Fog Fair Brings the Art World to San Francisco

By Katie Sweeney

Marian Goodman Gallery. William Kentridge, Paragraph II, 2018; 23 bronze sculptures and three powder-coated steel shelves; 32½ × 65 × 6 in. (82.5 × 165.1 × 15.2 cm) (overall); Edition of 9 plus 3 artist’s proofs

Galleries from all over the globe will descend upon Fort Mason for the seventh annual extravaganza.

For San Francisco’s social set, detoxing the entire month of January is out of the question. Fog Fair, a contemporary art show, takes place January 16 to 19, and its preview gala on Wednesday, January 15, is not to be missed.

“The Fog gala is one of the most fun social events of the year,” says Sonya Yu. She is the newest member of Fog’s steering committee, an elite group of seven individuals — including Douglas Durkin, Stanlee Gatti, Roth Martin, Katie Paige, Allison Speer and Susan Swig— who are responsible for the fair. The preview party benefits SFMOMA and features a delicious lineup of food and design-centric cocktails.

“Everyone wears fantastic outfits and comes out to support our local art scene and to celebrate how San Francisco has become an international destination for the arts,” Yu says. “I’m excited to see this year’s fantastic group of dealers and to welcome our community to experience the fair.”

Forty-eight galleries are participating in the fair; six are first-timers at the event. The new galleries include London’s Gallery Fumi; New York’s Lehmann Maupin, Nathalie Karg Gallery, and Tina Kim Gallery; Rio de Janeiro’s Mercado Moderno, and local favorite Jenkins Johnson Gallery. Also new this year? A redesign. “We have worked on a rebrand for Fog and one of my goals has been to help get that new brand articulated and out into the world,” Yu explains. “Visitors will see that the visual aesthetic of Fog matches the creative spirit of the fair.

Anton Kern. Francis Upritchard, Desert Hippie, 2018; steel and foil armature, modeling material, fabric, clay beads, enamel, paint, hair; 22.83 × 20.87 × 16.93 inches (58 × 53 × 43 cm)

Besides the chance to mingle with gallerists and see incredible art up close and personal, the fair offers attendees a series of special events and panel discussions. Thursday’s innovators luncheon honors Airbnb founder Brian Chesky in conversation with Ron Conway. On Friday, the interplay between design, art and food will be explored in a panel with chef Corey Lee (of Benu), artist Rosana Castrillo Diaz and shop owner Sam Hamilton (of March). Other intriguing topics include the role of 3D printing in housing communities, and urbanism’s relationships with architecture.

One of the great things about the fair is that it’s forced the international art world to take San Francisco seriously.

“Fog has helped to change the art world landscape in San Francisco,” Yu says. “It has created an art week that has inspired other fairs, like Untitled, to set up shop in San Francisco, and has encouraged collectors, curators and museum directors to visit the city. The local galleries and arts organizations have responded by putting tremendous effort into mounting thoughtful and impressive exhibitions that coincide with the fair.

The buzz inside Fort Mason is always palpable and contagious. Unlike other major art destinations, the Bay Area is a welcoming community and an ideal starting point to meet artists, dealers and collectors. As Yu puts it, “It’s small enough that it’s easy to get to know people well, and everyone is always excited to help introduce [new collectors] to great artists and gallerists. It’s a warm and helpful community of people who care deeply about both the artists working here and the City itself. Fog is a pivotal moment for the art world in San Francisco.”

January 16: FOG Design+Art Fair comes to Fort Mason Center, featuring 48 cutting-edge galleries and dealers from around the world, as well as must-see installations and stimulating programs. Runs through January 19. NHG Sponsored.

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