December 2, 2017
SOFA Art Fair
The SOFA Chicago Art Fair left me amazed. It was an opportunity to see artworks on an international scale, with prices that match the Sisyphean labor and intelligence invested in them. I saw the crowd, from all over the United States, come to discuss the art, meet the artists and acquire incomparable works of contemporary art.
Most of the exhibition is centered on glass art and collectors of this medium. Of course, my personal preferences drew me to the works that primarily made use of textiles.
Approximately 80 galleries and art dealers exhibit at SOFA. The number of visitors is estimated at 36,000, which is not the highest I have experienced personally or have read about for other shows. But it seems that the audience is very focused on contemporary art and that, together with a good and supportive gallery, is all artists really need to advance their careers. First held in 1994, this year was the 24th SOFA exhibition in Chicago – an amazing fact, taking in consideration that the art world is subject to the drastic changes in consumption habits. This year, the share of contemporary art jewelry at the exhibition seemed to have expanded, and the exhibiting galleries were more varied and enthralling, showing great quality of contemporary art jewelry. I was lucky to be invited to the exhibition by the Donna Schneier Fine Art Gallery. I met Donna for the first time at the Norton Museum in Florida and being invited to exhibit with her at SOFA was a dream come true.
My talented colleagues were so busy in helping each other. At home, people always ask me, “What, you’re flying [to the exhibition] alone?” At exhibitions, I usually have to ask a neighboring exhibitor to cover for me while I run to the washroom. At SOFA, it was clear that we would help one another out, even at the most difficult moments (and rest assured that there are such moments at such a long exhibition and when you are suffering such terrible jetlag).
The design of the pavilion itself was clean and suitable. Space was inviting and comfortable for the visitors to wander through and be enchanted by the works.
I arrived early in the morning to have enough time to see and photograph the different works in the space. I was more impressed by this exhibition than any museum I have ever visited anywhere in the world. There are people for whom the work, while important, is the result of an inner personal drive far beyond a working relationship. Not for nothing do my colleagues call Donna “Mama Donna.” From the moment we set up the booth until closing time and dinner together, the feeling was exceptionally familial and professional. I look forward to our next exhibition together.
A number of other jewelry galleries impressed me, including: Galerie Noel Guyomarch – Noel is a pleasant and welcoming individual. His gallery is fascinating in the scope and quality of the jewelry on display.
Hedone Gallery – Under the direction of the delightful Bonnie.
If only I could explain the different artworks in detail. It was a privilege to meet the artists and incredible hear the story of the first-rate works. The wood sculptures, which I saw at the gallery across from me, looked as though they were formed out of fabric but actually were made by drilling and carving a whole trunk into a spectacular work of art. All the works seem to gain a new dimension when you learn about the details that preceded their creation. In my dual role as an exhibitor and reviewer, I could not devote the necessary time for a thorough study of the exhibition, so I have something to look forward to for the next time.