COMPANY views from San Francisco Art Fairs

COMPANY views from San Francisco Art Fairs

(May  31, 2011) San Francisco recently hosted three art fairs – SF Fine Art Fair (Fort Mason), artMRKT (Concourse Exhibition Center), and ArtPadSF (Phoenix Hotel) – each of which had their own flavor.

SF Fine Art Fair was the most straight-edged and formal.  The Blue Bottle Coffee stand at the front of the SF Fine Art Fair was an indicator that this was a high-class event. This fair featured a more photographs than the other two, and included a diverse spectrum of galleries from around the country.

San Francisco galleries dominated at artMRKT, with some showstopping pieces familiar to regulars on the town's art circuit.

"I think the fact that this is so heavily supported by locals," said Trish Bransten, president of the San Francisco Art Dealers Association, which supported all three fairs, looking at a surging Friday night crowd at artMRKT, "reminds San Franciscans that there's a strong commercial and noncommercial artistic scene." The weekend was so successful, she said, that future fairs may be less local. This year, "there's an incredible camaraderie and collegiality."

ArtPadSF was definitely the edgiest of the three, boasting a blowout opening on Thursday followed by three days of live poolside music, panel discussions and performance art at the trendy Phoenix hotel.  The crowd consisted of uber-hip gallery owners, local cultural legends, recent art school grads, critics and art lovers, making for an exciting contemporary atmosphere.  The guest rooms at the Phoenix had been cleared of all furniture (the beds were in U-Hauls down the street, said Conley) and turned into mini-galleries, each of which had a party atmosphere.  A few had beds remaining, which visitors were free to lounge in while viewing video art.  Dorka Keehn jumped on the roof, turned on a projector and started a show of videos projected 50 by 50 feet, on the side of a building down the block. Guests hung over the rails of the motel's walkway or gathered in the garden looking up.  At William Moreno's space, a set of photographs was particularly relevant: Andy Freeberg's three shots of reception areas of galleries in New York's Chelsea district. Each featured a stark white desk with nothing on it, the prototype of foreboding artier-than-thou inhospitality. It was exactly what ArtPadSF wasn't about.

Altogether the fairs made for a highly successful weekend, putting San Francisco on the map of hot art fair cities - keep an eye out for this event next year.

Here are some selected works from all three fairs

Ian Ingram

Mixed media, lots of charcoal.  These works are huge, about 8x10 feet.

Sean Cheetham


Cesar Galicia


Martin Spei

SF Fine Art

Martin does many humorous, yet knowing, bronze sculptures of “the working man.”

Felandus Thames



Jamie Vasta


Jamie uses her own friends to act out some of Caravaggio’s most celebrated paintings and documents them in craft glitter in a most exceptional manner.  That's right - this is pure glitter.

Margaret Bouland


Read more here and here, also here.

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