Sculpture Objects & Functional Art Fair in NYC April 20-23

With a new design scheme and exciting roster of international dealers, The Sculpture Objects & Functional Art Fair (SOFA NEW YORK) celebrates its 15th anniversary on Friday, April 20 through Monday, April 23, 2012 at the Park Avenue Armory, 67th Street and Park Avenue. The fair’s invitation-only Opening Night VIP Preview is Thursday, April 19 from 5-7 pm, followed by a Public Preview from 7-9 pm by ticket purchase. “We are delighted to celebrate SOFA NEW YORK’s 15th anniversary in the capital of the art world,” says Mark Lyman, President of The Art Fair Company and founder of SOFA. “SOFA dealers have always been at the forefront of promoting studio artists and designers when they were just starting to gain recognition.” According to Lyman, SOFA was instrumental in bringing attention to luminaries such as Rudy Autio, Ruth Duckworth, Wendell Castle, Olga de Amaral, Dale Chihuly, Jun Kaneko, Betty Woodman, Stanislav Libensky and Jaroslava Brychtova, Sam Maloof, William Morris, Beatrice Wood, Philip Moulthrop, George Nakashima, Ted Noten, Lenore Tawney, Albert Paley, Ed Rossbach, Lino Tagliapietra, Peter Voulkos, and Michael Zobel. “These artists are always breaking new ground and SOFA dealers continue to re-introduce them, as well as many up-and-coming artists, to a whole new audience,” says Lyman, whose career as an art fair organizer spans 25 years. Donna Davies, Director of SOFA fairs in New York, Chicago and Santa Fe adds, “In celebration of SOFA NEW YORK’s milestone 15th anniversary, plans are underway to reinvigorate the design and aesthetics of the exhibition hall. We look forward to presenting an exciting group of new dealers this fair who are strong in international ceramics.” Among the new faces Davies cites:  Cultural Connections CC (Missenden, England), specialists in Danish ceramics. “We look forward to presenting a new generation of Danish contemporary studio ceramicists with the skill and creative force to stand alongside their eminent and internationally admired colleagues,” said gallery director Birthe Fraser. “The goal is to show how these artists’ works blend, both visually and technically.” Among the artists are Ninna Goetzsche, Dorte Visby, Vibeke Stubbe Teglbjerg, Jean-Francois Thierion, Mette Augustinus Poulsen, and Marie Torbensdatter Hermann, about whom Fraser will speak in the SOFA NEW YORK Lecture Series. Additionally, Fraser will offer a small private collection of Gutte Eriksen’s works (1918 - 2008). Eriksen, whom Fraser called “the grand dame of Danish ceramics,” was awarded the prestigious Thorvald Bindesbøll Medal of the Danish Academy of Fine Arts in 1992, and in 2000 received The Prince Eugen Medal, awarded by the Swedish Royal Family for outstanding artistic achievement.  Erskine, Hall & Coe located in London’s Mayfair, specialists in 20th century and contemporary ceramics. Former director of the prestigious Galerie Besson, Matthew Hall established the new gallery with his partners in the same Bond Street location when seminal ceramics dealer Anita Besson retired in June. The gallery opened in November and will bring an impressive roster of international ceramic artists to SOFA NEW YORK. Represented artists include Lucie Rie and Hans Coper, Jennifer Lee, Gwyn Hanssen Pigott, Shozo Michikawa, and Sara Flynn.  Flow Gallery, also from London: Yvonna Demczynska of Flow said, “Our international selection of artists will include Dutch artist Henk Wolvers, master of porcelain who creates colorful, subtle forms alive with movement and translucency. Wolvers’s work, Lines, was recently purchased for The Victoria & Albert Museum in London. The Museum of Arts and Design in New York also purchased a Wolvers piece for its permanent collection. At SOFA NEW YORK, we will be offering Wolvers’s wall-based installations as well as beautiful, lace-trimmed vessels in cobalt blue.” Returning dealers gearing up for strong SOFA NEW YORK presentations:  Ferrin Gallery (Pittsfield, MA), plans another exciting group presentation. “COVET is the concept for our stand this year,” said co-owner, Leslie Ferrin. “We have invited ten artists to each choose an object in a museum, and to correspond with its respective curators to create an artwork or series based on that object.” Ferrin selected Molly Hatch as her featured artist. Hatch will collaborate with the Museum of Fine Arts Boston and its curator, Emily Zilber, the first Ronald L. and Anita C. Wornick Curator of Contemporary Decorative Arts. 31 year old Hatch has recently designed an exclusive collection of ceramics for Anthropologie. Other stand-out COVET artists include Giselle Hicks, collaborating with The Metropolitan Museum, New York; and porcelain artist Chris Antemann, working with the Meissen Collection in Germany.  TAI Gallery (Santa Fe, NM) will have “an outstanding selection of Japanese Bamboo art. Among the artworks we will show are a wonderful new series of bamboo and lacquer vases by Fujinuma Noboru. His skill in working with bamboo was recently highlighted by his solo exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago. This recent series of pieces shows a whole other side to Fujinuma’s vast skill and talent. Working with layers of colored lacquer and texture, he creates a rich visual surface on each artwork.”  Megumi Ogita Gallery (Tokyo, Japan), focusing on young Japanese and American artists remarkable “for their absorption and adaptation of traditional materials and techniques in startling new expressions.”  Sarah Myerscough Fine Art of London’s Mayfair will again present a prestigious roster of international sculptural and turned wood artists. As always, cutting-edge international art jewelry promises to be very strong at the fair on offer by premier dealers Charon Kransen Arts (New York), Ornamentum (Hudson, NY) and Sienna Gallery (Lenox, MA). Kransen reports he will feature jewelry by Monica Checci, Jaclyn Davidson, Felieke van Der Leest, and Iris Tsante of such unusual materials as mild steel, tin, textiles, plastic, and pencils! Additional returning galleries of note include: Duane Reed Gallery (St. Louis, MO); Heller Gallery (New York); Jane Sauer Gallery (Santa Fe, NM); Lacoste Gallery (Concord, MA); Scott Jacobson Gallery (New York); Wexler Gallery (Philadelphia); and William Zimmer Gallery (Mendocino, CA). The acclaimed SOFA Lecture Series, free with paid admission, is well into the planning stages. 470 fairgoers enjoyed lectures last year. Leading the way on this year’s docket is glass artist/designer Dan Dailey (Schantz Galleries, Stockbridge, MA), internationally-known for his vibrant, humorous sculpture and luminary art. A VIP Program for upper-level collectors and gallery clients will again offer VIP cardholders ultra-exclusive private collections and curator-led museum exhibitions tours.

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