The 8 Coolest Things to See at Fog Design + Art Fair

by Anna Volpicelli | 7x7

Art world luminaries from London, New York, Chicago, Mexico City and Paris are making their way to San Francisco for the annual Fog Design + Art fair, opening January 11, 2018.

Now in its fifth year at Fort Mason, Fog will bring together 45 design and art galleries from around the world in a curated selection of installations and programs. Prominent local attendees will include Anthony Meier Fine Arts, Berggruen Gallery, Crown Point Press and Jessica Silverman Gallery, all of which are returning to showcase their latest collections.

This year's event also introduces an array of notable galleries that are participating for the first time: Among them are Paris-based Galerie Chantal Crousel and Galerie Chastel Maréchal; New York's Luhring Augustine Gallery and Paul Kasmin; Brooklyn-hailing Nicholas Kilner, known for 20th century Italian and American design; London-based Sadie Coles, who will showcase international emerging artists; and Stuart Shave/Modern Art, which recently opened a second location in England.

In addition to markedly contempo installations, the fair also presents a series of conversations, events and screenings. Be sure to check out a discussion on shaping the city through public art with beloved SF artist Jim Campbell, known for his dazzling LED light installations, and conversations with award-winning British installation artist and filmmaker Isaac Julien and artist/ filmmaker Lynn Hershman Leeson.

This year's festival is dedicated to the late Cathy Topham, a founding member of the Fog Steering Committee and longstanding SFMOMA supporter. Alice Waters, too, will be honored at the innovator's luncheon for her forward-thinking collaborations with artists and designers.

Such an extensive selection of installations and events can feel like a labyrinth to navigate; below are 10 can't-miss exhibits to plan your day around.

1. 'Bowl Coffee Table,' by Valentin Loellman

(Courtesy of Studio Valentin Loellman)

Who: Valentin Loellman, German designer and founder of Studio Valentin Loellmann

What: Bowl Coffee Table

Why: At age 34, Loellman is already well known for his intricate craftsmanship and ability to blend materials into harmonious shapes. For this bowl coffee table, Loellman, has transformed heavy brass into a sophisticated, airy base for a soft wooden top.

2. 'To Be Titled,' by Mark Hagen

(Courtesy of Anthony Meier Fine Arts)

Who: Mark Hagen, Los Angeles–based mixed media artist

What: To Be Titled (Additive and Subtractive Sculpture Titanium Screen #3)

Why: Named one of the hottest sculptors in L.A. by Amuse magazine, Hagen focuses on experimental design with recycled materials. His signature pieces maintain geometric and minimalist shapes using everyday materials such as egg cartons. For this installation, he "cooked" a Diet Coke on the surface of the titanium. The evaporation of the fluid left layers of phosphoric acid crystal, creating a prismatic effect.

3. 'Untitled' Mixed Media Sculpture, by Gavin Kenyon

(Courtesy of Gavin Kenyon and Blum & Poe)

Who: Gavin Kenyon, New York–based mixed media artist

What: Untitled

Why: Internationally acclaimed artist Gavin Kenyon has exhibited in Milan, Art Basel in Switzerland, and at the MoMa in New York. All about contrast, his work features anthropomorphic installations and sculptures using a combination of materials. Here, he experiments with the juxtaposition of cold and hard concrete and soft and warm fur, in conjunction with a multihued palette of muted pastel tones.

4. 'All the Nightmares Came Today,' by Mike and Doug Starn

(Courtesy of Cristine Grajales Gallery)

Who: Mike and Doug Starn, identical twin artists from New York

What: All the Nightmares Came Today

Why: These two consistently push the envelope for how art can be created, combining the disciplines of photography, sculpture and architecture in their dizzying works. Their installation Big Bambu: You Can't, You Don't, and You Won't Stop—on the roof of The Met Museum—was the ninth most attended exhibit in the museum's history. Their installation for Fog is a monument to recycled materials—woven bamboo and rock climbing knots create a chaotic nest.

5. 'Larkin Street at McAllister Street,' by John Chiara

(Courtesy of John Chiara and Haines Gallery)

Who: John Chiara, San Francisco-based photographer

What: Larkin Street at McAllister Street

Why: Chiara has a unique method of shooting, using a huge 50-by-80-inch field camera that he transports on a flatbed trailer. The photo exhibited is part of a collection called Lands End: California at Larkin, where he focuses on specific details like the dark ladders of a fire escape, as seen here.

6. 'Black Glass Sun,' by Olafur Eliasson

(Courtesy of Olafur Eliasson and Tanya Bonakdar Gallery)

Who: Olafur Eliasson, Copenhagen- and Berlin-based mixed media artist

What: Black Glass Sun

Why: Eliasson is all about creating a connection. He transforms spaces to make interactive experiences where people can directly engage with what they see. Here, viewers can play with the reflection of themselves in the dark mirror.

7.'Anni #20,' by Leonor Antunes

(Courtesy of Kurimanzutto)

Who: Leonor Antunes, Portuguese artist

What: Anni#20

Why: This handcrafted brass installation occupies the space in a sort of dialogue with the environment. Engaging with the histories of 20th century architecture, design and art, Antunes' work reflects on the functions of everyday objects, contemplating the potential of modernist forms to be materialized as sculptures.

(Courtesy Sadie Coles HQ)

Artist: Ugo Rondinone, Swiss mixed media artist based in New York

Piece: Yellow Orange Mountains

Why: Well known for his love of landscapes, Rondinone's works are an exploration of natural elements, in large and small scale, and how they can be expressed through sculptures. His most recent notable installation was Seven Magic Mountains, placed in Las Vegas desert.


// Fog Design + Art, January 11-14, 2018 at Fort Mason Festival Pavillon, 2 Marina Blvd (Marina); tickets ($25) are available at;