This weekend, San Franciscans used to an ankle-high ebb and flow of contemporary art are preparing to find themselves neck-deep. Close to two hundred prominent galleries from Oakland to St. Petersburg are descending upon the city for three major art fairs that, for the past three years, have helped put SF’s art scene on the map: SF Fine Art Fair, ArtMRKT SF, and ArtPad SF. Three iconic locales – Fort Mason, the Concourse Exhibition Center and the Phoenix Hotel respectively – are housing the surge.
While the express purpose of art fairs is to sell art (this weekend, collectors can expect to find pieces running the gamut in price from three digits to seven), they serve the more casually cultured just as well. Rarely does one find this many major contemporary works gathered on home shores.
Granted, contemporary art overload is a real possibility. With this in mind, if pressed to recommend just one destination this weekend, we’d say the retro-swank, poolside cool of the Tenderloin’s Phoenix Hotel is an alluring and distinctly San Franciscan alternative to the more utilitarian art-hangars in SOMA and the Marina. Manageable in size (close to 40 exhibitors) and brimming with world-class works from our favorite Bay Area galleries as well as major players from Seattle to LA, Birmingham to New York, ArtPad SF is not to be missed. Here are some highlights to look forward to.
Joe Rees; Belief, 1974, refabricated 2009; glass, argon gas, mercury, transformer, 11” x 37” x 2.5”; Steven Wolf Fine Arts, San Francisco, CA
Derek Cracco; Cocked and Loaded, 2003; digital print, vinyl, and resin on panel, 24 by 36 in.; beta pictoris gallery/Maus Contemporary, Birmingham, AL
Misako Inaoka; Pine-Hands, 2012; Mixed media sculpture; Johansson Projects, Oakland, CA
Stephanie Washburn; Reception 6; Digital c-print, 30"x30"; Mark Moore Gallery, Culver City, CA
David Michael Bowers; Animal Instinct; Oil on Linen, 24” x 40”; Electric Works, San Francisco, CA
Beyond the art booths themselves, over the course of the weekend ArtPad will host a jam-packed array of events including music, video/performance work and panel discussions. Don’t miss the opportunity to see world-renowned artist Leo Villareal, who is famous for his massive LED light sculptures (he is currently undertaking his largest installation to date on our very own Bay Bridge), in discussion with Wired Magazine co-founder Jane Metcalfe. Hosted by City Arts and Lectures, the talk will take place Saturday, May 20th from 11am – 1pm. Info here.
ArtPad SF general admission runs Friday, May 18 – Sunday, May 20 at the Phoenix Hotel, 601 Eddy St. Tickets here.
SF Fine Art Fair general admission runs Thursday, May 17 – Sunday, May 20 at the Festival Pavilion at Fort Mason Center, near the intersection of Marina Blvd. and Buchanan Street. Tickets here.
ArtMRKT general admission runs Friday, May 18 – Sunday, May 20 at Concourse Exhibition Center, 620 7th Street. Tickets here.