Saturday. Day 2.5 of SOFA. Brain dead. No time. Hoarse.

Here’s 16 quick pics to do the talking. Roughly split into five categories…..

#1. What it looks like when they open the doors to preview night, you’re the first booth in the hall and the earth is moving under your feet.

That’s pretty much all I see on Opening Night. The rest is equally blurred. Sorry.

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The Sculpture Objects & Functional Art fair organized by the Art Fair Company each year on Chicago’s Navy Pier is more than just another market of beautifully crafted objects designed and executed by some of the world’s best makers.

SOFA is also a barometer of our field. Aesthetic direction, media percentages, gallery appearances (and disappearances), size of booth, placement in hall, artists on show – SOFA is a virtual snapshot of where we are and, more importantly, where we’re going.

Going places: e-merge 2010 winner Kate Baker is our choice for front row viewing at the entrance to this year’s SOFA.

Granted, it’s not yet even Opening Night. Many dealers are still knee-deep in installation. But since our own booth is finally “done and dusted”, I had a few minutes yesterday to walk the aisles and take a few notes. Shared herewith….

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By the last day of COLLECT we’re running out of time. After years of working at Bullseye Gallery, Jamie announces she’s never seen glass blown (it is possible to take this gotta-be-Bullseye-gotta-be-kilnformed thing too far).

Adam Aronson takes pity and invites us for breakfast and a lesson at his hotshop in West Brompton. Charming neighborhood, good croissant, and Adam proves to be a brilliant teacher.

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Friday inside the Saatchi Galleries, it’s all business. Sales are stronger than we’ve seen in years.

Without a doubt the most satisfying clients are the ones who return a year later to say they deeply regret the purchase they didn’t make the year before and would like to make up for it immediately!

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It was a shoo-in: a work whose imagery and ideas sit somewhere between industrial and natural, hard-edged and ephemeral, Kate Baker’s diptych intriguingly pairs high-tech and handcraft. It perfectly summarized e-merge 2010 and the jurors were unanimous in their decision.

Kate Baker, Untitled (Melina) 2009

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Caveat: the quotes below are not verbatim, just the imperfect echoes still rattling around my head a day after the jurying of e-merge. There is also no relationship between the images here and the adjacent remarks.

“It’s a Trojan horse…..you barely notice it, then slowly it grabs you and all these ideas start leaping out…”

“I liked the piece a lot….then I read the statement….it had nothing to do with what I felt in looking at the work….that statement killed the piece for me…”

“How can you not love this? Instantly. It just reaches out and touches something that is common to all of us. You know immediately what the artist is saying. Is that wonderful? Or maybe not?”

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Context is critical in showing art.  The preferred setting is typically spare and white. When we acquired the building that now houses the Bullseye Gallery, it was anything but. It is what it was: the raw bones of an old fish-smoking plant.

The Upper Gallery waiting for e-merge.

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If I left the impression with my last post that receiving art is only about crates, delivery receipts, photography, data entry, and insurance claims, it was only a small part of the story. At the bottom of every one of these incoming boxes is an opportunity to see the world through an individual artist’s eyes.

Our Registrar rises from the Bed of the Undead to talk about the e-merge 2010 entries he’s seen so far.

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