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SOFA CHICAGO 2014 Lecture Series Schedule 

All lectures will take place during the fair at Navy Pier's Festival Hall unless otherwise noted. Admission to the Lecture Series is included with purchase of SOFA ticket. Complete lecture schedule below. 

Friday, November 7

SNAG Emerging Artists 2014

9 – 10 am  Room 327

Lauren Tickle $32 US Dollars, 2012 brooch US currency, silver, katex, monofilament, surgical steel 9.52 x 12.7 x 1.9 inches photo: Rachit Shukla

Three exceptional emerging artists: Steven Gordon Holman, Lauren Tickle, and Demitra Thomloudis speak about their innovative approaches to making jewelry and objects.

Artists represented by Charon Kransen Arts, New York, NY

Presented by the Society of North American Goldsmiths (SNAG)

Stone Gate, 2007 glazed earthenware, raku-fired 14.5 x 16 x 6 inches Collection of the artist photo: Brian Oglesbee

Internationally recognized ceramic sculptor Wayne Higby is the subject of a traveling retrospective organized by the ASU Art Museum. In conjunction with its fall 2014 stop at the Racine Art Museum, Bruce W. Pepich, RAM’s Executive Director and Curator of Collections, interviews the artist about the development of his work and career path from the 1960s to the present.

Presented by Racine Art Museum, Racine, WI

Thomas Huang Infinity Bench, 2011 bamboo, fiberglass, acrylic, rubber trim 18 x 60 x 24 inches

How do artists think about change and what precipitates a shift in their work?  Are transformations inevitable, planned or by surprise?  How does process or material affect the possibility for transition? Artists Raissa Bump, Cristina Cordova, Arthur Gonzalez, and Tom Huang discuss the unique internal and external challenges they experience as their work grows and evolves.  Moderated by Jean W. McLaughlin, Director, Penland School of Crafts, Penland, NC.

Artists represented in order of listing: Hedone Gallery, Leonia, NJ; Ann Nathan Gallery, Chicago, IL; John Natsoulas Gallery, Davis, CA; and Wexler Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

Presented by Penland School of Crafts, Penland, NC

Carrying Devices and Other Absurdities

10:30 – 11:30 am  Room 327

Carrying Device For a Sponge, 1998 goldplated brass, steel, natural sponge 120 x 80 x 60 mm Collection of Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, Middlesbrough, UK

Norwegian craftsman and jewelry engineer, Sigurd Bronger challenges the jewelry tradition with absurdities he calls carrying devices: finely polished objects that combine natural and mundane materials with precious metals in ways that are surprising, technically advanced, and humorous.  Bronger discusses his inspiration, process, and materials for his one-of-a-kind pieces that playfully question the notions of design, jewelry, art, and engineering.

Represented by Galleri Format Oslo, Oslo, Norway

Presented by the Society of North American Goldsmiths (SNAG)

Fiber Art in the Fine Art Museum II

10:30 – 11:30 am  Room 324

Ed Rossbach John Travolta, 1978 newspaper and reeds tied with cotton twine and electrical tape, and heat-transfer-printed silk plain weave (organza) 40.6 x 22.9 x 17.8 cm The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Daphne Farago Collection
The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston holds more than 250 works of contemporary fiber art, recognizing the importance of collecting contemporary fiber art today, as well as, building on their historic textile and costume collection.  Lauren D. Whitley, Curator in the David and Roberta Logie Department of Textile and Fashion Arts at the MFA, Boston, traces the significance and development of the Museum’s fiber art collection, the generosity of donors, and possible directions for the future.
Presented by Friends of Fiber Art International

Is it all About Beauty: Aesthetics and Ethics?

11:30 am - 12:30 pm  Room 326

Vivian Beer Anchored Candy No. 6, 2014 steel, automotive paint, 60 x 21 x 42 inches photo: Wexler Gallery

What drives our desire to make or appreciate a genre of art? How do the convictions of makers, collectors, or curators steer creation, concept, and relevance?  Panelists Dr. Glenn Adamson, Nanette L. Laitman Director, Museum of Arts and Design, New York, NY; Vivian Beer, artist/designer; and Cindi Strauss, curator of Modern and Contemporary Decorative Arts and Design, Museum of Fine Art, Houston, TX discuss and debate contemporary issues around the beauty of making and acquiring art objects as they relate to our present culture and society. Moderated by Doug Casebeer, Associate Director and Artistic Director for Ceramics and Sculpture at Anderson Ranch Arts Center, Snowmass Village, CO.

Vivian Beer is represented by Wexler Gallery, Philadelphia, PA

Presented by Anderson Ranch Arts Center, Snowmass Village, CO

Witness to the Rescued (detail), 2014 lampworked glass 42 x 22 x 14.5 inches photo: Lynn Thompson

Reflecting a mastery of flameworking methodology, glass artist Janis Miltenberger creates exquisitely crafted and highly detailed architectural forms that skillfully coax the viewer into her private world of visual analogy. Miltenberger discusses the elusive qualities and vulnerabilities of both her material and subject matter in her evocative sculptural forms.

Represented by Thomas R. Riley Galleries, Cleveland, OH

Donna Schneier's historic gift of 132 pieces of international studio jewelry and the seminal exhibition that followed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, document a vibrant period in which jewelers experimented with new materials, processes and concepts. Schneier is joined by jewelry artists Bruce Metcalf and Kiff Slemmons to explore how this all happened and what impact it will have on the field. Moderated by Suzanne Ramljak, editor of Metalsmith magazine.  Catalog signing to follow in Donna Schneier Fine Arts, booth 820

Presented by the Society of North American Goldsmiths (SNAG)

Presented by the Society of North American Goldsmiths (SNAG)

The Future of Glass is Now

1 - 2:30 pm  Room 326

Norwood Viviano Mining Industries: Detroit City Center (detail), 2013 rapid prototyped pattern kilncast glass/fabricated steel 38.5 x 14.625 x 16.625 inches

Glass is attracting an entirely new generation of artists who are redefining its role as an expressive medium in the 21st century. Panelists Dr. Glenn Adamson, Nanette L. Laitman Director of the Museum of Art and Design, New York, NY; Katya Heller, Director, Heller Gallery, New York, NY; Charlotte Potter, Glass Studio Manager and Programming Director, Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, VA; and artists Mark A. Reigelman II and Norwood Viviano highlight and discuss these fresh directions and how they are engaging new audiences.  Moderated by James Baker, Executive Director, Pilchuck Glass School, Seattle, WA

Artists Reigelman and Viviano are represented by Heller Gallery, New York, NY

Presented by Pilchuck Glass School, Seattle, WA

Famille Noire Flower Vase with Bouquet of White Roses, 2002-2004 ceramic 27 x 20.7 cm photo: Richard Milette

Internationally renowned, Québec ceramicist Léopold L. Foulem highlights his unconventional and rigorous approach to ceramics as an autonomous art form – demonstrated through a rich arsenal of humor, irony and provocation. Foulem surveys his conceptual strategies realized throughout his singular body of works as well as the historical and artistic connections in his highly contemporary series of spatial oddities.

Represented by Option Art, Montreal, Quebec

Presented by Ceramics Monthly

A Sense of Duty: A Sense of Self

2 - 3 pm  Room 327

Red Necklace, 2014 corals, synthetic fiber, pigment, silicone, rubber, silk cocoons, epoxy resin, slag, glass,18k yellow gold 8.5 x 8.5 x 1.75 inches

Greek-American artist Efharis Alepedis speaks about the often-complicated process of maneuvering between her inherited family businesses and her chosen profession as a jeweler. Alepedis discusses her ability of remaining focused while creating jewelry for the past 20 years, her process and her love of collecting jewelry.

Represented by Charon Kransen Arts, New York, NY

Architect’s rendering of the interior of the new galleries for contemporary art and design in glass at The Corning Museum of Glass. credit: Tom Phifer and Partners, New York, NY, courtesy of The Corning Museum of Glass

On March 20, 2015, The Corning Museum of Glass will open its new North Wing, the world’s largest space dedicated to the presentation of contemporary art in glass.  Designed by Thomas Phifer and Partners in New York, the wing will include a light-filled 26,000-square-foot contemporary art and design gallery building, as well as a new 500-seat glassmaking demonstration and artist residency venue in the renovated facility of the former Steuben Glass factory. Panelists from The Corning Museum of Glass: Karol Wight, Executive Director; Rob Cassetti, Senior Director, Creative Services & Marketing; and Eric Meek, Hot Glass Show/GlassLab Manager discuss how the 100,000-square-foot addition will dramatically enhance the visitor experience for the Museum’s growing domestic and international audiences.

Presented by The Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, NY

CONNECT: The Art of Engagement

3 - 4 pm  Room 326

Pratt Institute 2014 Rendering

At time when the world of art is becoming more elitist, obscure and separated from daily life and society at large, what is the responsibility (if any) for art education to encourage engagement with the public at large through, if not art itself, at least through creativity that celebrates the universal human condition? How can this be encouraged and from the creatives point of view, sustained and funded.  With CONNECT participants: John DeSalvo, Illinois Institute of Technology; Deborah Schneiderman, Pratt Institute; Brett Snyder, University of California, Davis; Stephen Slaughter, University of Cincinnati; Monica Correia, University of Iowa; Charlotte Hamlin; University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth; moderated by Garth Clark, Chief Editor of CFile, an online weekly on global contemporary ceramics and design, art and architecture.

Presented by Chubb Personal Insurance

Life on Planet Earth

3:30 - 4:30 pm  Room 327


Artist April Surgent spent a month in Antarctica as a fellow of the National Science Foundation. The trip resulted in a new body of work in which she renders long exposure photographs taken with a pinhole camera in cameo engraved glass.  Pieces from her time at Palmer Station, the only US research station north of the Antarctic Circle, describe the light conditions she experienced and address some of today’s environmental issues in the South Pole region.  April Surgent will discuss her work with Dr. William Ganis, Chairperson of the Department of Art and Design at Indiana State University and Diane C. Wright, the Carolyn and Richard Barry Curator of Glass at the Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, VA. Moderated by James Baker, Executive Director of the Pilchuck Glass School, Seattle, WA.

Represented by Heller Gallery, New York, NY

Artist Howard Ben Tré conducts a free flowing discussion of his 35 years of creating, followed by a Q & A with the audience.

Habatat Galleries

Saturday, November 8

Mel Douglas: point.line.plane

9 - 10 am  Room 324

Turning Tide #2, Gradient, Linear 2014 blown, coldworked and engraved glass 8.75 x 8.85 x 8 9.5 x 9.5 x 9.5 8.25 x 8.75 x 8.75
Australian glass artist Mel Douglas discusses her practice, ideas, inspirations and experiences.  Mel Douglas’ engraved glass vessels and wall panels are beautifully resolved examples of simplicity - a meditation on the elements of light, space and time.  She has gained a significant reputation in Australia and internationally since graduating with 1st class honours from the Canberra School of Art Glass Workshop fourteen years ago.  Since then, she has exhibited widely and received prestigious prizes including the Ranamok Glass Prize, the LinoTagliapietra Prize of Young Glass at the Glasmuseet Ebeltoft in Denmark and the Tom Malone Prize at the Art Gallery of Western Australia.  Her work is in collections including the National Gallery of Australia, Parliament House, Australian National Art Glass Collection, Corning Museum of Glass, and Cincinnati Art Museum.

Represented by Beaver Galleries, Canberra, Australia

Heather Benning The Death of the Dollhouse Fire #2 Kodak Endura digital print 20 x 30 inches

Saskatchewan, Canada has always been at the cutting edge of the Arts and Craft movement.  Often considered quiet and subdued, this influential province engages artists in wild and diverse ways yet maintains a uniqueness all its own.  Curator Michael Hosaluk discusses how this inspirational place influences the material and content of the work presented at SOFA CHICAGO.

Presented by Creative Saskatchewan, Saskatchewan, Canada

John Kiley Rising Halo, 2014 glass 17 x 17 x 17
Long-time Seattle gallerist Bill Traver is joined by Tina Aufiero, Artistic Director of Pilchuck Glass School, Seattle, WA, and Seattle-based artist John Kiley to discuss the evolution of glass in art.  How did the medium of glass transcend from functional and decorative to the fine arts realm? How is the material relevant to contemporary art today? This trio will explore the American Studio Glass Movement from the perspective of a galleriist, academic, and new generation glassmaker.  

Presented by Traver Gallery, Seattle, WA

Encouraging Bamboo

10:30 - 11:30 am  Room 324

Nakamura Tomonori Origin of All, 2014 madake and rattan 18 x 24 x 16 inches

As Japanese society evolves both technologically and economically, the universal threats of change to traditional ways of life results in fewer senior master artists to share their wealth of nuanced skills to the younger generation in this important traditional craft.  Steven Halvorsen, Collections Manager, TAI Modern presents an overview of recent efforts by the gallery, the Oita Prefectural Government, and individual master artists as they all endeavor to invigorate the discourse, find a balance between innovation and convention, and encourage and mentor the next generation of bamboo artists in Japan.

Presented by TAI Modern, Santa Fe, NM

The Craft School Experience

11 am - 12 pm  Room 326

John McQueen Tilting at Windmills, 2011 49 x 48 x 32 inches willow branches, waxed linen Represented by Duane Reed Gallery

Directors from five U.S. craft schools featuring intensive residential workshops present the art and stories of master teachers, students and artists whose work has been shaped by their participation in this transformative style of education.  Panelists include Bill May, Director, Arrowmont School of Arts & Crafts, Gatlinburg, TN; Stuart Kestenbaum, Director, Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, Deer Isle, ME; Jean McLaughlin, Director, Penland School of Crafts, Penland, NC; Kristin Muller, Director, Peters Valley School of Craft, Layton, NJ; and James Baker, Director, Pilchuck Glass School, Seattle, WA.  Moderated by Ennis Carter, Director, Social Impact Studios.  Special thanks to Chubb Personal Insurance for their support of this lecture.

Presented in conjunction with the SOFA CHICAGO special exhibit The Craft School Experience

The Encounter of Science and Art in Glass

11:30 am – 12:30 pm  Room 327

Fibonacci 2 yellow, blue, green, red and clear optical glass 9.44 x 3.54 x 5.90 inches

Hungarian glass artist Péter Botos, in conversation with his son Andor, highlights the stages of his career and explains how the principles of color, form and space translate his concepts into geometric, minimalist constructions; particularly highlighting the importance of and reasoning for incorporating the laws of optics into his oeuvre.  Considered a trendsetter of Eastern European art glass, Botos shares the artists who have inspired him both at home and abroad and what's still to come.

Represented by Palette Contemporary Art and Craft, Albuquerque, NM

Kirk Mangus: Things Love

12 – 1 pm  Room 324

Warrior Bottle, 2012 earthenware, wheel-thrown with carving and small sculptural additions 18 x 10 x 10 inches photo: Kevin Olds

Opening in fall 2014, the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland presents the first comprehensive survey of the work of Kirk Mangus (1952-2013), an internationally recognized ceramicist and head of the ceramics department for 30 years at Kent State UniversityRose Bouthillier, Associate Curator and Publications Manager, MOCA Cleveland, presents an introduction to this notable artist and exhibition highlighting his immeasurable contributions to the field. Eva Kwong, Mangus’ widow, and Mindy Solomon, Owner, Mindy Solomon Gallery, Miami, FL offer perspectives on Mangus’s influences, forms, and style – all of which propose an unguarded, impassioned way of thinking, living, and loving.

Represented by Mindy Solomon, Miami, FL

Rose Bouthillier and Eva Kwong sign copies of the monograph produced in association with Mangus’s survey exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary at Cleveland following this lecture at Mindy Solomon Gallery, booth 203

Presented by the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland, Cleveland, OH

Will Schlough Very Magic Rocks, 2014 glass, sand, aquarium, water 36 x 36 x 72 inches photo: Nathan J. Shaulis

Artists Jason Forck, Ashley McFarland, Juliet Pusateri, and Will Schlough discuss the creative potential of collaboration and exchange achieved through the Idea Furnace – a six-month residency at the Pittsburgh Glass Center that pairs glass and non-glass artists together for explorations in material, content, and process.  Highlights include the synergy of working collaboratively, the power of the familiar vs. the unknown, the surprises and challenges of working in glass, and the effects of the project on their work moving forward. Moderated by Heather McElwee, Executive Director, Pittsburgh Glass Center, Pittsburgh, PA.

Presented by the Pittsburgh Glass Center in conjunction with the SOFA CHICAGO special exhibit Idea Furnace

Transition From Wood to Glass

1 - 2 pm  Room 327

Morph-VI, 2009 black cherry 16 x 10 x 6 inches and Ode-to-Morph, 2013 jade green kiln cast crystal 20x13x9 inches

Borrowing from and applying his 40 years as an accomplished wood artist, Harry Pollitt translates his celebrated aesthetic into kiln cast crystal that successfully achieves the same flowing, sensuous curves and negative space that make his wood sculptures so compelling.   Pollitt discusses his “cross-over moment,” his exploration and remarkable developments in glass, and the dialogue between these two distinct mediums.  

Represented by Thomas R. Riley Galleries, Cleveland, OH

Misfit Cup Liberation Project Image from 2013 NCECA Biennial at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft courtesy Erik Hester, HCCC

For 25,000 years, ceramic objects have shaped culture. Whether used to safely store and efficiently serve food, transform experience through ceremony and ritual, or in the context of contemporary, socially engaged practices, ceramics and craft objects have been touchstones for human purpose and connection. Michael J. Strand, Associate Professor and Head of Visual Arts at North Dakota State University, demonstrates the potential of objects in the 21st century to be effective catalysts for community cohesion and social change. 

Presented by National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA)

Gord Peteran A Table Made of Furniture pieces of old furniture 32 x 36 x 16 inches

The aesthetic landscape of the 21st century reflects an interdisciplinary shift in boundaries – be it social, material, narrative, or technical.  Contemporary wood artists are embracing this exciting expansion and blurring supposedly distinct categories with great success both individually and collectively.  Artists John Beaver, David Ellsworth, and Gord Peteran in conversation with Emily Zilber, Ronald C. and Anita L. Wornick Curator of Contemporary Decorative Arts, The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston discuss the historical context of their work, the power of making without limitations, and the boundless new directions for the field. 

Artists represented in order of listing: Thomas R. Riley Galleries, Cleveland, OH; William Zimmer Gallery, Mendocino, CA; and Wexler Gallery, Philadelphia PA.

Presented by Collectors of Wood Art in conjunction with the SOFA CHICAGO special exhibit BEYOND BOUNDARIES: Wood Art for the 21st Century

Andy Buck Side Table mahogany, painted poplar, rosewood 24 x 22 x 16 inches

Committed to nurturing the creative spirit, Anderson Ranch Arts Center is a celebrated world leader in the growth and development of the visual arts through innovative workshops, transformative residencies for artists, and critically acclaimed visiting artist projects. Doug Casebeer, Associate Director and Artistic Director for Ceramics and Sculpture at Anderson Ranch surveys 50 years of exceptional art making and the remarkable legacy of artists who have been pivotal to their success. 

Presented by Anderson Ranch Arts Center in conjunction with the SOFA CHICAGO special exhibit Anderson Ranch: Mentoring Artistic Excellence

Turning Firewood into Form

3 - 4 pm  Room 324

Scottish wood turner Thomas Hopkins Gibson explores his ongoing relationship with the woods at Dumfries House Estate. The trees he once climbed as a boy have now become the means through which he explores an ongoing fascination with the material properties of wood. Using timber normally discarded by sawmills, Thomas works with naturally occurring “faults” to create large scale dynamic turned forms that push at the limits of the material.

Represented by Craft Scotland, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
presented by Craft Scotland, Edinburgh, United Kingdom

Comfort Me: A Conversation

3:30 - 4:30 pm  Room 326

Emily Staugaitis Untitled mixed media

Artists/MFA candidates Andrea Alonge, Emily Staugaitis and Jenny Walker in conversation with Mark Newport, Artist in Residence and Head of Fiber Department, Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, MI, discuss the materials, forms, and processes of their provocative fiber works, their specific exploration of the notion of comfort, and how the unique environment at Cranbrook facilitates their critical and artistic development.

Presented by Cranbrook Academy of Art in conjunction with the SOFA CHICAGO special exhibit Comfort Me

Richard Jolley Cycle of Life: Within the Power of Dreams and the Wonder of Infinity (detail), 2009-2014 blown, cast, and acid-etched glass, and welded steel with patina 12 x 105 x 30 feet courtesy: Knoxville Museum of Art, Gift of Ann and Steve Bailey photo: Elizabeth Felicella

Knoxville Museum of Art Executive Director David Butler and artist Richard Jolley talk about the successful recalibration of the museum’s collecting and programming efforts, with a new focus on the art and artists of the region and the embrace of glass as a fine-art medium.  The “game changer” is the recent installation of Jolley’s epic Cycle of Life, the world’s largest figural glass sculpture and a major catalyst for the KMA’s institutional renewal.  Their remarks are followed by a  screening of Richard Jolley:  Larger Than Life, a 30-minute film produced by Jupiter Entertainment, which documents the six-year gestation of Cycle of Life and its significance for the KMA and the community.    

Richard Jolley is represented by Litvak Gallery, Tel-Aviv, Israel

The Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass (AACG) is proud to award The Knoxville Museum of Art, Knoxville, TN the 2014 AACG Achievement Award for outstanding contributions to the contemporary glass movement.

Presented by the Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass

SOFA CHICAGO Announces 2014 Sponsors SOFA CHICAGO Announces 2014 Sponsors
(1120 KB),  13-Oct-2014 08:38 PM
21st Annual SOFA CHICAGO Announces 2014 Sponsors    Download 


The Sculpture Objects Functional Art + Design (SOFA) Fair in Chicago is the premier gallery-presented art fair dedicated to three-dimensional art and design. On par with Art Basel and TEFAF Maastricht, SOFA is produced by Urban Expositions.

Critically acclaimed and continuously running since 1994, what distinguishes SOFA from other top art events is its focus on three-dimensional artworks that cross the boundaries of fine art, decorative art and design.  SOFA is noted for its exceptional presentation, with an elite selection of international dealers presenting for sale one-of-a-kind masterworks in handsome, custom-designed gallery exhibits.

SOFA is held annually in the fall at Chicago's major destination, Navy Pier, with an average of 80 dealers and 35,000 people attending.

SOFA CHICAGO / Tickets & Showtimes

Urban Expositions presents SOFA CHICAGO 2015 at Navy Pier's Festival Hall (600 E. Grand Avenue, Chicago, Ill. 60611) Nov. 6 - 8, with the Opening Night Preview Thursday, Nov. 5.

Day Date Hours Purchase Tickets
Thursday Nov. 5 7 pm to 9 pm Tickets ($50)
Friday Nov. 6 11 am to 7 pm Tickets ($20)
Saturday Nov. 7 11 am to 7 pm Tickets ($20)
Sunday Nov. 8 Noon to 6 pm Tickets ($20)

One general admission ticket of $20 admits visitors to the fair, related lecture series, special exhibits and events. $30 three-day passes and discounted student, senior and group tickets are also available. The public is also invited to the Opening Night Preview, Thursday, Nov. 5, 7 to 9 p.m. Preview tickets are $50.