It’s one thing to visit one art gallery and see all the many exhibits it has to offer on display. It’s quite another to visit an event like the San Francisco Fine Art Fair and feast your senses on over 70 galleries from all over the world, presenting a select few of just their finest pieces.
Held on May 20-22, 2011, this annual show features Post-War and Contemporary pieces that range from famous works of artists who have defined artistic movements to touching pieces from small galleries across the ocean. It’s located deep in the heart of Fort Mason inside the Festival Pavilion, which overlooks the bay and its many docks that house gently rocking boats and yachts.
The Fair had been absent for a decade, but returned in 2010. 15,000 attendees graced its halls, helping the SFFAF become the “top new fair in America,” a boon for the cultural longevity of San Francisco.
This year seemed no less spectacular. I came across the original prints and paintings of Andy Warhol and Rauschenberg, and saw in-person Duchamp’s famous “found art” urinal piece Fountain—all pieces that, until now, I had only seen in slideshows in darkened classrooms of my college days.
My personal favorites from the show include one booth from a gallery in Korea called Zoom Gallery featuring paintings from Lee Jeong-A and Park Geun-Joon. I also marveled at the imagination captured by Kevin Sloan in his painting of a butterfly-clad bird balancing on oranges, titled “An Auspicious Day.”
This is both a family-friendly and dog-friendly event, where you’ll see toddlers and pups alike gaining an appreciation for the sights and sounds of an international artistic heritage. What I love most about shows like these is there is absolutely no pretension, no tedious tours, no pressure to buy—just an amazing and vast collection of art and art appreciators gathered in one of the most beautiful parts of San Francisco. If you missed it this year, let’s hope it returns again in 2012.