The ninth edition of FOG Design+Art (19–22 January 2023) brings together over 45 leading local and international galleries and 20th-century and contemporary design dealers at Fort Mason Center, San Francisco.
Below is a selection of artworks that sparked our interest ahead of the fair, from the legendary Albanian artist Anri Sala's digital cloud drawing to Raymond Saunders' mixed-media works at Andrew Kreps Gallery's booth.
Anri Sala's exhibition at François Pinault's latest space—the fabulous rotunda of the Bourse de Commerce in Paris—was a definite highlight from last year.
The legendary Albanian artist, famous for his sound-and-video installations that investigate ruptures in language and music, is among the most distinctive voices in contemporary art.
Sala's work often distorts reality, teasing us with an inkling of narrative, albeit ambiguous. For instance, Suspended (XIIV) (2022)—a digital drawing of clouds morphed into light beams erupting in the air—retains the quality of a painting despite being an inkjet print. The resulting image is mesmerising, and like much of Sala's practice, immensely pleasurable for your eyes.
Born in 1993 in St. Louis, Missouri, Dominic Chambers draws inspiration from magical realism literature and the writings of activist and sociologist, W.E.B. Du Bois.
Chambers' paintings often reference the veil—a central theme in Du Bois' The Souls of Black Folk (1903)—with a layer of washed-out colour enshrouding the subject.
The basketball court in Golden Hour (Court) (2022), for example, is set in a landscape and enveloped in iridescent yellow, recalling paintings by Peter Doig and Hurvin Anderson. The artist, a Yale graduate, is also showing with Roberts Projects in Los Angeles—decidedly, set to flourish.
Raymond Saunders became a key figure in the Bay Area art community after his move from Pittsburgh to Oakland for his MFA at California College of Arts and Crafts in the 1960s.
Saunders' canvases and boards (or in this case, door) are plastered with found objects, detritus, newspaper, or large daubs of paint, as expressions of urbanity and the experiences of urban minorities.
While the artist's scrawl and collaged elements have been compared to the likes of Cy Twombly and Robert Rauschenberg, his use of black backgrounds (a reference to classroom blackboards and his time as a teacher) recall Basquiat's black-and-white screenprints—similar declarations of the spirit and diversity of street life.
Untitled (2000–2010) is among the number of significant works both Andrew Kreps Gallery and Casemore Gallery will be showing in this solo presentation in San Francisco.
For many New Yorkers, Tillmans' MoMA retrospective was the exhibition to see in 2022.
The artist's now-iconic still-life photographs stand out as some of his most memorable images—his signature large-scale inkjet prints, especially.
The absence of a frame imbues the work with a lightness of touch, if not fragility, while a sense of immediacy emerges as barriers between objects and viewers are removed—an effect that is emphasised by their scale. That said, for serious Tillmans collectors, an unframed inkjet still life is a necessity.
Kwame Brathwaite at Salon 94 Design
Through photography, Kwame Brathwaite helped set the stage for the Black Arts and Black Power movements—notably popularising the 'Black is beautiful' movement in the 1950s and 60s.
In 1962, Brathwaite co-founded Grandassa Models, a modelling group for Black women that sought to challenge white beauty standards. His photograph in Salon 94 Design's presentation reflects the embracing of natural hairstyles then.
Brathwaite is currently the subject of a major touring exhibition, Kwame Brathwaite: Black is Beautiful—the first-ever exhibition dedicated to his six-decade-long career.
After opening at the Museum of the African Diaspora, San Francisco; the Columbia Museum of Art; and most recently, the New-York Historical Society, the show will be headed to its final location, the Abroms-Engel Institute for the Visual Arts at University of Alabama at Birmingham (6 February–27 March 2023).
A Thomas J Price sculpture is hard to miss—smaller sculptures sit on plinths, while imposing free-standing structures often stoop over the average passerby.
For FOG, Hauser & Wirth brings the former—a figurative sculpture of a Black man dressed in a hoodie and tracksuit bottoms.
At close to a metre tall, Plain to See (2015) is a prime example of Price's commitment to material and finish. Synthesising the features of several persons looking past us with a passive expression, Price sought to reframe what we understand as classical sculpture.
'I'm a big fan of plinths and the status they confer,' Price explained to Ocula Magazine in 2019.
Hauser has previously shown-off Price's capabilities on the art fair circuit since taking him on in July 2021. Last year, his staggering 12-foot bronze sculpture, Moments Contained (2022), was unveiled at Art Basel's Unlimited to rapturous audiences.
Main image: Kwame Brathwaite, Untitled (Photo shoot at a school for one of the many modeling groups who had begun to embrace natural hairstyles in the 1960s) (c. 1966). Archival pigment print. 38 x 38 cm. Edition 8 of 10. Courtesy Salon 94 Design.