do, to really articulate and look at ways to improve the cultural vitality of San Francisco. I hope that it is being enriched,” Swig says. “Everybody is really committed to assuring that San Francisco continues to grow. Part of what makes San Francisco so wonderful is the color and the fabric of our arts community—whether it be visual or performance or musical or whatever. More and more people see it as a necessity to enrich this.”

Tickets for the Fog Art + Design Fair are now on sale.