It was hard not to think of the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy when I went to the SOFA Expo this year. So many of the galleries showing there are from New York. I'm not sure how many of them were directly hit by the flood waters or how many dealers and artists lost people they cared about in the storm, but I kept thinking of that as I looked at the booths from New York. Whenever there are major floods, I can't look at a body of water the same way. Sure, Lake Michigan looks peaceful now, but its relative calm belies the fact that it has made many widows and orphans since the founding of Chicago. As as I walked further and further down to the end of Navy Pier, where the SOFA show was held, surrounded by the waters of lake, I felt a new respect for the power of nature.
Concerns about climate change and the environment were the theme of the large scale installation near the entrance, Bags Across the Globe, featuring a huge fused plastic shopping bag that hovers overhead like a cloud, raining down reusable shopping bags made from discarded fabric.
I found an incredible array of beautiful things.
|Pedestal: Jan Huling; Wall: Joseph Cavalieri|
|Pedestal- Adrian Arleo; Walls- Lesley Richmond|
|Specimen Products by Ian Schneller|
Seeing the fragile objects perched on pedestals, their unique beauty threatened by a careless bystander, reminded me of the precarious state of so many art world fixtures that we take for granted. I haven't even had the chance to visit New York since I got serious about being an artist, and there are so many galleries I never got to visit, and now I may never be able to. I hope that they will be rebuilt, and in the meantime I am glad I had the opportunity to see so much beautiful art from all over the world at Navy Pier.
Today is the last day of the SOFA show. See it while you can. It runs from noon until 6 p.m. today. For more information, visit the SOFA Expo site.