SOFA Chicago Features Collection of Functional Art, Sculpture

Article excerpt

CHICAGO--With an attendance level of 30,000, SOFA (Sculpture Objects & Functional Art) Chicago, which took place in November, provided its visitors the opportunity to visit the booths of 91 galleries, view seven special exhibits and attend the lecture series featuring prominent artists, museum curators, arts professionals and collectors in 33 presentations.

"At SOFA Chicago 2000, galleries took larger booths than they have in the past, which shows the underlying feeling that galleries trusted that it would be a productive and useful event," said Show Founder Mark Lyman. "In every show there is some evolution, and I would say 80 percent of the dealers maintain the continuous core. This year we have a larger international group of galleries, representing nine countries outside of the United States."

Lyman Said the SOFA shows, which began in 1994, have led to the formation of an art community consisting of artists, galleries, collectors, nonprofit arts organizations and art professionals.

As one of the 70 speakers participating in the lecture series at the show, Jo Lauria, associate curator of decorative arts at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), presented a survey of the major stylistic movements in the history of ceramics during the second half of the 20th century, using the LACMA organized traveling exhibition titled "Color and Fire: Defining Moments in Studio Ceramics, 1950-2000" as a source for discussion. She believes the SOFA expositions provide a terrific benefit to curators.

SOFA Chicago 2000 was a forum for the introduction of new artists, new works by established artists, new galleries and newly published books. The debut of the work of David Marks titled "Trilobite" exhibited by del Mano Gallery, led to a commission to create a similar piece for a Chicago couple. Marks, a fine artist working in wood and the president of the California Contemporary Craft Association, found SOFA Chicago to be "an enriching and inspiring experience."

Riley Hawk Galleries featured new works by Albert Paley in an exhibition titled "Integration and Dialogue," comprised of sculptures constructed of fabricated and forged stainless steel with glass components created under his direction by Martin Blank and Blank's team of glass workers. Represented by the Leo Kaplan Modern Gallery, Wendell Castle, a master of studio furniture design presented "Mid-summer," his sculpture in the form of a chair made of fabricated and patinated bronze.

The Miller Gallery from New York, which has traditionally exhibited only works by glass artists such as Colin Heany, decided to include the work of four ceramic artists, one being Camille VandenBerge, at SOFA Chicago 2000 and was rewarded with strong sales of the ceramic works.

New exhibitor Kagedo, a Seattle gallery dealing in Japanese art, boasted strong sales at the show. "We sold numerous works by stone and fiber artist Deloss Webber. We sold numerous metal flower containers by different Japanese artists and sold contemporary bronze sculpture," said Greg Lulay of Kagedo Gallery. …