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Preview: An Affair of the Art

By Anh-Minh Le

Photo courtesy of Fog Design+Art.
Photo courtesy of Fog Design+Art.

One of the City’s most anticipated cultural — and social — events is back on this month.

Fort Mason’s Festival Pavilion will soon buzz once more with dozens of contemporary art dealers, drawing serious collectors and casual enthusiasts alike. After last year’s pandemic pause, FOG Design+Art returns for its eighth edition, taking place Thursday, January 20, through Sunday, January 23. On the eve of the fair, the Preview Gala, which benefits the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s education and exhibition programs, promises a fun and philanthropic evening out with scrumptious fare and plenty of Instagram fodder to boot (thanks in part to the fashionable folks in attendance).

“Just mounting this fair in 2022 feels like a huge hurdle that we are crossing,” says Douglas Durkin, an interior designer and member of the FOG steering committee since day one. “So if we can present a wonderful experience, help give a sense of a return to normalcy, and provide cultural stimulation and joy, we will be happy.”

As in years past, guests will be greeted by 21POP, a shop curated by event designer and FOG steering committee member Stanlee Gatti, who intends to celebrate San Francisco’s Arion Press, publishers of limited-edition handprinted books. Also for 2022, Italian eatery A16 — which has locations in San Francisco and Oakland — will be handling the on-site restaurant and cafe.

The 44 exhibitors at the forthcoming FOG are a mix of established and emerging, returning and first-timers. According to Durkin, the organizers have “worked very hard to present a diverse perspective at FOG,” not only in the art and design on view, but also in the small and large dealers participating — some coming from as far as Mexico City, New York and London — and the wide-ranging talents they represent.

“I admire the fair’s commitment to highlight Bay Area spaces and juxtapose the local arts community with national and international programs,” says Rebecca Camacho, whose 3-year-old Lower Nob Hill gallery, Rebecca Camacho Presents, is making its FOG debut. “I think it confirms that San Francisco arts and culture are as vibrant and meaningful as other much larger cities.”

“Water Mix” is by painter and native San Franciscan Dewey Crumpler, who is represented by 2022 FOG exhibitor Jenkins Johnson Gallery
“Water Mix” is by painter and native San Franciscan Dewey Crumpler, who is represented by 2022 FOG exhibitor Jenkins Johnson Gallery. | Photo courtesy of Jenkins Johnson Gallery.

Camacho will feature new crocheted copper sculptures and reliefs by ektor garcia, whose works are “at the intersection of craft and fine art,” she says. In September, her gallery is launching an exhibition with the Mexican American artist. Although he has shown in New York, Germany, Mexico City and New Orleans, Camacho notes that “ektor’s work is still a relative introduction in the Bay Area. FOG gives us a fantastic platform to begin talking about his work in a much larger context.”

Indeed, the increased visibility and revenue that FOG generates can be significant. In 2020, when the fair was last held, among the reported sales were Jenny Holzer’s “THOUGHT” and Rashid Johnson’s “Untitled Escape Collage,” with both transactions made through Hauser & Wirth for $350,000 each. And Pace Gallery, which has an outpost in Palo Alto, fetched $48,000 each for three LED works by Leo Villareal (whose “The Bay Lights” installation on the Bay Bridge is a permanent fixture).

Dogpatch’s Altman Siegel has had a booth at the fair since its inception. This year, gallerist Claudia Altman-Siegel is highlighting Bay Area artist Koak, whom she describes as an “international sensation,” with a new large bronze sculpture. “The work is three larger-than-life cats that twist together,” Altman-Siegel elaborates. “I had a solo show of her work that was open for two weeks before the pandemic shut us down, and I am happy to be able to give her another high-profile local venue.”

In addition to browsing and buying works from galleries, special events and programming are on tap. On opening day, at the Innovators Luncheon, which fetes individuals who have made significant contributions in their fields, musician Linda Ronstadt will be honored (read more about her in this month’s Movers & Shakers, page 36). Past honorees include Brian Chesky, cofounder and CEO of Airbnb, and chef Alice Waters of Chez Panisse fame.

During FOG’s fourday run, fairgoers can also take in talks with subject matter ranging from murals (specifically, works by Diego Rivera and the nonprofit Paint the Void) to NFTs (moderated by Ethan Beard). Curator, writer and critic Natasha Boas will moderate a conversation with East Bay artists Woody De Othello and Masako Miki, while institutional leaders will discuss the future of the arts across the Bay Area.

Altman-Siegel — whose gallery opens its first solo show with painter and California College of the Arts alum Troy Lamarr Chew II this month — notes that FOG “was sorely missed last year. I think we all have a lot of built-up anticipation and are all very excited to be able to come together and celebrate again this year.”


FOG Design+Art

Festival Pavilion, Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture, San Francisco

Preview Gala:
January 19, 4–10 p.m. Tickets: from $175, with tiered entry.

Innovators Luncheon:
January 20, noon–1:30 p.m. Tickets: $300; $3,000 for a table.

Four-day Fair:
January 20–23. For more exhibitor and programming details, visit fog fair.com.

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