As much as we all relish the visuals at SOFA Chicago, it’s often the words that linger.

The last three days have been a banquet of conversations.

I’d like to name names and share insights that were so generously shared with me, but time is not on my side here.

It’s back to the pier for the Last Day and Take Down.

Ta Da!

Lani

PS. And for those who just want to know “What sold on Saturday??!!” – an Akester, another Newell and a Parrish. ;-)

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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The difference between a blog and Facebook?

On a blog, no one talks to you. Ask a question? Good luck. On Facebook everyone is so busy yabbering that your questions are drowned out by all the other chatter. But more often than not, people respond. Silly stuff sometimes. But at least you’re heard.

It’s kind of like speaking on stage compared to blathering in the local pub. And with Facebook you don’t really need a prepared speech. Anything seems to fly.

Get AWAY from me with that stupid camera – go embarrass some of your human friends!

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For better or worse, an art fair is ultimately about buying and selling. And the buyers are an undeniable force in what is shown. But what about those of us who can often only buy  with our eyes?

I’ve walked the SOFA Fair in stolen moments over the last four days. What follows is my own personal Shopping Cart – the one I’d roll home if money were no object.

Of course, my cart ignores the contents of our own booth.  I’d obviously roll all of our own work home – and some we will -  or we wouldn’t have brought it.

1.SPw

Top of the list is this quiet wall set by Sibylle Peretti at Heller Gallery. Like virtually everything I’ve seen of this artist’s work, it takes me into another world – a place that is both soothing and disturbing.

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It’s the start of the second full day of SOFA Chicago. The opening was grand. Friday had equal energy.

But no one’s energy matched Dan’s. He must have buzzed up the Rogers staircase at least a half dozen times. Despite encouragement from a group of passing teens, he never jumped.

1.Dan&Stairs

The architectural ideas got a lot of chatter. Sales were satisfying.

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In short: it was a spectacular opening night. A larger crowd than I’ve seen in years. That’s the good news. The bad news is that we were so busy talking, explaining,  and mostly reconnecting with old friends and clients that I didn’t get a chance to get out of the booth once.

But, at the end of it all, what everyone always wants to know is “What sold?” It’s the ultimate scorecard for so many. OK OK. So here’s where we are after Day one.

1.KMO

Placed with a good home in southern California, the small Moje that has traveled across Australia and to museum exhibitions on both US coasts finally finds a family.

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Somewhere back in Portland, Oregon,  Susan, Janet and a dozen other serious-minded staffers at the Bullseye Glass Company imagine that their leader, Jim – in Chicago for Bullseye Gallery’s showing at SOFA 2009 – is working hard to uphold the supremely professional reputation of the company and the many fine artists its gallery represents.

1.jjW

Wrong. Made irreparably giddy by the fumes of Sherwin-Williams #7048, the normally no-nonsense Mr Jones has been buzzing about the monkey bars all morning, drunkenly painting and repainting the endless corners and angles that make up the skeleton of Michael Rogers’ Beekeeper’s Staircase.

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To get to the glamorous bastion of high-ticket fine craft and design that is the annual Sculpture Objects and Functional Art Fair also known as SOFA you have to walk through over a half mile of amusement park.

1.JimW

Little Jimmy at the Fairgrounds

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Up Up and Away to SOFA Chicago.

2w.

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