If the packed opening night preview at the Fort Mason’s Festival Pavilion of the San Francisco Fine Art Fair, benefiting the San Francisco Art Institute, was any indicator of the Bay Area’s appetite for the modern and contemporary Art, then the this fledgling art Fair seems to be off to a strong start. According to fair organizer, Rick Friedman, an overwhelming 3000 VIPs attended Thursday’s gala preview.
The fair, in its first year, brought together 83 national and international modern and contemporary galleries, including, Los Angeles’ Sundraram Tragore Gallery, and Charlie James Gallery, New York’s Dean Projects, Walter Bischoff Gallerie from Berlin and, San Francisco’s Catherine Clark Gallery and Lincart Gallery. Of note, San Francisco’s Weinstein Gallery seemed to be picking up on the recent strong sales of Alexander’s Calder’s works, offering three of the artists mobiles, one of which I was told was a smaller version of a work currently on view at SFMOMA. San Francisco’ Adler & Co. Gallery offered number of Michael Scoggins witty and satirical note book sheets. Lastly at Carmichael Gallery’s booth, was Mark Jenkins’, mixed sculpture Angel of Death, depicting a life-size figure in jeans and hooded sweatshirt, with a raised hood over an empty void. The inconspicuous subtle placement of the work startled many fairgoers into doing a double take. And the work was conspicuously absent when I returned to the fair on Sunday, indicated that someone had snatched it up after opening night.
While there was certainly much impressive work on display, it seemed like a number of the galleries were “playing it safe”, and testing the waters by showing on more figurative work in traditional mediums, such as painting, photography and sculpture. Thus the fair seemed particularly light on installation and video work, which was unfortunate and made it feel less cutting edge than fairs like Pulse, Scope or Los Angeles Contemporary.
That said, when I spoke with Rick Friedman on Sunday Morning, he told me that not including opening night the fair had already brought in 9,000 attendees, and estimated sales in the $4,000,000-5,000,000 range with most likely another $3,000,000-$5,000,000 more on Sunday.
Overall, a good first year!