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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

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Arts + CultureArtLooking for a new art crush? That's more than...

Looking for a new art crush? That’s more than fine… it’s Superfine

The independent art fair at Fort Mason hits a sweet spot between accessibility and expression, with plenty of local flair.

Art fairs are blowing up in San Francisco, and why not? Our scene is just as worthy as every other—if not more so, as evidenced by the wild de Young Open at the end of last year, with all the boisterous curlicues and prickly corners of contemporary Bay Area expression on full display. After years of soaking up Art Basel air kisses and Whitney Biennial kerfuffles, we deserve it, dammit.

The lovely thing about Superfine Art Fair (returning to Fort Mason Thu/21-Sun/24) is its democratic accessibility balanced with actual, quite affordable art you want to take home. Not quite as free-for-all as the awesome Pancakes & Booze & Art pop-up parties, not quite as institutional as the always-revelatory FOG, and not nearly as massive as Open Studios, Superfine has, well, flair. And champagne, and DJs, and jazz, and talks, and a live art battle. Plus, the opening party (Thu/21, 6pm-10pm) is a sweet way to mingle.

“Over 70% of the artists in Superfine SF hail from California and of those the vast majority are from the Bay Area,” Superfine co-founder and CEO Alex Mitow told me. “We offer a needed spark to the year-round art-buying market in the Bay Area, by providing an elevated but fun art discovery experience for people who don’t necessarily consider themselves collectors. Because Superfine emphasizes the actual act of connecting with and buying art directly from artists, that’s the experience visitors are there for. We welcome everyone but notice that the majority of people who visit the fair walk out with a piece of art, and that means so much to the artists who participate.”

We like connecting with artists (there’s 100 of them at Superfine), especially as opportunities keep drying up for them in the city, despite our valiant and shining gallery scene.

“It can be hard to sell art directly from your studio and the amount of galleries available can’t provide regular opportunities to every artist, so we offer the artists who qualify a way to connect with an audience directly themselves,” says Mitow. “And as a visitor, you can expect to learn artists’ stories about their work directly from them, and take home work at affordable price points that’s truly meaningful to you, not some mass-produced shlock. And because of our format you have an equal chance of supporting a local SF artist, or discovering a new art crush from Mexico City or New York.”

The full disclosure is that 48 Hills is partnering with the fair (use code 48HILLS for 30% off tickets), but even fuller than that is I am an actual patron, having attended last year—and a fan since 2020, when the fair first landed in our fair burg. The art is colorful and fun, often quite deep. And how cool is it that people actually want to throw art fairs, anyway? Superfine is also a great excuse to get out to Fort Mason (you could stop for a little Germain cheer and gorgeous views at nearby Radhaus bar and restaurant before hitting up Thursday’s opening party or after a weekend visit).

And, yes, I did discover several new art crushes. Don’t tell my husband.

SUPERFINE ART FAIR Thu/21-Sun/24, Fort Mason, SF. More info here.

48 Hills welcomes comments in the form of letters to the editor, which you can submit here. We also invite you to join the conversation on our FacebookTwitter, and Instagram

Marke B.
Marke B.
Marke Bieschke is the publisher and arts and culture editor of 48 Hills. He co-owns the Stud bar in SoMa. Reach him at marke (at) 48hills.org, follow @supermarke on Twitter.

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