Are You an Aspiring Design Aficionado? Check Out This Day-to-Day Guide to Intersect Chicago/SOFA’s Action-Packed Online Fair

Each day of the week-long virtual edition will include medium-specific programming, from studio visits to curator talks.

Tzyy Yi Young, BRICK LIFE (2019). Courtesy of Vetri.
Tzyy Yi Young, BRICK LIFE (2019). Courtesy of Vetri.

Don’t know your chaise from your cabriole? Here’s a chance to learn. The prestigious Chicago-based art and design fair SOFA (Sculpture Objects Functional Art) Chicago—now known as Intersect Chicago—offers a unique combination of art, design, and objects. 

Now that the fair has gone virtual for 2020, it’s focusing each day on different mediums and genres, including glass, ceramic and crafts, design, contemporary art, Outsider art, fiber, and public art and sculpture. If you’re curious about learning more—and collecting more—we’ve put together a handy day-to-day guide with fair director Becca Hoffman’s hot takes.

Friday, November 6

Amber Cowan, Ring and Eye Topiary #1 (2018). Courtesy of Heller Gallery.

Amber Cowan, Ring and Eye Topiary #1 (2018). Courtesy of Heller Gallery.

Focus on: Glass

Can’t-Miss Programming: Curator tour of “Beth Lipman: Collective Elegy” at the Museum of Arts and Design

Curator Samantha De Tillio will lead a tour of the exhibition “Beth Lipman: Collective Elegy,” followed by a live Q&A with the artist herself. For more than 20 years, Lipman has transformed glass, metal, clay, video, and photography into powerful statements addressing mortality, temporality, identity, and excess. 

Time: 5 p.m. EST

Director’s Tip: Beth’s work transcends the medium of glass and is imbued with the most wonderfully delicate balance of historical and societal commentary with touches of whimsy.”

Relevant Galleries to Explore: Heller Gallery, Traver Gallery, Duane Reed, Nancy Hoffman Gallery


Saturday, November 7

Leonard Contino, Most Unusual Object (1996). Courtesy of the Leonard Contino Estate and Paula Cooper Gallery.

Leonard Contino, Most Unusual Object (1996). Courtesy of the Leonard Contino Estate and Paula Cooper Gallery.

Focus on: Contemporary art

Can’t-Miss Programming: Panel on “Paper Routes—Women to Watch 2020″ with the National Museum of Women in the Arts

Join Virginia Treanor and Orin Zahra, the curators of “Paper Routes—Women to Watch 2020,” and featured artists Mira Burack, Rachel Farbiarz, Dolores Furtado, Julia Goodman, Annie Lopez, and Sa’dia Rehma to discuss the potential of paper in contemporary art. 

Time: 1 p.m. EST

Director’s Tip: “I’m excited to tune in to hear six of the 22 women artists featured in NMWA’s ‘Paper Routes’ exhibition discuss their practice, work, and techniques to deconstruct such a universally used material and thus bring its tactility to the fore.”

Relevant Galleries to Explore: Paula Cooper Gallery, Chambers Fine Art, Leslie Tonkonow, Monica King Gallery, Ron Mandos


Sunday, November 8

Vince Palacios, Potato Tree with Vines and Purple Vines (2020). Courtesy of ODD ARK.

Vince Palacios, Potato Tree with Vines and Purple Vines (2020). Courtesy of ODD ARK.

Focus on: Ceramic and craft

Can’t-Miss Programming: Studio Visit with Kate Malone and the Mint Museum

Over the weekend, the Mint Museum is presenting studio visits with three artists: Tom Joyce, Danny Lane, and Kate Malone. In Malone’s virtual studio visit, she and curator Annie Carlano will discuss the Mint’s commission of her work, as well as current and future projects. 

Time:  12 p.m. EST

Director’s Tip: “I’m looking forward to getting a window into the work of ceramicist and sculptor Kate Malone, who seamlessly transcends scale from tabletop objects to large-scale public works while managing to maintain a consciously unique thread of personal craftsmanship and style.”

Relevant Galleries to Explore: Odd Ark LA, J Lohmann Gallery, Cavin-Morris Gallery, Elisa Soliven at Hesse Flatow, Shinichi Sawada at Jennifer Lauren Gallery, Jose Sierra at Mindy Solomon


Monday, November 9

Flavie Audi, Tender Erosion 2 low table (2020). Courtesy of Nilufar Gallery.

Flavie Audi, Tender Erosion 2 low table (2020). Courtesy of Nilufar Gallery.

Focus on: Design

Can’t-Miss Programming: “Designing and Building a New Museum: The Art Preserve” with the John Michael Kohler Arts Center

The John Michael Kohler Arts Center (JMKAC) in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, is slated to open in June 2021 as a museum devoted to artist-built environments. Director Sam Gappmayer and associate curator Laura Bickford discuss the project with the Denver-based architect Michael M. Moore of Tres Birds, moderated by journalist and critic Mary Louise Schumacher.

Time: 5 p.m. EST

Director’s Tip: “I always find it interesting to learn more about the conceptual thought process behind the design and creation of a new architectural space for a cultural institution. This talk will be especially fascinating as The Art Preserve is dedicated to the exhibition of visionary art environments, a much more unique and potentially complicated subject matter for display.” 

Galleries to Explore: Todd Merrill, Nilufar, Southern Guild, Priveekollektie Contemporary Art & Design


Tuesday, November 10

Gil Batle, Sanctuary (2018). Courtesy of Ricco/Maresca Gallery.

Gil Batle, Sanctuary (2018). Courtesy of Ricco/Maresca Gallery.

Focus on: Outsider art

Can’t Miss Programming: Virtual tour of Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art 

Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art will present an interview between museum president and CEO Deb Kerr and art historian, professor, and curator Leisa Rundquist, followed by a virtual tour of Intuit led by Kerr and chief curator Alison Amick.

Time: 11 a.m. EST

Director’s Tip: “Having been fascinated with Henry Darger’s art since the 2001 MoMA PS1 exhibition ‘Disasters of War,’ and having run the Outsider Art Fair for the past 7.5 years, I am excited to hear about Rundquist’s new research and tune into this exciting dialogue.”

Galleries to Explore: Ricco Maresca, Carl Hammer


Wednesday, November 11

Natalie Baxter, Robby (2020). Courtesy of Elijah Wheat Showroom.

Natalie Baxter, Robby (2020). Courtesy of Elijah Wheat Showroom.

Focus on: Fiber

Can’t-Miss Programming: Selections From the Women of Gee’s Bend

Several quilters from Gee’s Bend will discuss the work they do, new initiatives in the community to support and advance quilters and their legacies, and the experience of living and growing up in Gee’s Bend. The community will feature a selection of artworks for sale on the Intersect Chicago website.

Time: 5 p.m. EST

Director’s Tip: “The Whitney Museum’s 2002 show of the quilters of Gee’s Bend is definitely on my top 10 list of museum exhibitions. The unique history of this community of female quilters and their poignantly abstract yet beautifully crafted quilts infused with an innate understanding of design left a lasting impact on me and inspired a generation of contemporary artists. Tune in to hear contemporary quilters of Gee’s Bend discuss their artistic practice.”

Galleries to Explore: Natalie Baxter at Elijah Wheat Showroom, Rosemary Ollison at Portrait Society Gallery, Shenequa at High Noon, Carole Harris at Hill Gallery


Thursday, November 12

Jorge Mayet Broken Landscape (2016). Courtesy of Richard Taittinger Gallery.

Jorge Mayet, Broken Landscape (2016). Courtesy of Richard Taittinger Gallery.

Focus on: Public art and sculpture

Can’t-Miss Programming: Conversations on Public Art at the University of Chicago

Laura Steward, curator of public art at the University of Chicago, will present a series of conversations between Chicago-based artists and the curators who support them, including Michael Rakowitz in conversation with Jean Evans, chief curator and deputy director of the Oriental Institute Museum; Mel Chin in conversation with Abigail Winogrand, MacArthur Fellows Program 40th Anniversary Exhibition curator at the Smart Museum of Art; and Jessica Stockholder in conversation with Steward. 

Time: 12 p.m. EST

Director’s Tip: “Working on a large public scale makes one address questions in a very different manner and tackle concepts that might not have a place within the gallery or cultural institution’s walls—these are projects that are larger than life that addresses major societal and cultural issues.” 

Galleries to Explore: Jorge Mayet at Richard Taittinger, Kiel Johnson at Kopeikin Gallery, Elizabeth Turk at Hirschl & Adler


Intersect Chicago/SOFA, the virtual art and design fair, is live online from November 6–12, 2020. Visit at

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