This year, FOG Design+Art, the Bay Area’s annual international art and design fair, celebrated its 10th anniversary edition. Well past its fledgling phase, FOG at 10-years-old included an impressive breadth of presentations all assembled around the theme A Love Letter to San Francisco.
“FOG was originally conceived of as a gift to the people of San Francisco, and we were excited to champion the artistic vitality of our city this year,” said Douglas Durkin, FOG steering committee member. Showcasing Bay Area artists and gallerists alongside international art and design powerhouses has always been a hallmark of FOG, but this year, the fair expanded its reach to make space for young and underrepresented artists.
This year marked the launch of FOG FOCUS, an invitational curated to showcase young galleries and works by emerging artists. “It was a great opportunity for people to recognize new talent,” said Jonathan Carver Moore, whose San Francisco gallery showed for the first time at FOG in this inaugural platform.
Across all 54 exhibitor booths at Fort Mason Center on the San Francisco Bay, the region’s lively and robust art scene shined through. These were a few of our favorites.
Ben Sanders at OCHI
In a solo presentation of work from Los Angeleno Ben Sanders, OCHI let the artist’s bold, otherworldly paintings immerse visitors in a surrealist, futuristic world. Working in acrylic on canvas, the artist often incorporates airbrushed gradients of bright colors contained in tightly defined geometric shapes. Viewed in San Francisco, the home of tech, Sanders’s prismatic visions of flower-like forms had a powerful resonance, suggesting a post-human future where the organic and natural takes on a slick, technological dimension.
An immersive, riotous presentation from AGO Projects
Taking full advantage of FOG’s dual focus on art and design, Mexico City-based AGO Projects presented a rose-colored take on a Polanco sitting room, punctuated by a collection of lively furnishings and artworks that managed to feel entirely cohesive. Balancing vintage and contemporary pieces, the booth presented glass mosaic-tiled tables and cabinets along with plush upholstered chairs and a glass-and-brass lantern by Guadalajara-based French designer Fabien Cappello alongside hand-built ceramic gargoyle vessels by Oaxaca-based Taller Tapalcates. Overlooking the scene with a watchful eye was a painting by the mid-century Guatemalan symbolist artist Rodolfo Abularach and a photographic collection by contemporary Mexican photographer Yvonne Venegas which re-contextualized society photographs taken by her father in Tijuana in the 1970s.
Miguel Arzabe’s colorful woven paintings at Johansson Projects
For their very first showing at FOG FOCUS, Oakland-based Johansson Projects featured several works by local artist Miguel Arzabe, who makes colorful woven paintings drawing on the textile tradition of his Latinx Bolivian heritage. Beckoning viewers with his bright colors and pseudo-pixelated imagery, Arzabe crafts his works by creating acrylic paintings on canvas that are then cut into strips and woven together by hand. Often inspired by Andean motifs and symbology, the paintings also draw on the Western canon of modernist painting, resulting in a handcrafted and highly personal cultural remix that feels decidedly of the moment.
Duyi Han’s embroidered silk furniture at Salon 94 Design
Awash in pastel blues and pinks, the Salon 94 booth was anchored by a furniture presentation of Shanghai-based artist and designer Duyi Han. Delightfully plush yet piercingly embroidered—a favorite stool was emblazoned with the phrase “you are on mute”—Han’s pieces balance luxury with an exploration of a deep, psychological feeling of uncertainty. Titled “Ordinance of the Subconscious Treatment,” Han’s collection unites traditional Chinese motifs with contemporary questions around mental health, leading to objects that disquiet just as they comfort in form and texture.
Katie Stout at R & Company
While New York-based R & Company presented a mix of historical and contemporary designers at FOG apropos of their typical gallery program, it was the work of contemporary American designer Katie Stout that shined brightest. A pairing of bright pink ceramic pieces—one vessel and one lampshade—reflected Stout’s characteristic inquiry into the history of female-dominated decorative arts and craft traditions, blurring the boundaries between art object and functional design. Adorned with a dense smattering of abstract organic forms recalling flowers, butterflies, and leaves, the pairing felt teeming with the most joyful parts of life.