In January, the fog rolled in, yet everyone was delighted, as it was the Fog Design+Art Fair Preview Gala. Now in its ninth year, the much-anticipated international fair took place at the Fort Mason Center for Arts and Culture.
Launched in 2014, the four-day event, dedicated to exploring modern and contemporary design, architecture, and art from around the world, has become one of the city’s most vibrant events. This year’s fair attracted 12,000 visitors, indicating that its pre-pandemic momentum is rebounding.
NEWS AT THE SAN FRANCISCO MUSEUM OF MODERN ART
The Preview Gala benefits The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA). Designed by global architects Snøhetta and Mario Botta, SFMOMA is among the US’s largest modern and contemporary art museums.
Let’s welcome the new SFMOMA director, as of June 2022, Christopher Bedford, who took the helm after director Neal Benezra stepped down after 19 years. Previously, Christopher was director of the Baltimore Museum since 2016.
The FOG Fair is overseen by a steering committee dedicated to expanding the city’s cultural leadership. Most committee members have been on board since the fair’s inception in 2014.
FIRST LOOK OPPORTUNITY FOR GALA ATTENDEES
The FOG Design+Art Preview Gala offers art and design patrons, VIP guests, and sponsors an exclusive browsing and buying opportunity before the doors open to the general public.
This year, the 2021 requirements for masks and proof of vaccination were dropped. The Preview Gala crowd of more than 2,000 included artists, collectors, curators, dealers, designers, and art devotees who were excited to be back at this highlight of the new year’s social season, signaling that life after COVID is returning to normal.
TOP INTERNATIONAL GALLERIES PARTICIPATED
The 2023 Fog fair brought together a roster of 48 preeminent galleries from such major cities as Chicago, London, Los Angeles, Mexico City, Milan, Monte Carlo, New York, and San Francisco. (Find the complete list at the end of this column.)
“The buzz of sales and interest we received in the fair’s opening hours are signals of great things to come,” said San Francisco gallerist Jessica Silverman.
THE ENTHUSIASTIC CROWD
FOG is known as a fun, lively art show. It is a prime people-watching event, attracting an artsy, party-going group of all ages dressed for the theme in creative garb.
For years, the art world and other cultural leaders have worked to encourage prominent Silicon Valley individuals and venture capitalist millionaires to become engaged as art collectors and philanthropists. The presence of so many leading members of the tech community at the gala was encouraging.
This year’s gala seemed more relaxed than usual. Instead of the customary brief hello-kiss-move-on exchanges, people seemed to engage in deeper conversations, enjoying the chance to reconnect with friends after prolonged pandemic isolation.
Sadly missing in the crowd this year was the cultural philanthropists and art patron couple, Norah and Norman Stone, who passed away in 2019 and 2021, respectively. The Stones were a mainstay in the San Francisco art scene and attended FOG religiously. They were SFMOMA board members and deeply involved with NY’s Whitney and London’s Tate.
The couple’s signature style expressed their joie de vivre, and they enjoyed wearing colorful, extravagant, and outlandish outfits to galas, museum openings, and benefits. I once asked where they store their extensive wardrobe, and Norman responded, “We just take over another bedroom.”
Named one of the ARTnews Top 200 Collectors, the Stones were patrons of the arts to the very end. Their estate donated nearly 350 modern and contemporary artworks in every medium and gifted $10 million in an unrestricted endowment. Among their collection were such luminaries as Diane Arbus, Marcel Duchamp, Jeff Koons, Bruce Nauman, Francis Picabia, Sigmar Polke, Cindy Sherman, Andy Warhol, Carrie Mae Weems, Ai Wei Wei, and many others.
EXPANDING THE EXPERIENCE
Opening nights are about browsing the exhibits, mingling, and noshing. But many at the gala returned the next day to focus more closely on the art and interact with the gallery hosts.
On those days, attendees partook in informative FOG Talks. These included artist conversations and panel discussions with cultural luminaries and leaders.
MARK YOUR CALENDAR FOR JANUARY 2024
The FOG Design+Art Fair improves each year, and the 2023 event exceeded all expectations. Make a note on your January 2024 calendar to get tickets to this not-to-be-missed event.
For those interested, here is a list of the participating galleries from around the world:
• Altman Siegel, San Francisco
• Andrew Kreps Gallery, New York / Casemore Gallery, San Francisco
• Anthony Meier, Mill Valley
• Berggruen Gallery, San Francisco
• Crown Point Press, San Francisco
• David Zwirner, New York
• Demisch Danant, New York
• Fergus McCaffrey, New York
• Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco
• Galerie Chantal Crousel, Paris
• Gallery FUMI, London
• Gladstone Gallery, New York
• Haines Gallery, San Francisco
• Hauser & Wirth, Los Angeles
• Hosfelt Gallery, San Francisco
• Hostler Burrows, New York
• James Cohan, New York
• Jenkins Johnson Gallery, San Francisco
• Jessica Silverman, San Francisco
• KARMA, New York
• kurimanzutto, Mexico City
• Lebreton, Monte Carlo
• Lehmann Maupin, New York
• Luhring Augustine, New York
• Magen H Gallery, New York
• Marc Selwyn Fine Art, Los Angeles / gió Marconi, Milan
• Marian Goodman Gallery, New York
• Matthew Marks Gallery, New York
• Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, New York
• Miki Meng, San Francisco
• Modern Art, London
• Nathalie Karg Gallery, New York
• Night Gallery, Los Angeles
• Nilufar Gallery, Milan
• Pace Gallery, New York
• pt.2 Gallery, Oakland
• R & Company, New York
• Ratio 3, San Francisco / Nonaka-Hill, Los Angeles
• Rebecca Camacho Presents, San Francisco
• Salon 94 Design, New York
• Sarah Myerscough Gallery, London
• Sprüth Magers, New York
• Talwar Gallery, New York
• Tina Kim Gallery, New York
• Volume Gallery, Chicago
Photography by Drew Altizer and Nikki Ritcher.