First Impressions of FOG Design+Art

In San Francisco’s dramatic Fort Mason—a former military base on the edge of the bay, facing the city’s iconic Golden Gate—collectors, gallerists, and art insiders arrived in droves last night for the opening night gala of FOG Design+Art, to benefit the currently itinerant SFMOMA. Memorable spectacles from the evening included Industry Gallery’s binary room, the furniture and walls of which were decked out in repurposed circuit boards, and a team of chefs handcrafting pasta at Stanlee Gatti’s installation “In the Kitchen” at 21POP. We asked five artists, gallerists, and curators to share their first impressions and highlights with us. 

Chris Fraser, artist

Why are you at FOG? 

“I’m here at FOG showing a couple of new works at Highlight Gallery’s booth, brought from my solo show that’s currently at the gallery.”

What standout works have you seen tonight? 

“What stands out is just how put together everything feels, and how considered each of the booths feels. There isn’t that lone, ad hoc gallery with the paintings of kittens! The design booths are beautiful, and they match so well with the art galleries, which are all showing really interesting work. This is one of those few times when I’m really proud to be in an art fair. I’m really excited about what Fraenkel Gallery is showing—the Sugimoto booth—it’s phenomenal in its scope and ambition. It’s almost a solo show there, whereas other galleries have chosen to curate from their rosters of artists. At Haines, the Ai WeiWei is amazing; the Leslie Shows is gorgeous, too.”

Mary Davidson, Maxwell Davidson Gallery

Why are you at FOG?

“We were a bit worried when we heard it was art and design, because art and design fairs can be catastrophic, but the organizers of this fair really knew what they were doing. There are some terrific galleries here, and the presentation is beautiful.”

What standout works have you seen tonight?

“We know John Berggruen terribly well, and Anthony Meier; I don’t know a lot of the design galleries, but the quality of work on view is very impressive.” 

Joseph Becker, Assistant Curator of Art and Design at SFMOMA

Why are you at FOG? 

“I’m the Assistant Curator of Art and Design at SFMOMA, and the opening night gala is benefitting the museum. We’re paying a lot of attention to what the galleries are bringing in the world of art and design, and keeping an eye out for very special things for the museum’s art and design collections. We were also given the opportunity to present the work of a Swiss artist and designer, Jurg Lehni; he created a project called Hektor about twelve years ago, which is a drawing machine that carries a can of spray paint across a wall and draws what the computer tells it to draw. In the slippage between the digital and the analog you get these wobbles, different layers that abstract the perfectly pure vector-based artwork in the computer. He’s doing a series of posters with circle designs and over the course of the next few days he’ll be using the machine to create these drawings.”

What standout works have seen tonight? 

“There are really great booths here showing incredible California art and design; California wood furniture at Reform Gallery; incredible experimental architecture at Edward Cella Gallery; and beautiful photographs at Fraenkel Gallery.”

Edward Cella, Founder and Director of Edward Cella Art+Architecture

Why are you at FOG? 

“I’m based in Los Angeles and a native Californian, and we have a big collector base in the San Francisco region. Being at FOG gives me the opportunity to present a very specific vision of what we do that a normal fair doesn’t allow me to do—to present 20th century architecture, furniture, and design alongside art.” 

What standout works have you seen tonight? 

“I’m excited to see Cristina Grajales here; I think this is her first time on the West Coast. She has an enormous, prodigious eye for looking at the most beautiful craftsmanship, and she encourages artists and artisans who make things in a sort of traditional way but through a contemporary lens. The works she shows are always exquisite. Wendell Castle, also showing at FOG, makes extraordinary pieces of furniture.”

The Haas Brothers, artists

Why are you at FOG?

Nicky Haas: “We’re here at FOG, up from Los Angeles, because we’re showing our work at R 20th Century.”

What standout works have you seen tonight?

Nicky Haas: “I really like all of the metal work that I see here. There’s a really great piece at Alma Allen, and David Wiseman’s piece here at R 20th, mixing white and gold bronze, is awesome.”

Simon Haas: “I don’t usually like tech-related art, but I really like the spray-can printer by Jurg Lehni (programmed by SFMOMA). I like that it doesn’t focus on the technical aspects so much as the resulting image. I also always love seeing SEOMI’s booths; they brought a Portuguese artist, who did a really beautiful soft wall hanging.” 

Explore FOG Design+Art on Artsy.

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