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San Francisco’s Fine Art Fairs a welcome art overload!

A quick note on Thursday’s previews of the extraordinary trio of San Francisco’s art fairs:  Go!   We visited two last night and were not efficient art consumers in that we never made it to the third but saw it as it closed, packed as the others were—what a dazzling triad!  SF Fine Art Fair in its second year at Fort Mason was exciting and successful, in spite of the breakaway of some of SF’s most significant galleries to crate ArtMRKT San Francisco, now at the concourse at 7th and Brannan in SOMA, and of the surprising genesis of ArtPad at the Phoenix Hotel in the Tenderloin.

Me and Manuel, BFF

The Fine Art Fair succeeded in attracting important galleries from the US and a small international contingent which, if this year’s event is successful, will undoubtedly magnetize and even larger showing from abroad in future years.  The buzz was exhilarating from the delightful “Maypole” at the entry, vivid scarlet ropes lit to enchant; to the network of 70 exhibitors showing works in all media, with live painting and performances serving as the punctuation.  We intended to stay for an hour and move on but alas lost track of time among new works from Brazil, giant ceramics from Russia, African art, New York galleries showing rarely seen Stanton M. Wright and Marsden Harley; Guy Dill sculptures dotted about like jewels. Local artists were represented—-the ones I noticed in this fast visit were the unmistakable Stan Welsh heads surrounded the seating area, Jack Zajac bronzes prominently displayed, a wall of Sara Friedlander multimedia works and another of Ursula O’Farrell’s paintings.   It’s a feast!

       Stan Welsh head overlooking the proceedings: Why the long face?

Expecting it to be the smallest of the events, we went next to the Tenderloin hotel, Phoenix in the edgy part of Eddy St.  What a lark!  What a concept!  The 30 mostly up-and-coming US galleries here show the hipper younger cooler edge of the artworld in two stories of hotel rooms surrounding the huge swimming pool area, all fed by a hopping restaurant bar and club lounge, DJ music swimming through the atmosphere while videos projected from the Phoenix appeared gigantically on the side of a tall building across the street.  The preview event was a fundraiser for the Black Rock Arts Foundation; the audience wore some enchanting Burning Man regalia and young woman and men in tall platform shoes and taller headgear tilted across the landscaped pool area, tripping on the inset grass strips.

Black Rock in the Tenderloin 

Tonight (Friday) at 8pm a peculiar international contingent from the Monterey Bay will be meeting at the ArtPad to see videos by Diana Hobson and Cheryl Calieri projected to building size.  Join us!

We only had time to see the ArtMRKT in its closing moments—it’ll be my first destination today. 

Besides the fun, the images, the extraordinary contrast in venues within a short SF distance from each other (a distance closed by shuttle services between the fairs), the fun indistinctions between the poseurs and truly posh, this is such an opportunity to see a hugely diverse representation of mostly contemporary art from around the world…honestly, you just can’t not go! 


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