Festival Pavilion at Fort Mason Center was HQ for the 10th Fog Design+Art fair, but its atmospheric tendrils enveloped venues across San Francisco during this unofficial art week last month — from swanky dinners at Mr. Jiu’s to Dogpatch, where the galleries at Minnesota Street Project hosted pre-parties.
The January 18 Fog preview fete benefited the exhibition and education programs of SFMOMA. And 2,000 collectors, artists, gallerists, philanthropists, museum poobahs and looky-loos clamored to shop among 48 international dealers … and savor the McCalls cocktail fare.
“Often we travel to New York, Basel or Miami for these fairs. Yet all the major galleries that dominate the circuit worldwide elect to descend in San Francisco,” enthused new SFMOMA director ChristopherBedford. “It’s a meaningful expression of faith in what Fog has become: experiencing a shared space with our collectors that’s very magical.”
Led by Fog Steering Committee members StanleeGatti, Katie Schwab Paige, DouglasDurkin, SusanSwig and Sarah Wendell Sherrill — with honorary chairs and art patrons Gaurav Garg and Komal Shah — the gala was jumping. Even actor OwenWilson was on hand, keeping it low-key in a baseball cap: “I love this city and really wanted to experience Fog firsthand,” he shared with the Gazette.
This year, fans missed Gatti’s whimsical 21Pop pavilion that highlights local creators. Instead, guests were greeted by “The Conversation,” a colorful furniture installation by artist JennySharaf. Her witty take on VIP seating also featured caviar bumps with vodka shots.
The ensuing four-day fair also starred a stellar panel of artful conversations — including Fuseproject CEO YvesBéhar, as well as artists TrevorPaglen and SadieBarnette — expertly corralled by Swig. Panelist MikeHenderson not only enjoyed the concurrent opening of his Chicken Fingers exhibition at Haines Gallery, just steps away at Fort Mason, but he also played a Fog blues set with his band, Cabin Fever.
Other fair stalwarts were gourmet cantinas by Jane Cafe and A16. And Park Life celebrated its annual Fog pop-up: “This allows access to people who don’t make it to Clement Street to experience our unique artist editions,” noted co-owner JamieAlexander. But his colleague, DerekSong, joked: “I’m just here for the great cocktails, food and people-watching.”
Yet there was serious shopping, too: Hauser & Wirth sold a major PatSteir work ($850K); Gladstone Gallery garnered big bucks for two RobertBechtle paintings ($110K and $100K) and, right off the bat in the Jessica Silverman Gallery, there was a conspicuous red sticker on “Rearrangeable Rainbow Blocks,” by JudyChicago. Expect to see that $500K sculpture on display soon at, ahem, a local institution.
“Fog has become a venerated event: People set their calendars around it. It provides one-stop shopping for art and design under one roof,” noted designer Durkin. “Point-and-click is one way to form a collection. But art’s physicality is not well served by the internet. Engaging with dealers, artists and objects at Fog is a vibrant and visceral experience.” ￼
Catherine is the Chief Social & Cultural Correspondent