From left: Ritsue Mishima's glass sculpture titled *SKYLIGHT* (2019) and Woody De Othello's *Mussed* (2018).
Photo: Courtesy of the artist and Luhring Augustine; Courtesy of the artist, Karma, New York, and Jessica Silverman Gallery, San Francisco

8 Fascinating Finds from the FOG Design+Art Fair in San Francisco

Northern California’s leading art and design fair returns with its strongest program to date

The booming tech industry has yielded a crop of new collectors who favor younger new-media artists, as well as those bridging utilitarian design with sculptural aesthetics. Operating in San Francisco, less than an hour from Silicon Valley, FOG Design+Art fair capitalizes on the rising interest in art and design collecting across Northern California with its seventh edition, which opens at Fort Mason Art and Culture Center on January 16 for a four-day run.

Known for a roster that combines Chelsea’s heavy-hitters with established and emerging West Coast galleries, the fair offers a “who’s who” of the art market in an unassuming Bay Area ambience; however, FOG 2020 does not leave its offerings to chance, cementing its programming with a growing exhibitor base, which totals this year to 48, as well as fundraising efforts, such as Innovators Luncheon and ArtBites, which support the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA).

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Speaking to Galerie, FOG Steering Committee Member and Head of Programming, Susan Swig noted: “We offer what is likely our best lineup of programming to date—all free with admission to the fair, featuring talks with artists, curators, influencers, architects, designers and collectors, in addition to welcoming six new galleries, including Mercado Moderno, a design gallery based in Brazil.” The visitors can choose from ten talks scheduled over the course of the fair, such as a conversation between artist Andrea Bowers, SFMOMA Senior Curator Gary Garrels, activist collector Komal Shah, and ARTnews editor-in-chief Sarah Douglas about equal representation for women in museum and private collections. Other keynote speakers include contemporary artists Rashaad Newsome, Simon Denny, Cheryl Derricotte, and Adia Millet.

Read Galerie’s picks from the seventh edition of FOG Art + Design below.

Ritsue Mishima, SKYLIGHT, 2019. Photo: Courtesy of the artist and Luhring Augustine

1. Luhring Augustine

In its third year in the fair, Chelsea fixture Luhring Augustine’s booth stands out with blown-glass sculptures by Japanese artist Ritsue Mishima, whom the gallery had given a New York debut last fall with an exhibition entitled “Lumina.” Using traditional Western glassmaking techniques as a starting point, Mishima illustrates light-based forms across the transparency of her medium, which inherently conveys resilience and tenderness. The gallery is also showing watercolors by Brazilian artist Lucia Nogueira, who will be included in the inaugural exhibition for the gallery’s Tribeca space later this year.

Kazunori Hamana, Untitled, 2019. Photo: Makenzie Goodman, Courtesy of the artist and Blum & Poe, Los Angeles/New York/Tokyo

2. Blum & Poe

A West Coast blue-chip gallery with a New York outpost, Blum & Poe also reserves its booth for a Japanese artist who borrows cues from craft and utilitarian objects. Kazunori Hamana, who worked at a vintage clothing store before starting to make clay sculptures, grabbed the attention of art-world superstar Takashi Murakami, who had included him in a 2016 group exhibition at Blum & Poe’s Upper East Side location. Working from a studio in Chiba, Japan, Hamana creates jars that are traditionally named tsubo. The artist’s instinctive approach to his subjects result in distinctly-shaped, meditative sculptures that are humble in their visual presence yet visually arresting thanks to his meticulous glazing process.

Mcarthur Binion, DNA:Study, 2019. Photo: Courtesy the artist and Lehmann Maupin, New York, Hong Kong, and Seoul

3. Lehmann Maupin

One of this year’s newcomers is East Coast powerhouse Lehmann Maupin, whose global influence extends all the way to Hong Kong. Doing justice to its inaugural presentation, the gallery curates a selection from their star-studded roster, including McArthur Binion, Lee Bul, Teresita Fernández, Nicholas Hlobo, Helen Pashgian, and Nari Ward. The artists’ vast uses of mediums span Binion’s neatly-crafted oil paintings to Nicholas Hlobo’s skin-like soldered serpentine images with wire-on-cotton canvas. “Teresita Fernández is a great example of an artist who has been championed by San Fransisco over the years, including a major site-specific public commission at the Park Tower at Transbay last year,” partner Jessica Kreps tells Galerie. 

A moon jar by artist Minsoo Kang. Photo: Courtesy of the artist and Tina Kim Gallery

4. Tina Kim Gallery

Speaking to the growing popularity of ceramics in contemporary art and design circles, Tina Kim Gallery pairs works by master ceramicist Minsoo Kang with those from historic Postwar Dansaekhwa artists Lee Ufan, Park Seo-Bo, Kim Yong-Ik, Ha Chong-Hyun, Kim Tschang-Yeul, and Kwon Young-Woo. After introducing Kang’s masterfully-formed moon jars to the U.S. in an exhibition at Manhattan design firm Vintage20 last fall, Kim has underlined the jars’ symbolic and functional values in Korean history by working with the firm owned by her husband, Jae Chung. “These ceramics are a testament to the simple, beautiful techniques that come from Korea, and as a contemporary artist, Kang is responsible for furthering this tradition,” Kim tells Galerie. “These works correspond with a selection of Postwar paintings by contemporary Korean masters, exploring a complex dialogue between design and art.”

Woody De Othello, Mussed, 2018. Photo: Courtesy of the artist, Karma, New York, and Jessica Silverman Gallery, San Francisco

5. Karma

The unstoppable rise of ceramics continues at East Village tastemaker Karma’s booth, where a star of the recent Art Basel Miami Beach, Woody de Othello, shows his flamboyant sculpture, Mussed (2018), a modestly scaled piece in comparison to his usual renditions of oozing telephones, typewriters, and air conditioners. Othello won hearts with his large-scale ceramic sculptures of mundane objects radiating with bright colors and fluid forms at Art Basel’s Meridians section, where he had showed with San Fransisco’s own Jessica Silverman Gallery. Now, he continues his star-making gesture at the West Coast fair with this small metallic-hued biomorphic form that poses in an eerily erotic manner.

César, Sein, 1966 (cast in 2019), bronze. Photo: Courtesy of Demisch Danant / Luxembourg & Dayan

6. Luxembourg & Dayan and Demisch Danant

Two of New York’s most influential galleries, Luxembourg & Dayan and Demisch Danant, join forces for a booth that promises a museum-quality display, placing the legacy of late 20th century French sculptor and Nouveau Réalisme pioneer César in conversation with works by a suite of artists and designers whom both galleries have represented. Sein, César’s 1966 bronze sculpture of a female dancer’s breast, serves as a visual and conceptual inspiration for works on display by Sheila Hicks and Jos Devriendt, two artists who had successful exhibitions at Demisch Danant in recent years, as well as Derrick Adams and Piotr Uklański, whose solo exhibitions took over Luxembourg & Dayan’s Upper East Side townhouse location with ambitious shows last year.

Jean-Michel Othoniel, Amant suspend Gris, 2019. Photo: Claire Dorn, Courtesy of the artist and Perrotin

7. Perrotin

Glass is also celebrated at Perrotin’s booth with Jean-Michel Othoniel, the French sculptor known mastery of the medium in various scales, from colossal to intimate. In addition to works by Takashi Murakami, Sophie Calle, Leslie Hewitt, JR, Bharti Kher, and Xu Zhen, the gallery presents a pair of Othoniel’s suspended sculptures as well as paintings he created with inspiration from his circular glass form. However, celebration of Othoniel’s work in San Fransisco extends outside of the Fort Mason Festival Pavilion, with a large-scale installation at the Conservatory of Flowers, entitled La Rose des Vents. “I am continually inspired by his magical ability to transform our environment,” Perrotin’s principal partner, Peggy Leboeuf, tells Galerie, adding: “His Conservatory installation is less than 20 minutes from the fair, and it’s an absolute must for anyone who wants a quiet moment!”

Terry Adkins, Vocalian (from Towering Steep), 2000. Photo: Elisabeth Bernstein, Courtesy of the artist and Lévy Gorvy

8. Lévy Gorvy

Another Upper East Side staple, Lévy Gorvy dedicates its entire booth to influential late American artist Terry Adkins (1953–2014), whose 2018 exhibition at the gallery had presented a mini retrospective of his multidisciplinary practice. The gallery furthers their commitment to contextualize the artist’s distinct use of materials and visual codes with an orchestration that includes three-dimensional pieces as well as works on paper, prior to “Terry Adkins: Resounding” which opens at the Pulitzer Arts Foundation in St. Louis later this year. Vocalian (from Towering Steep) from 2000 is a gramophone-like form, for which Adkins placed a large aluminum cone form atop another curled aluminum stand in earth tone, paying homage to Adkins’s deep interest in jazz music as a source of inspiration and empowerment.

FOG Design + Art is open from January 16–19, 2020 at the Fort Mason Art and Culture Center. 

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