Whitehot Magazine

FOG Art Fair is The Greatest Art Fair on the West Coast

Artist Lucy Sparrow. All photos courtesy of the author.


By ERIC MINH SWENSON January 28, 2024 

…In my view, a close second!

Held in late January at San Francisco's Fort Mason Center for Arts and Culture, FOG Design+Art is perfectly named for its dreary setting and perfect for someone like me still getting over the post-holiday blues and still looking forward to being cold, wet, and miserable. Truth be told, in late January, I’m not ready for Southern California’s endless summer and Vegas heat yet. I’m from Hollywood and FOG is a great time and location to acclimate towards the long summer ahead. As FOG became more routine on my annual arts schedule, I would build my holiday wardrobe with FOG in mind. I spend most of my December in small town Colorado for the holidays, so FOG San Francisco is a mental focus to look forward to in the new year.  

Jonathan Carver Moore.

Art fairs are more than just the art, because not everyone is a collector, but art fairs are built for the community to stroll through and be inspired by - so most importantly for the community and host city - it’s about the experience. FOG is about wearing your winter’s best; picking your favorite scarf; braving the wet streets of San Francisco and cozying up to your favorite gallery. Think of FOG as a romance novel - the place to crush on your favorite dealer; run into an ex and catch up; enjoy a seasonal latte and take an Uber home together. 

Kimberly Johansson of Johansson Projects.

Jessica Silverman Gallery threw a who’s who party with numerous other art dealers in attendance, notably Los Angeles’ Shulamit Nazarian and global art dealer, Nino Mier. Silverman was located at the A-list spot, front and center of the fair, reminding everyone that this is San Francisco and not LA or Manhattan. Throughout Pier 3 you had an elite cadre of The Bay Area’s finest galleries and enough LA and New York galleries to make FOG a reckoning force to pay attention to. However, this time around, FOG expanded itself to Pier 2 calling it FOG FOCUS, described as in an invitational designed to showcase art by young artists as an integral part of San Francisco's creative ecosystem. It is worth mentioning this group, because I found the FOCUS experience one of the best parts of the fair that felt more spacious and accessible to the commoners then the usual intensity of the institutional galleries next door. The exhibitors in FOG FOCUS are worth mentioning:

Commonwealth and Council, Los Angeles

Crèvecœur, Paris

CULT Aimee Friberg, San Francisco

Et al., San Francisco

George Adams Gallery, New York

Johansson Projects, Oakland

Jonathan Carver Moore, San Francisco

OCHI, Los Angeles

Schlomer Haus Gallery, San Francisco

CULT Aimee Friberg threw an unforgettable party that spilled into the back offices with food and a live DJ. Art dealer Jonathan Carver Moore was his cheery enthusiast self, while next to him collectors and patrons flooded Lucy Sparrow’s Feltz Bagels booth. Overall, FOG nearly doubled its size and kept its high profile of institutional galleries worthy of Basel and Frieze. The only thing missing was the fireplace…oh…and let’s not forget it was the weekend the 49ers advanced to the NFC Championship, making a record 19th appearance. Art, rain, and football - the greatest combination? Hell yeah. 

Micki Meng Gallery.


See the short film I made for my YouTube Channel celebrating arts and culture:

FOG describes itself:  “FOG has become a focal point for the design and arts communities on the West Coast and further afield. The fair is synonymous with a uniquely pioneering spirit due to its bold hybrid approach and intimate presentation of art and design, dynamic programming on-site and its community-led mission to champion art and design in its historic Fort Mason setting. Building on FOG’s longstanding commitment to cultural institutions, the fair’s Preview Gala is honored to continue its crucial support of SFMOMA’s exhibitions and education programs. FOG represents a key moment in which the local and global community congregate to engage in critical dialogue, artistic exchanges, and a shared passion for creative pursuits.” WM

Catherine Clarke Gallery

Nino Mier Gallery

Art Dealer John Berggruen

Sarah Myerscough Gallery

Jessica Silverman Gallery


Eric Minh Swenson

Eric Minh Swenson is a Los Angeles-based filmmaker and photographer who documents the arts and culture of Southern California, including arts in many communities throughout the country. He has filmed numerous documentaries on artists, exhibitions, and cultural events. He documents art openings and exhibitions. He focuses on process, concept and craft in his films, while finding humor and essence in his subjects.

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