Podcast with SOFA Chicago’s Director DONNA DAVIES

Podcast with SOFA Chicago's Director DONNA DAVIES 1 Podcast with SOFA Chicago's DONNA DAVIES from SHOWBIZ CHICAGO on Vimeo.

Podcast with SOFA Chicago’s DONNA DAVIES from SHOWBIZ CHICAGO on Vimeo.

Exhibition Director DONNA DAVIES discusses SOFA Chicago’s 20th Anniversary. For more information visit SofaExpo.com.

connectUrban Expositions presents the 20th annual SOFA CHICAGO, the world’s foremost fair devoted to Sculpture Objects Functional Art + Design, at Navy Pier’s Festival Hall from Friday, November 1- Sun- day, November 3. The three-day event kicks off with an Opening Night Preview on Thursday, October 31, from 5–9 pm, celebrating SOFA CHICAGO’s landmark 20 years with a first look at art and design presented by nearly 70 galleries from across the U.S. and around the world.

Though 2013 marks the 20th annual fair, SOFA CHICAGO continues to evolve and innovate by exhibiting cutting-edge art and design among seasoned masters. This year, that legacy continues as SOFA CHICAGO introduces CONNECT, a design competition featuring installations created by students from Edinburgh College of Art, University of Edinburgh; Illinois Institute of Technology; Pratt Institute; the University of California, Davis; and the University of Iowa.

“With the introduction of CONNECT, we are proudly continuing a legacy of forward-thinking programming,” said SOFA CHICAGO Fair Director Donna Davies. “These innovative spaces will add to our exciting roster of longtime SOFA exhibitors and new exhibitors from the U.S. and abroad, showcasing works by master and emerging artists to our enthusiastic audiences.”

tional art and design fair.”


Chicago’s Ann Nathan Gallery, a mainstay in the community for over 30 years, will present new work by Jim Rose, who takes steel into unchartered territory in his timeless art furniture. An expert designer and craftsman, Rose often uses rusted steel and incorporates found colored steel panels with original paint or found pipe legs, nodding to traditional quilting techniques.

New York-based Barry Friedman Ltd. commemorates the fair’s 20th anniversary with three special exhibits, which showcase glass by Michael Glancy, Laura de Santillana, and Czech masters such as Stanislav Libensky and Jaroslava Brychtova. Glancy will present a lecture in conversation with Tina Oldknow discussing some of the many inspirations for his art. Almost Perfect will be held Saturday, November 2 at 1 pm, with a book signing of Michael Glancy: Infinite Obsessions to follow. In addition to masterworks

in glass, Barry Friedman Ltd. will exhibit designs by Wendell Castle in conjunction with the publication of Wendell Castle: A Catalogue Raisonné, 1958-2012.

Habatat Galleries an exhibitor all 20 years at SOFA CHICAGO, will host The Fragile Figure, a group exhibition of glass inspired by the human body, as well as 18 solo exhibits and a selection of other artists’ works. Many glass artists Habatat represents will travel to SOFA CHICAGO from the Czech Republic, Italy, Poland, France, Germany, Ireland, Scotland and various U.S. cities, including master artists like Paul Stankard and Howard Ben Tré. The latter will show a ten-foot-tall glass sculpture from his series The Lightness of Being. Booth talks will take place daily with artists including Emily Brock, Steve Lin and Latchezar Boyadjiev.

Philadelphia’s Wexler Gallery will celebrate the return of glass artist William Morris, who retired in 2007. In addition to producing 13 unique compositions debuting at SOFA CHICAGO, Morris will present his first curatorial endeavor Living Nature, a show including his seven original crew members that ex- plores their personal and artistic encounters with glass and the natural world. Wexler Gallery will also highlight innovative talents such as Vivian Beer, Timothy Schreiber, and Andy Paiko.

Portland, Oregan’s Bullseye Gallery will introduce exciting young artists in Chroma-Culture, an exhibit that explores the use of color in contemporary kiln-glass, including School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) alum Stacy Lynn Smith, Mel Douglas, Michael Endo, Emilie Haman, Steve Klein, Jessica Loughlin, Richard Marquis, Klaus Moje and Cassandra Straubing.

New York’s Heller Gallery, whose relationship to SOFA CHICAGO dates back to 1995, will present a large- scale glass installation by award-winning Danish artist Steffen Dam and turned-wood pieces by Philip and Matt Moulthrop, among other works.

First-time exhibitors include Seattle-based Abmeyer+Wood Fine Art, which will highlight ceramics by Jason Walker and Christa Assad (Ceramics magazine’s 2013 Artist of the Year), as well as William Morris; New York’s Jason Jacques Inc., whose presentation will emphasize contemporary ceramic masterworks as well as European art pottery from 1870-1920; English gallery Cultural Connections CC Gallery, which will primarily show Scandinavian ceramics; Diehl Gallery of Jackson, Wyoming, whose artists include SAIC alum and metal sculptor Natalie Clark’s colored steel crystalline polyhedrons, inspired by the diamond mines of South America and natural landscapes of the Grand Teton Mountains; and Milan-based Officine Saffi, which will present an exhibit of all-white ceramics by artists including the late Lucie Rie, a 20th century female pioneer of pottery, and Arnold Annen, discussing his white porcelain vessels in his lecture, Translu- cencies Saturday, November 2 at 2:30pm.

SOFA_Director_Donna_Davies_Photo_by_Jo-Nell_Sieren-211x285New at SOFA this year, German Pavilion – German Arts & Crafts will highlight work by seven German artists in various media, including work by silversmith Antje Dienstbir and elegant, minimal jewelry by Berlin’s Horst Max Lebert. All German Pavilion artists will be present at SOFA CHICAGO to discuss their various works of art and techniques, including Siegfried Schreiber, who transforms wood into striking arche- types that bring out aesthetic ideals hidden deep within the viewer, creating an intuitive and intense experi- ence for the senses. Schreiber will be speaking all three days at SOFA CHICAGO, beginning with the booth talk Sensual Wood Turnings daily at 2pm in booth 1307. Jeweler Ursula Hofmann will also speak about her work daily in the booth talk Old is New at 4pm, describing her process of using traditional textile techniques, from the 19th and early 20th centuries to create contemporary jewelry designs.

St. Louis-based Duane Reed Gallery will highlight Jun Kaneko, whose Dango and Tanuki sculptures are on view in his Chicago solo exhibition Legends, Myths and Truths in Millennium Park through November 3, 2013. Merging tradition with technology, Colby Parsons will attend the fair to discuss his unique juxtaposition of ceramics and video projections, shown by Concord, Massachusetts-based Lacoste Gallery.

GalleryFW (formerly Floating World Gallery), will return to SOFA CHICAGO with a Sueharu Fukami ceramic sculpture closely related to a Fukami piece recently acquired by the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Among the Japanese artist’s largest and most impressive porcelain works, the 2012 piece Kitsu is more than six feet tall.

Thomas R. Riley Galleries, which has exhibited at the fair every year since SOFA began in 1994, will focus on new trends in wood, showcasing practitioners such as Illinois artist Binh Pho, and is organizing a related panel discussion with four other SOFA CHICAGO artists that work in wood.

New York’s Aaron Faber Gallery, another original SOFA exhibitor, is celebrating its own 20th anniversary at the fair. The gallery will share the work of top contemporary jewelry designers such as Paolo Marcolongo, Emmeline Hastings, Atelier Zobel and more at SOFA CHICAGO in the group exhibition Genius of Nature.

Santa Fe’s David Richard Gallery will feature glass sphere and steel rod mobiles by French husband- and-wife team, Philip Baldwin and Monica Guggisberg, ocean wave-inspired glass sculptures by Australian artist Lisa Cahill and colorful, translucent glass sculptures inspired by sunshine through foliage and the night sky by Japanese artist Harue Shimomoto. Nancy Dwyer, an established artist making her debut at SOFA CHICAGO, will exhibit her unique sculptures that play with language and text, including “MEAN,” wood and Formica letters that can be rearranged to spell ME, MAN, MEN or MEAN and double as functional stools or side tables. The gallery will also present new media work of Max Almy and Teri Yarbrow, rear and front projected digital images on constructed surfaces of glass, metal and salvage materials.

SOFA CHICAGO will once again bring many dealers to Chicago from the United Kingdom, including veteran U.K. galleries include London’s Sarah Myerscough Gallery, who will bring Peter Marigold’s Japanese- influenced furniture, Gareth Neal’s wooden chest that combines fine craftsmanship with technology, and monumental wood sculptures by Michael Peterson. Another returning gallery, the London-based Joanna Bird Contemporary Collections, will feature ceramics, glass and marble works by the late ceramics pioneer Lucie Rie, and sculptures inspired by ephemeral nature of time and motion by Geoffrey Mann. flow, will exhibit first-time SOFA CHICAGO artist Kati Tuominen-Niittylä, who references rural traditions of her native Finland in her whimsical ceramic vessels and Claire Brewster, whose intricate, hand-cut paper bird installations were audience favorites at SOFA CHICAGO 2012.

Based in Tel-Aviv, Litvak Gallery returns to SOFA CHICAGO with exceptional glass from a roster of inter- national artists including Richard Jolley, Peter Bremers, Vaclav Cigler, Libensky & Brychtova, along with whimsical sculptures by Australian artist Tom Moore.


The five CONNECT installations, located throughout the fair, will be immersive environments where visitors can relax and engage. All of the seating, lighting, and design elements comprising each 576-square-foot installation will be created by students from the participating schools, under the guidance of faculty advi- sors. CONNECT’s launch is supported by longtime SOFA CHICAGO sponsor Chubb Personal Insurance, which will award a $2,500 prize to the winning school.

Chief Operating Officer of Chubb Personal Insurance Kathleen Tierney says, “Chubb is delighted to be part of SOFA CHICAGO’s 20th annual presentation and the new CONNECT exhibition and competition. SOFA has always introduced the very best in art and design to collectors and the five unique CONNECT environments will showcase the art and design masters of the future in a way we haven’t seen before.” A jury of design experts including Modery Luxury’s CS Interiors Editor-in-Chief Diana Bitting; Director of Barry Friedman, Ltd. Carole Hochman; Principal at David Ling Architect David Ling; Principal at JNL Graphic Design Jason Pickleman; and Western Territory Fine Art Specialist at Chubb Personal Insurance Brian Shannon, will select the winning CONNECT installation, to be announced at SOFA CHICAGO’s Opening Night Preview on Thursday, October 31.

CONNECT schools are also invited to collaborate with the internationally renowned Corning Museum of Glass (CMOG). Each school will submit proposals for unique design objects to be executed in glass based on the theme of “Celebrating 20 Years.” CMOG will select three winning concepts for its glass artists to create. Two pieces will be made prior to the fair and the top design will be created on-site at SOFA CHICAGO during CMOG’s Hot Glass Roadshow demonstration program on Friday, November 1. The winning designers will join the CMOG artists on stage to experience the process firsthand. All three winning CONNECT glass design objects will be displayed at SOFA CHICAGO in the Chubb Personal nsurance booth.

On Saturday, November 2, Tim Parsons, Associate Professor in Designed Objects at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), moderates Intelligent Making – Contemporary Approaches to Design in Education, a panel discussion with the CONNECT faculty advisors, who will explain how contemporary approaches to art, design, and architecture influence their curricula as well as their CONNECT proposals. Speakers include Stephen Bottomley (Edinburgh College of Art–University of Edinburgh), Monica Correia (University of Iowa), John DeSalvo (IIT), Deborah Schneiderman (Pratt), and Brett Snyder (UC Davis).


“Intelligent Making” is part of SOFA CHICAGO’s signature annual lecture series. SOFA Co-founder Anne Meszko estimates that the fair has included approximately 1,400 speakers and 50 special exhibits–which attracted more than 10,000 attendees–over the past 20 years. “The lectures affect people,” said Meszko, who has made education a key component of SOFA CHICAGO since its beginning. “People make con- nections in the lectures: A gallery owner or a curator hears an artist speak, and it leads to a show, or a purchase. We want to expose everyone to the work we think is important and contemporary that has a message.”

Other highlights of the lecture series include All Things Being Equal (But Not the Same): A Conversation with Wendell Castle, a dialogue between the father of American art furniture and Michael Golec, Associate Professor of Art & Design History and Director of Graduate Studies at SAIC; and William Morris: Living Nature, which marks the glass artist’s first public appearance since his retirement. Speaking via Skype, William Morris will discuss his work with James Yood, Chicago art critic and SAIC professor, and John Andres, director of the Morris documentary Creative Nature, which will be on view in the VIP Conversation Space during the fair. In Paley on Park Avenue, American artist Albert Paley offers insight into his 2013 outdoor installation of 13 abstract Cor-ten steel sculptures in Manhattan. Paley also appears in the new PBS film Craft in America: Forge (airing locally in Chicago on PBS October 25), which will be screened at SOFA CHICAGO. In My Life and My Work, master glass artist Lino Tagliapietra speaks about his influ- ences with Andrew Page, editor of GLASS: The UrbanGlass Art Quarterly.


As in previous years, SOFA CHICAGO 2013 features several special exhibits organized by museums and arts organizations. This year’s highlights include Taking Shape, the first group presentation of works by recipients of the Windgate Fellowship, which the North Carolina-based Center for Craft, Creativity & Design has awarded to 10 undergraduate seniors every year since 2006. The Fellowship’s annual distribution of $150,000 makes it the largest source of funding for emerging American craft practitioners. Taking Shape is curated by Cindi Strauss, Assistant Director of Programming and Curator for Modern and Contemporary Decorative Arts and Design at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and presented by the Center for Craft, Creativity & Design. Chicago’s Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art presents Sum of the Parts, an “exquisite corpse” game for smart devices that allows fairgoers to explore their creativity and collaborate with other visitors in creating an exhibit. The American Association of Wood- turners presents Currents, a group exhibition of contemporary works in wood curated by Kevin Wallace, Director of the Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts in Ojai, California, and prepared by Tib Shaw, Registrar, American Association of Woodturners. Ann Arbor, Michigan’s new Dinnerware Museum presents Whet- ting your Appetite, an exhibition of contemporary dinnerware created by artists as well as historic pieces by significant designers, which is curated by the museums founding director Dr. Margaret Carney. Selected art- works tackling social issues from the country’s most dynamic programs, artists, community activists, social entrepreneurs, designers and thinkers compose CASE (Community Art Social Enterprise), presented and curated by Margaret Bodell, co-owner of Umbrella Arts, New York and Caroline Kerrigan, Co-founder of the Outsider Art Fair.

SOFA SELECTS – Special selections from the Fair chosen by Curators, Designers and Critics

Offering SOFA CHICAGO patrons and collectors new ways to navigate the extraordinary artwork at the show, SOFA SELECTS highlights pieces chosen by noted curators, designers, and critics. Fair Director Donna Davies has tapped top professionals in the art and design communities to review the fair and make their picks, which will also be noted at the fair and accessible online for easy reference. Davies notes, “We’re adding these selections to give our audience another opportunity to connect with the artwork,” said Davies. “Seeing what pieces each of these curators, designers, and critics have noted gives our visitors opportunities to further engage with artworks at the fair.” The tastemakers participating in SOFA SELECTS include David McFadden, Chief Curator, Museum of Arts and Design; Bruce Pepich, Executive Director and Curator of Collections, Racine Art Museum; Diana Bitting, Editor-in-Chief, Modern Luxury Interiors Chicago; Suzanne Lovell, Principal, Suzanne Lovell Inc.; Kara Mann, Principal of Kara Mann Design; James Yood, art critic and Professor of Art History, Theory, and Criticism, School of the Art Institute of Chicago; William Warmus, former Curator of the Corning Museum of Glass, David Ling, Principal,

David Ling Architects and a select group of ASID Illinois Chapter Designers.

Complete information about SOFA CHICAGO exhibitors, lectures, special exhibits and ticket information is available at www.sofaexpo.com.