Sales Were A-Poppin’ at the Fog Design and Art Fair in San Francisco, Showing a Strong Left-Coast Market Ahead of Frieze LA

Buyers turned out in droves.

Image courtesy Nikki Richter

The return of the FOG Design and Art fair to San Francisco’s Fort Mason pier—after going on hiatus last year amid the pandemic—brought out droves of buyers.

Both local galleries and those that visited from around the U.S. (plus a few international names) reported healthy sales and a strong showing from important private and institutional collections.

The ICA Miami quickly acquired two works including a canvas by Jiab Prachakul, titled 5 AM at Jean Macé (2021), from Friends Indeed Gallery.

“This is a very personal work drawn from the artist’s memory, and it resonated with me, our curators and donors,” said ICA Miami director Alex Gartenfeld, who visited the fair remotely this year. 

The museum also bought work by Hulda Guzman from first-time exhibitor Alex Berggruen’s booth. “Guzman is an artist I have been following closely and looking to add a strong example of her work to ICA Miami’s collection. The opportunity arose with the opening of FOG fair,” said Gartenfeld.

“It’s wonderful to see museum curators and leaders from all over the country, particularly given the growing conversation around what new models of museums will look like in the coming years,” said fair co-chair Wayee Chu. But she lamented the absence of student groups that typically visit with their schools. “I hope that post- pandemic this type of participation continues,” she said.

Jiab Prachakul, <i>5am at Jean Macé</i>(2021). Image courtesy Friends Indeed, San Francisco.

Jiab Prachakul, 5am at Jean Macé (2021). Image courtesy Friends Indeed, San Francisco.

Despite the city’s safety mandates—wearing a mask, proof of vaccination and a negative test—the opening gala was “very strong,” said Micki Meng, founder of Friends Indeed gallery. “Many of San Francisco’s top art patrons and collectors were here.”

Altman Siegel gallery had two major sales of sculptures by the artist Koak: a large-scale bronze of three cats and a bench with bronze hands that touch at the base. Koak also had three small paintings in the booth all of which were “sold immediately,” gallery director Claudia Altman Siegel told Artnet News.

Koak,<i>Bench,</i> (2020) Edition of 3 Photography by Phil Bond Courtesy of the artist and Altman Siegel, San Francisco

Koak, Bench (2020). Photo by Phil Bond. Courtesy of the artist and Altman Siegel, San Francisco

Of the fair’s 45 exhibitors (down just a notch from 48 exhibitors in 2020), 10, or more than 20 percent, were first-time exhibitors, including Friends Indeed, as well as Alexander Berggruen, Cult Aimee Friberg Exhibitions, Michael Rosenfeld, Nina Johnson, Pt. 2 Gallery, Rebecca Camacho Presents, Ryan Lee, Talwar Gallery, and White Cube.

Reports from many of them were similarly robust. Pt. 2 Gallery, of Oakland, reported nearly $125,000 in preliminary sales, including works by Soumaya Netrabile, Muzae, Liz Hernandez, and Kelly Ordings. 

Soumaya Netrabile. <i>Animal Landscape</> Image courtesy Pt. 2 gallery, Oakland.

Soumaya Netrabile. Animal Landscape. Image courtesy Pt. 2 gallery, Oakland.

Tina Kim Gallery, which was participating in FOG for the second time, reported sales for works by Ha Chong-Hyun, Park Seo-bo, Kim Tschang Yeul, and Kibong Rhee, each in the price range of $100,000 to $300,000. Another work, by contemporary artist Suki Seokyeong Kang, sold for $30,000.

“The fair provides us with a platform to strengthen our relations with West Coast institutions and share the depth of our roster with collectors,” said Kim.

Clare Rojas, <i>Just watching</i> (2021). Image courtesy Jessica Silverman

Clare Rojas, Just watching (2021). Image courtesy Jessica Silverman

“The return of FOG is a very hopeful moment reminding us how art builds and sustains community,” said San Francisco gallerist Jessica Silverman.

Notable sales for Silverman so far included Clare Rojas’s two-panel painting Just Watching (2021), priced at $130,000; Samuel Falls’s Spring to Fall (2021), priced at $70,000; and numerous glazed ceramic works by Pae White, priced between $26,000 and $36,000. Silverman described “major institutional interest” in works at her booth, including a ceramic sculpture by Woody De Othello that was placed under consideration for the FOG Forum Fund for SFMOMA.

“We’re thrilled to be back at FOG and are very grateful that the fair organizers created a safe environment for everyone to feel comfortable in light of the ongoing pandemic,” said Jessie Washburne-Harris, vice president of Pace Gallery, adding that there is “an extremely high level of engagement and connoisseurship” in the San Francisco collecting community.

Installation view of Pace Gallery's booth at FOG art fair. Image courtesy Pace Gallery.

Installation view of Pace Gallery’s booth at FOG art fair. Image courtesy Pace Gallery.

The gallery’s initial sales included two works by Sam Gilliam, a 1971 painting for $750,000 and a 2021 work on paper for $180,000; three editions of a 2021 sculpture by Lynda Benglis, each priced at $175,000; three editions of a 2021 digital installation by Leo Villareal, each for $150,000. (San Franciscans can also currently see the western span of the Bay Bridge illuminated by Villareal’s Bay Lights light sculpture).

Pace also sold: Torkwase Dyson’s painting I Am Everything That Will Save Me for $100,000; two ceramic and steel sculptures by Arlene Shechet from her “Together” series, each for $55,000; two editions of a 2021 photograph by Richard Learoyd, for $50,000 each; and a 2021 sculpture by Yoshitomo Nara. 

“We’re thrilled to kick off the new art season in San Francisco at FOG,” said Hauser and Wirth president Marc Payot after the gallery sold a whopping 20 works on opening day. Works by a cross section of the gallery’s artists and estates it manages, were placed into some of the “most rigorous, esteemed private collections in Northern California,” he said. 

Among the gallery’s major sales: the Frank Bowling painting Landing (2011), which sold for $500,000; Rita Ackermann’s Mama on Desolation Row (2021), for $550,000; George Condo’s Fractured Female Profile (2021), for $650,000; Luchita Hurtados’s oil on linen WATER (circa 1973), for $350,000; Lorna Simpson’s Rope Chain (2021), for $350,000; and Cindy Sherman’s Untitled FIlm Still (1980), for $150,000.

On the slightly lower end, Hauser and Wirth also sold eight works on paper by Charles Gaines for $60,000 each, and two paintings by Henry Taylor for $75,000 and $95,000 respectively.

The enthusiasm also spilled over into arts venues around the the city. ICA San Francisco extended its hours this weekend to include Sunday because it received over 700 RSVPs for Chris Martin’s project “Ancient As Time.” And since its opening in November, Lands End by FOR-SITE Foundation, has welcomed over 10,000 visitors. 

“It was incredible to see the Bay Area reunite and show its unwavering support of our institutions and artists,” said Ali Gass, director of the ICA San Francisco. “This community’s deep commitment to the arts is unquestionable and its embrace of the ICA’s opening this coming fall has been overwhelming.”

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