SECOND ANNUAL FOG DESIGN+ART FAIR ANOTHER WINNER
Kickoff Gala One of the Year’s Best Parties
San Francisco—The Old Guard of San Francisco and the young Tech Crowd mixed it up at the preview gala for the FOG Design+Art Fair 2015. It was one of the city’s most vibrant events and a great sendoff for the second annual Fair, a four-day celebration and exploration of modern and contemporary design, architecture, and art.
Already a destination for local and international collections, the Fair showcases dozens of prominent 20th-century and contemporary art and design dealers. Its attractions include dynamic exhibits, custom installations, lectures, and discussions with art and design leaders.
Interior Designer and Steering Committee member Douglas Durkin noted that the Fair reflects the spirit of San Francisco’s progressive community. “We are building FOG Design+Art Fair to be the West Coast destination for contemporary design and art,” he said.
THE PREVIEW GALA
The Preview Gala was a standout even in a city known for spectacular events, drawing 1,200 top gallerists, socialites, members of the design world, architects, artists, style-makers, and young art lovers.
FOG Design+Art 2014 was the vision of event designer Stanlee Gatti and the late Elaine McKeon, who served as president, board chair, and chair emeritus of SFMOMA for nearly three decades.
This year’s Honorary Co-Chairs were Roselyne Chroman Swig and Susan Swig. Joined by Steering Committee members Gatti, Douglas Durkin, Katie Schwab Paige, Allison Speer, and Cathy Topham, and returning Dealers Committee Chair Roth Martin, this group has created one of the social circuit’s most enthusiastically received events.
FOG’s proceeds benefit the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA). Founded in 1935 as the first West Coast museum devoted to modern and contemporary art, SFMOMA is currently undergoing a major expansion project. Opening in 2016, it will house and display the newly donated collection amassed by Gap founders Doris and the late Donald Fisher.
The preview draws an attractive, stylish younger set. And it was nice to see women dressed to impress and most of the men in suits or jackets: maybe they’re getting tired of tee shirts and jeans uniform!
I bumped into several New York friends who have moved to San Francisco. They told me that East Coaster young people are arriving en masse. Apparently once they taste the San Francisco lifestyle, they’re not returning!
As in New York, I saw women sporting a lot of black: black leather pants, black booties, black stilettos (Many of the ladies in heels expressed a desire for places to rest their feet as the night wore on).
Paul Weaver, co-founder and former owner of Michael Taylor Design, said, “San Francisco is reclaiming its edge in the design world, putting innovative products to market with an emphasis on quality. FOG is the best of the best.” He noted, “lots of fresh concepts and directions; no disposable mail order products here!”
DEALERS & EXHIBITS
A diverse array of artists, designers, and dealers presented events and panel discussions throughout the Fair’s duration. Attendees loved the freshness of the innovative setup: Browsing was such a pleasant experience, thanks to bright lighting and wide aisles.
In addition to browsing in the galleries and purchasing art, guests could visit pop-up shops selling books and design objects and enjoy fine dining from Cotogna and Jane restaurants.
Several New York dealers made their first appearance. I loved seeing James Taffin Givenchy of Taffin Gallery, whose uncle is famed fashion designer Hubert Givenchy. A colleague from my days at Christie’s, he left to start his own jewelry design firm.
Designer and Fog co-founder Stanlee Gatti’s popular 21POP returned to the entry pavilion this year with the theme of “Cotton,” and an exhibit dedicated to “craft by hand.”
OLD GUARD MIXES WITH SILICON VALLEY TECHS
Among the representatives of old San Francisco families at the gala was Roth Martin, a co-proprietor of Hedge Gallery along with Steven Volpe. Martin is among the descendants of M. H. De Young, who founded the San Francisco Chronicle and the de Young museum.
Also in attendance were Connie Goodyear Baron, great-granddaughter of M.H. de Young, and husband Dr. Barry Baron. Her sister Helen Spalding was with husband Dick Spalding and their son Charlie Spalding, who was in town with the David Zwirner Gallery. Charlie is based in Hong Kong and represents the Gallery in Asia.
Sixth-generation San Franciscans Jason and Matthew Goldman were also present. Grandsons of the late philanthropists Richard and Rhoda Haas Goldman (a Levi-Strauss heir), the twins have followed their grandfather’s path as fifth-generation graduates of UC Berkeley and now founders of G2 Insurance, a reboot of their grandfather’s business. These are the city’s civic leaders of the future.
FOG also attracted Silicon Valley techies and venture capitalists, among them many newly minted millionaires and billionaires. Members of this crowd are much sought after by today’s cultural leaders who hope to prepare them to take the helm in the future.
Prominent members of the dot-com world supporting FOG included Dave Morin, founder and CEO of social networking service Path and a SFMOMA Trustee; Jill Scully Woodman and Go Pro founder Nick Woodman; Instagram co-founder Mike Krieger; TaskRabbit product manager Kaitlyn Trigger; One Kings Lane co-founder Alison Pincus and husband Mark Pincus, co-founder of online gaming company Zynga; Yelp co-founder and CEO Jeremy Stoppelman; and Carter Cleveland, founder and CEO of Artsy.com, who spoke at the Innovators Luncheon.
Naturally, SFMOMA board members were out in full force, including the fascinating Norman and Norah Stone, a couple whose interests include art collecting, wine producing, traveling the world, and avant-garde fashion.
“Young, vibrant people and wonderful art make me want to go home and get rid of my English and French objects and start all over again,” said Interior Designer Diane Chapman.
PARTYING INTO THE NIGHT
Heading for the red wine to pair with the delectable baby lamb chops, I was waylaid when I saw the evening’s specialty drink was a “Winter Negroni.”
The gala was scheduled for 6–10, but as I headed out around 9:30, the bartender told me, “The party is just beginning!” I looked around and he was right. Guests were still nibbling, sipping, and browsing—having such a good time they weren’t ready to leave. What a success! This was one of San Francisco’s best-ever events.
Personal thanks for a wonderful time, and kudos to all the FOG sponsors: Premier Corporate Sponsor Citibank, Corporate Sponsors Christie’s and Neiman Marcus, Spirit Sponsor Campari America, Media Sponsors ABC7, C Magazine, Cultured, Dwell, KCRW, and San Francisco magazine, and Online Partner Artsy.
Photography by Drew Altizer and Jeanne Lawrence.
*Urbanite Jeanne Lawrence reports on lifestyle and travel from her homes in San Francisco, Shanghai, and New York, and wherever else she finds a good story.