The Art Fair Company Hosts the 19th Annual SOFA Chicago at Navy Pier


An international feast for the eyes….Sculpture Objects, Functional Art + Design Fair – SOFA

Chicago’s Art Fair Company hosted the 19th annual SOFA CHICAGO at Navy Pier’s Festival Hall on November 2-4, with an opening preview on Thursday, November 1 from 5-9PM. More than 60 dealers from 11 countries displayed their art to over 32,000 guests through the weekend.

Opening night began with Stephen Rolfe Powell introducing Italian glass Maestro Lino Tagliapietra, who cut the ribbon and welcomed attendees along with Michelle Boone, commissioner, City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events; Daniel Schulman, program director, Visual Art of the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events; Silvio Marchetti, director, Italian Cultural Institute; Alessandro Motta, Consul General of Italy in Chicago; and Joanna McNamara, strategic development manager, Chubb Personal Insurance; and Scott Zuercher, area general manager, Audi of America, Inc.

The longest running art fair in Chicago, SOFA featured extarordinary art from around the world, including a celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Studio Glass Movement. The glass movement begin at the Toledo Art Museum in Toledo, Ohio, by Harvey K. Littleton, ceramics professor, University of Wisconsin, and Dominick Labino, research scientists and vice president, Toledo’s Johns-Mansville glass plant.

Following a visit to Murano, Italy, and a lot of experimenting, these gentlemen took glass blowing to the next level beginning at the University of Wisconsin where Dale Chihuly and Marvin Lipofsky studied their trade. Highlight of the fair – the Corning Museum of Glass’ Hot Glass Roadshow which exhibited glassblowing demonstrations much to the delight of the attendees.

“Celebrating this important anniversary of the Studio Glass Movement was a wonderful way to commence SOFA CHICAGO, and we are honored that civic officials, our sponsors, VIPs and collectors came to take part in this historical milestone,” shared Donna Davies, Director of SOFA CHICAGO.

What was the biggest ticket item that sold? Hawk Galleries (Columbus, Ohio) sold William Morris’ life-size bronze Rhyton Bull sculpture for $325,000. Second place – PISMO Fine Art Glass (Denver, Colorado) sold a glass komono Spring Dawn by Markow & Norris for $125,000.

Jim Schantz, owner/director, Schantz Galleries (Stockbridge, Massachussettes) commented, “SOFA CHICAGO 2012 was certainly one of the highest quality shows to date. Our gallery’s feature exhibition of Lino Tagliapietra’s newest works drew a great deal of attention. We have already placed three major works and saw a great response from collectors and museums interested in the Lino’s new glass panels. They are a testament to Lino’s unending creativity and continual fascination with the glass medium as an art form.”

VIPs attending the event were invited to attend and participate in 22 tours, lectures and special events, both on- and off-site, including a tour of the Richard H. Driehaus Museum and lectures given by gallerists and artists.

Mark your calendars, SOFA CHICAGO will celebrate its 20th anniversary next year, November 1-3, 2013, with opening night to be held on October 31.

Photos by Cheri Eisenberg



About Cindy Burns

Currently writing for TCW's 'Woman About Town' column, Cindy Burns covers Chicago's social scene, events, fashion, and interviews women and men who are making a difference in the world. With an M.A. in American History from DePaul University, Ms. Burns is an author, freelance writer, avid reader and researcher. Ms. Burns has spent over 20 years serving on charitable boards and organizations, and currently serves as a member of the Women's Board of the Joffrey Ballet and the Women's Auxiliary Board of the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicago. She is also an Honorary Member of the Children's Service Board of Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital. When Ms. Burns isn't running around Chicago covering current events, you can find her biking, on the tennis courts, or hiking in a mountainous region of her choice.