Move over, Art Basel Miami. This weekend, San Francisco will give the most important art show stateside a run for its money. artMRKT, ArtPadSF, and SFFAF are setting up shop around the city, and we thought we'd help make it easier to choose among the three, or give you reason to double (or triple) dose on all the art and culture you could possibly handle over the course of a few days. All three fairs kick off with preview parties today and run through Sunday, so start practicing your intellectual art speak now.
Newly founded by two young Brooklyn guys, the first-ever artMRKT has hip and cutting-edge written all over it. The fair brings together an incredible mix of highly renowned galleries from around the world and represents contemporary, modern, and emerging art—two things you rarely see at one show. The 65 galleries include such local mainstays as Catherine Clark, Frey Norris, and Gallery Paule Anglim, plus London's Cynthia Corbett Gallery and New York's Babcock Galleries. Concourse Exhibition Center, 620 Seventh St. (at Brannan), Fri - Sat., 11 a.m. - 7 p.m.; Sun., 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Think of ArtPadSF as the cool afterparty to artMRKT. Put together by Joie De Vivre hotelier Chip Conley, this hotel-based art fair focuses on emerging contemporary galleries and Bay Area artists. Held at the Phoenix, this show features around 30 galleries, including SF's White Walls, Ever Gold, and Triple Base. Plus, Black Rock Arts Foundation (i.e. Burning Man) is involved, and the show also features video installations, DJs, live music, and performances. The best parts? Word has it that CCA MFAs will debut a social pool sculpture in the hotel's infamous heated pool, and SF artist C. Finley will debut her wallpapered dumpsters outside the hotel. The Phoenix Hotel, 601 Eddy St. (at Larkin), Fri. - Sat. Noon - 10 p.m.; Sun. 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.
The most sophisticated and established of the three (read: suits and socialites), the San Francisco Fine Arts Fair made its grand return last year after a decade-long absence. The floor sold out, with attendees purchasing over $5 million in art. This year, it's back with a tightly vetted collection of 60+ galleries showing mostly post-war and contemporary art. Expect prices for the mix of painting, fine art photography, sculpture, and glass art to start around $1,000. This one's for the serious collector looking for a more traditional art fair format. Fort Mason Center Festival Pavilion, Marina Blvd. and Buchanan St., Fri. Noon - 8 p.m.; Sat. 11 a.m. - 7 p.m.; Sun. 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.