Ten Works at FOG Design+Art That You Shouldn’t Miss

Alex Gilbert
Jan 13, 2014 9:58PM

In preparation for FOG Design+Art, I took the opportunity to pinpoint the best from a pool of both classic and cutting-edge design. Likewise, I asked specialist Haley Rose Cohen to highlight the fine art she’s most excited to see in person next week at Festival Pavilion. She chose mostly new works, three from big name artists—Yoshitomo Nara, Richard Serra, and Hiroshi Sugimoto. Next week, I’ll meet up with Artsy’s west coast team where we’ll gather first-hand knowledge of the burgeoning art and design scene in San Francisco.

My Picks:

Finn Juhl, Chieftain Chair, ca. 1989, at Converso NY 

In December 2013, an early production Chieftain Chair made market headlines when it sold for over $500,000 at Phillips, so no doubt this classic design by Danish master Finn Juhl will not go unnoticed at FOG. The chair borrows imagery from weaponry and received its name as a result of Denmark’s King Frederick IX sitting in it at the 1949 Cabinetmakers’ Guild show, for which it was originally designed.

Greta Magnusson Grossman, Task lamp, 1948-49, at R 20th Century Gallery  

This Swedish born architect moved to Los Angeles in 1940, applying her modernist practice to houses, furniture, and lighting that was included in the seminal “Good Design” exhibition at MoMA. Though her work was somewhat overlooked during her lifetime, posthumously Grossman has been celebrated for her role helping shape Postwar material culture along with other California based mid-century designers such as Charles and Ray Eames, Richard Neutra, and Rudolph Schindler.

Ron Arad, Drop, 2013, at Hedge

Hedge Gallery will present “In Reverse”, a solo booth exhibition of new work by Ron Arad, inspired by his love for the Fiat 500. First shown at Tel Aviv’s Arad-designed Holon Design Museum, three works will be on view including a free-standing crushed car, “Pressed Flower (Baby you Can)”, and a 3D printed wall sculpture, Drop. Ron Arad will be in conversation with Jennifer Dunlop Fletcher, Department Head of Architecture and Design at SFMOMA on Saturday January 18, from 1-2 pm at the fair. 

Ben Barreto, Wave, 2013, at Highlight Gallery

Ben Baretto’s vivid “weaves”, woven on a hand loom with bright, multi-colored ropes and cables, are made with materials sourced exclusively from the hardware store. The works highlight the presence of both technology and craft in contemporary art.

Lindsey Adelman, Totem Light, 2014, at The Future Perfect 

This is one of three unique pieces by Lindsey Adelman being exhibited for the first time by The Future Perfect. The scale is monumental and the hand-blown bulbs and shades by Nancy Callan are magnificent. Totem Light is completely innovative and yet manages to evoke the glamour and playfulness from both 1950s Italian design and Memphis-era Ettore Sottsass.

Haley’s Picks:

Yoshitomo Nara, When You Feel So Sad, 2012, at Blum & Poe 

Nara is a leading artist of Japan’s Neo-Pop movement and his portraits of adorable and angry children are at the top of my FOG list. In 2010, the Asia Society presented the first New York exhibition of his work in “Yoshitomo Nara: Nobody’s Fool,” and last May, his most recent body of work was first shown at Pace Gallery. Within this body of work, When You Feel So Sad is a bronze head of a sleeping girl atop a base comprised of a chalk-white painted step stool. 

Richard Serra, Paths and Edges #6, 2007, at John Berggruen Gallery

Richard Serra is arguably the most important sculptor of the second half of the 20th century. His current shows in two Gagosian Gallery locations in New York City, including his giant, room-filling ribbons of Corten steel, have garnered much attention for the artist lately. I’m drawn to Paths and Edges #6, which uses similar curvilinear patterning and routes that run beyond the frame; in a way, mimicking his iconic sculptures.

Liam Everett, Untitled (Montolieu), 2013, at Altman Siegel 

Liam Everett was on the SFMOMA SECA award shortlist in 2012 and received the Richard Diebenkorn Teaching Fellowship last year. The San Francisco-based painter is primarily concerned with what he refers to as the “hyper-present”. Visually, his works teeter between an ancient sensibility, like a fresco that has been worn away by time, and then a much more contemporary pre-worn digi-feeling. Fittingly so, the parenthetical title of this painting bears the name of a commune in the south of France, Montolieu, often referred to as “Village of Books.” 

James Collins, Untitled, 2013, at Jessica Silverman Gallery 

Jessica Silverman will present works for the first time at FOG by the Detroit-based painter James Collins. Collins won the Grand Prize for the West Michigan Area Show at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts in 2012. Chemistry and chance are motivating factors in Collins’s gestural paintings. He pushes and pulls pigments towards and away to give a sense of space with a monochromatic and graphic feel. 

Hiroshi Sugimoto, Lightning Fields 222, 2009, at Fraenkel Gallery  

Hiroshi Sugimoto is one of Japan’s most important contemporary artists. The series the artist executed of lightning strikes over the course of 2008 and 2009 were not only impressive, in seeing how he continues to push the medium of photography (a camera was not used), but also stunning explorations in the artist’s signature themes of preserving a memory. To create Lighting Fields 222, Sugimoto used a Van De Graaff 400,000-volt generator to place an electrical charge directly onto his film—thus recording the electrical current.

Explore FOG Design+Art on Artsy.

Alex Gilbert