San Francisco plays host to three different art fairs this week
Almost every local gallery worth its salt, along with plenty of out-of-town exhibitors, will have a presence at one of the fairs (and to make taking it all in that much easier ArtMRKT and ArtPadSF will be sharing a shuttle service between venues on Saturday and Sunday). ArtMRKT and ArtPad SF, in particular, have also made it a point to involve community arts orgs and nonprofits. Black Rock Arts Foundation is ArtPad SF's opening night beneficiary and ArtMRKT is hosting MRKTworks, an online and live auction set to benefit several other local arts nonprofits. ArtPAD SF will also host panel discussions on California art and collecting street art with a who's who of notable locals and feature live performances and video pieces throughout the weekend.
What this confluence of big events means for the state of art-making and consuming in San Francisco remains up for discussion. Art fairs are one indicator of market growth — or at least of the organizer's belief in a market's potential, which in San Francisco's case would mean having to address the fact that local artists have historically outnumbered local collectors. The proof, I suppose, will be in the attendance records and sales figures.
On the other hand, you can view these fairs as a sign of evolutionary development within the larger ecosystem of San Francisco's art scene. Before last year's SF Fine Art Fair, there hadn't been a comparable event in the city for close to two decades. Maybe these are the sort of events SF needs to slough off of the self-deprecatory framework that regards what is made and what goes on here as "provincial" compared to Los Angeles or New York City. After all, "boosterism" needn't be a dirty word.
I hope to expand on these issues in the next Eyeball, after I've had a chance to make the rounds and cool my feet in the Phoenix's pool.
TAKESHI MURATA: GET YOUR ASS TO MARS
Through June 11; free
ARTMRKT SAN FRANCISCO
Thurs/19– Sun/22; $25 (single day), $45 (3-day)
Concourse Exhibition Center
620 Seventh St., SF
May 19–May 22
Phoenix Hotel; $10
601 Eddy, SF
SAN FRANCISCO FINE ART FAIR
May 20 –22; $20 (single day), $30 (3-day)
Fort Mason Center, SF