CHICAGO—The Art Fair Company, based in Chicago, presents the critically acclaimed international art fair SOFA CHICAGO 2012 at Navy Pier (600 E. Grand Avenue) Friday, Nov. 2 through Sunday, Nov. 4. The highly anticipated three-day event features masterworks of contemporary and modern art and design, sculpture, functional art, non-traditional and visionary art, plus related special exhibits and a lecture series.

Now celebrating its 19th year, the international Sculpture Objects & Functional Art + Design Fair (SOFA) is the largest and longest continually running art fair in Chicago, attracting art and design lovers from throughout the country and adding an element of global flair to the city’s cultural and social calendar.

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Studio Glass Movement, SOFA boasts works by both historic and emerging glass artists, presented by some of the world’s leading galleries, Schantz Galleries (Stockbridge, MA), Heller Gallery (New York), David Richard Gallery (Santa Fe, NM), and Habatat Galleries (Royal Oak, MI).

 

The start of the Studio Glass Movement can be traced back to a pair of glassblowing workshops given by Harvey K. Littleton and Dominick Labino at The Toledo Museum of Art in 1962. Today, acclaimed glass artists such as Dale Chihuly, Marvin Lipofsky, Toots Zynsky and Lino Tagliapietra continue to develop innovative techniques to produce spectacular works that are recognized and admired throughout the world. A special selection of Littleton’s glass sculptures will be on display this year at the Maurine Littleton Gallery (Washington, D.C.) owned by the artist’s daughter, who will be on hand to discuss her father’s work.

SOFA CHICAGO 2012 will feature nearly 70 art galleries and dealers from 10 countries along with special exhibits by renowned museums, universities and arts organizations, and an extensive lecture series, all included in the admission price.

“This year’s fair promises to have a particularly impressive international component,” says Donna Davies, Director of SOFA. “In addition to galleries from Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, England, Israel, Italy, Japan, Scotland and the U.S., we will be presenting works by more than 800 artists from throughout the world, many of whom will be on hand to present lectures and demonstrations and to greet and talk with attendees about their work.”

SOFA CHICAGO 2012 will have a strong U.K. presence, with London galleries such as Erskine, Hall & Coe highlighting ceramics by established and emerging artists; Sarah Myerscough Fine Art, displaying works by American and European wood artists Philip

Moulthrop, John Jordan, Marc Ricourt and Ernst Gamperl; flow, which will showcase works in silver by Maya Selway, as well as Nuala O’Donovan’s ceramic pieces and Sidel Hanum’s porcelain works, and Craft Scotland, the Edinburgh-based organization that promotes Scottish craft featuring artists who work in furniture, jewelry, ceramics, and fiber.

Japan will also make a bold showing, with galleries such as Ippodo Gallery (Tokyo + New York), and Tokyo-based galleries Oz Zingaro and Exhibition Space APJ, both making their SOFA debut. Works by Japanese artists will also be represented by U.S. galleries including Dai Ichi Arts (New York) and Chicago-based Floating World Gallery.

Other international galleries include the stunning glass sculptures presented by returning Litvak Gallery of Tel-Aviv, Israel, and Kirra Galleries from Melbourne, Australia; the father-and-son silversmith team Thalen & Thalen of Belgium; and Canadian galleries such as L.A Pai Gallery of Ottawa, and Montreal’s Option Art and Galerie Elena Lee.

Another important focus of this year’s fair is cutting-edge design, evident in all media but particularly in the one-of-a-kind or limited edition furniture shown by signature galleries including Wexler Gallery (Philadelphia, PA), who will exhibit innovative designer Vivian Beer;

Scott Jacobson Gallery (New York), presenting the work of Swiss-born designer Yves Boucard; and William Zimmer Gallery (Mendocino, CA), showing the work of Sam Maloof Woodworker, Inc.

“Design is one of the most eagerly anticipated aspects of the fair,” notes Davies. “These works marry sculpture, material, and functional art while always pushing the boundaries of technique. These are forms that have grown out of the craft tradition but the artists are exploring and creating a new vocabulary for work that are at once inventive furniture and sculpture.”

SOFA CHICAGO 2012 exhibitors confirmed to date include:

Aaron Faber Gallery – NY

Adamar Fine Arts – FL

Ann Nathan Gallery – IL

Blue Rain Gallery – NM

Charon Kransen Arts – NY

Craft Scotland – Scotland

CREA Gallery – Canada

Dai Ichi Arts – NY

David Richard Gallery – NM

Donna Schneier Fine Arts – FL & NY

Duane Reed Gallery – MO

Erskine, Hall & Coe – U.K.

Exhibition Space APJ – Japan

Flame Run – KY

Floating World Gallery – IL

flow – U.K.

Galerie Elena Lee – Canada

Habitat Galleries – MI

Harvey Pranian Art & Antiques – IL

Hawk Galleries – OH

Hedone Gallery – NJ

Heller Gallery – NY

Ippodo Gallery – NY

Jane Sauer Gallery – NM

Jean Albano Gallery – IL

John Natsoulas Gallery – CA

Kirra Galleries – Australia

L.A Pai Gallery – Canada

Lacoste Gallery – MA

Lindsay Gallery – OH

Litvak Gallery – Israel

Lucky Girls Gallery – LA

Maria Elena Kravetz – Argentina

Mattson’s Fine Art – GA

Maurine Littleton Gallery – Washington DC

Mindy Solomon Gallery – FL

Next Step Studio + Gallery – MI

Oliver & Espig – CA

Option Art – Canada

Orley Shabahang – NY

Oz Zingaro – Japan

Packer Schopf – IL

Palette Contemporary Art and Craft – NM

Perimeter Gallery – IL

PISMO Fine Art Glass – CO

Pistachios – IL

Ruth Lawrence Fine Art – NY

Sarah Myerscough Fine Art – U.K.

Schantz Galleries – MA

Scott Jacobson Gallery – NY

Sherrie Gallerie – OH

Snyderman Works Gallery – PA

ten472 Contemporary Art – CA

Thalen & Thalen – Belgium

Thomas R. Riley Galleries – OH

Turkish Cultural Foundation – Washington DC

UrbanGlass – NY

Wexler Gallery – PA

William Zimmer Gallery – CA

Woman Made Gallery – IL

Yvel Jerusalem – Israel

In addition to the fair itself, SOFA CHICAGO 2012 offers a wide variety of special exhibits and events, along with presentations by renowned artists, collectors, and arts professionals—all included in the price of a general admission ticket. Highlights include: Among Fellows: An Exhibition of Work by the 2012 College of Fellows, presented by the American Craft Council; Gothic Jewelry: Sinister Pleasures—Metalsmith’s 2012 curated Exhibition in Print, presented by Society of North American Goldsmiths (SNAG); What is Beautiful? Changing Perspectives in Contemporary Wood Art, presented by Collectors of Wood Art; Bags Across the Globe (BAG), presented by the Design Department, University of California, Davis; and Eye of Mr. I: A Tribute, a retrospective of the late Mr. Imagination presented by the Chicago-based Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art.

The SOFA Lecture Series will again feature top museum curators, artists, collectors, scholars and critics who will share their professional and personal experiences in the field. Highlights include: The Studio Glass Movement: A Driver’s Manual, featuring Stuart Kestenbaum, Director, Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, James Baker, Director, Pilchuck Glass School (Seattle, Wash.) and Jean McLaughlin, Executive Director, Penland School of Crafts (Penland, N.C.); Intersections: Ideas, Process, Media, and Scale, a discussion with artist Barbara Cooper, represented by Perimeter Gallery, Chicago; Craft and New Technology: A Continuum of Creativity, which explores the innovative collaboration between the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts (Deer Isle, Maine) and the Center for Bits and Atoms at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Cambridge, Mass.); and Sculptural Environments in Self-Taught Art, a panel discussion of vernacular art environments, presented by Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art. All special exhibits will include a corresponding lecture. Additional lectures will be announced at a later date.

SOFA CHICAGO 2012 hours are as follows: Opening Night Preview is Thursday, Nov. 1, 5 to 7 p.m. for VIP passholders only. Public Preview is from 7 to 9 p.m. Tickets are $50 and may be purchased in advance at sofaexpo.com or at the door. The Opening Night Preview is much anticipated by collectors, museum curators, art advisers, interior designers and architects, artists and cognoscenti, because it offers first viewing and the best selection of outstanding masterworks, as well as the opportunity to meet and mingle with leading members of the art and design communities. The public is invited to enjoy, study and acquire top quality art examples at this year’s Public Preview. Wine and light hors d’oeuvres are included.

General admission fair hours are Friday, Nov. 2 and Saturday, Nov. 3 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and Sunday, Nov. 4 from noon to 6 p.m. Tickets are $15 for single day general admission and $25 for a three-day pass. One general admission ticket of $15 admits visitors to the fair, related lecture series, special exhibits and events. Discounted student, senior and group tickets are available. Preview and fair tickets are available online or at the door. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.sofaexpo.com.

About The Art Fair Company: In 2009 Michael Franks, former Chief Operating Officer of dmg world media, along with Mark Lyman, former Vice-President of dmg world media’s Art & Antiques Fairs and SOFA Founding Director, purchased the internationally renowned Sculpture Objects & Functional Art Fairs from dmg world media, creating a new jointly owned firm, The Art Fair Company, Inc. The Art Fair Company, Inc. is based in Chicago. For more information about The Art Fair Company, Inc. and their art fairs, visit theartfaircompany.com.

Calendar Listing

The Art Fair Company presents the 19th annual SOFA CHICAGO 2012 at Navy Pier’s Festival Hall (600 E. Grand Avenue, Chicago, Ill. 60611) Nov. 2 – 4. This popular three-day art event features sculpture objects and functional art, masterworks of contemporary and modern arts and design, non-traditional and visionary art, plus special art exhibits and an art lecture series. One general admission ticket of $15 admits visitors to the fair, related lecture series, special exhibits and events. $25 three-day passes and discounted student, senior and group tickets are also available. Hours are Friday, Nov. 2 and Saturday, Nov. 3, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and Sunday, Nov. 4, noon to 6 p.m. The public is also invited to the Opening Night Preview Thursday, Nov. 1; from 7 to 9 p.m. Preview tickets are $50. For more information, visit www.sofaexpo.com.