2019 special exhibits

Tara Barnes-Stumpf (American, b. 1987), To Have and to Hold Cake stand, 2016 Terracotta 15” x 9.75” x 11.75” IMoDD 2016.137 Gift of the Artist

Tara Barnes-Stumpf (American, b. 1987),
To Have and to Hold
Cake stand, 2016
15” x 9.75” x 11.75”
IMoDD 2016.137 Gift of the Artist

Dinnerware + Design + Decoration

The International Museum of Dinnerware Design’s collecting focus is dinnerware that is of notable design, whether unadorned or highly decorated. Therefore, at SOFA 2019, the emphasis will be on dinnerware + design + decoration -- the reason why collectors, the betrothed, and consumers are attracted to and choose the dinnerware they select, whether it’s exceptional studio pottery created by contemporary artists, or manufactured masterpieces from the great designers for industry. 

Dinnerware + Design + Decoration presents from the IMoDD permanent collection, masterpieces of both dinnerware genres, which exemplify a diverse range of form and surface decorating techniques.  Masterpieces of tableware displaying sculptural embellishments, carving, faceting, sprig decorating, decals, hand-painting, and various glazing techniques will be featured. White, undecorated teapots designed by Eva Zeisel for the Museum of Modern Art, as well as Hall China, will be juxtaposed with a plethora of colorful and even fanciful decorated forms. Contemporary work includes sublime faceted tea bowls by ceramic artist Jeff Oestreich, a masterful butter dish by Kate Maury, a monumental punch bowl with a spectacular crystalline glaze, and a celebratory cake stand by Tara Barnes-Stumpf, to name a few.  

Eva Zeisel is often quoted as saying to the consumer pondering which tableware to purchase, “When in doubt, choose white.” The idea is based on the fact that all food looks good on white china.  Decoration can add another dimension to the work, complementing and enriching (or in some cases, competing with) the basic form. Yet collectors and diners are drawn to not only good shapes and forms, but also to surface decorations and patterns on their tableware. IMoDD will present the dinnerware.  The audience at SOFA can decide what they like and then think about why they are drawn to the decorations.

Presented by the International Museum of Dinnerware Design - Curated by Dr. Margaret Carney, Director and Curator of the International Museum of Dinnerware Design

Detail from "Savage Liaisons"

Detail from "Savage Liaisons"

Savage Liaisons

Savage Liaisons is an exhibition that is the result of an ongoing artistic collaboration between two artists who, through experimentation in sculptural mosaics, have developed a visual partnership in their respective studios 9,670 miles apart. This show explores aspects of identity through the artists’ processes of utilizing their shared language of storytelling through interpretations of masks and facades in both classical and unexpected mosaic materials.

In Savage Liaisons, artists Karen Ami (Chicago, USA) and Pamela Irving (Melbourne, Australia) expand upon their individual practices and ongoing visual discourse manifested in their mosaics and drawings. Pulling inspiration from roles of characters in both American and Australian cultures, the artists explore dualistic qualities in the form of masks that reference contemporary icons and personalities. Ami and Irving each incorporate materials which challenge the norm; their methodology questions the traditions that exist within contemporary mosaic. This unique and shared language incorporates handmade ceramic pieces, broken china, byzantine glass, and miscellaneous objects that connects us viscerally to both the past and present worlds.

These artists reinterpret definitions of the mosaic art form and break the boundaries of traditional studio practice. Ami and Irving have the same veins of material training and education in art history, ceramics, sculpture and mosaics. The two met over a decade ago while leading their newly formed Mosaic Arts organizations in their respective countries. Both artists have become outliers and influencers in the modern mosaic movement. Their aesthetic connections- appreciation for fetish objects, underground humor, as well Paul Klee and Picasso- became the basis for an ongoing trade of work conversation and a visual chemistry, culminating in several exhibitions, despite their geographical differences.

Karen Ami utilizes handmade, inscribed broken ceramic pieces in her narratives. Her use of textured and incised ceramic slabs are imbued with words and hackneyed marks. Within her artworks lie fragmented stories, poems and drawings that inform and become the skin to her sculptural figures and tablets. Pamela Irving is a storyteller who uses playful and humorously menacing imagery to deliver her narratives. She uses found ceramics, old china, pottery, back stamps and other elements on her lively sculptural figures. The history of each fragment is often integral to the figures, giving each work its own voice.

Savage Liaisons questions the traditions that exist within contemporary mosaic and show an artistic interaction between the personalities around and within the works by artists working on opposite sides of the world. This exhibition showcases Ami and Irving’s powerful voices that break preconceptions of the mosaic art form and display a visual rhetoric that melds shared stories, journeys and the depths of artistic expression.

Presented by the Gallery for Contemporary Mosaics

Bound Cyclical (detail)

Bound Cyclical (detail)

Contemporary Forged Steel

The purpose of this exhibition is to showcase a variety of contemporary Iron work. Modern examples of one of the oldest craft forms in existence. Though internationally prevalent, the contemporary world of forged iron has not shared the limelight with other North American craft counterparts. This show hopes to display a collection of objects that will acquaint viewers with the medium and the new ways in which it has evolved.

Presented by Helen Street Studios, Curated by Artist Zach Lihatsh

Images courtesy of the Documenta Project

Images courtesy of the Documenta Project

The Documenta Project Presents: A CELEBRATION OF PORTRAITS

The Documenta Project and artist Mary Van Cline celebrate a third year of photographic portraits of members of the Contemporary Glass community. This year we are honoring our Founding Friends and Supporters who have made this important project possible.

Our Special Exhibit will present Portraits from the Documenta Archive-many are yet unseen- and will take the form of a special interactive installation where visitors are invited to view the Portraits in a unique way.

Presented by Mary Van Cline, Seattle, Washington



B Team Screening: Presented by R & Company

R & Company will be partnering with the Corning Museum of Glass to screen an eight minute B-Team documentary. The B-Team was a performative glass-blowing artist collective that both of our co-founders Evan Snyderman and Zesty Meyers were a part of.

Presented by R & Company



Textiles Speaking Loudly

Since its launch in 2016, Female Design Council has been dedicated to bringing together women in design and art to foster dialogue and spur action on the difficult issues facing women in a predominantly male industry as well as broadening awareness of exceptional, contemporary design and art made by women. FDC efforts include presenting museum-quality exhibitions showcasing work by female master makers with partners such as Brooklyn Museum, 1stdibs, NYCxDESIGN and more. By engaging meaningful, cultural programming, FDC brings together industry professionals to amplify the collective voice of women in creative disciplines and cements a fruitful and diverse community to prosper and gain access to opportunities that may not have been accessible in other ways.

For SOFA CHICAGO 2019, Female Design Council (FDC) presents:

Intricate: Complexity & Beauty Sewn Up, a powerful group exhibition featuring 8 dynamic female textile artists weaving pathways to pertinent conversations through the exciting medium of fiber arts. These unique, collectible works highlight issues surrounding the view and function of the female body, the need for self-preservation, social impositions, sustainable materials, the appreciation of handmade imperfections, and a consistent vulnerability of being female. This body of work serves to capture and release a visual and meaningful conversation around the universal female experience using the lens of textiles to tell the story.

Once intimate with the work, we find incredible precision, artistry, and experience woven into intricate beauty; just like all women. We are a myriad of complex creatures, from different backgrounds, sharing our collective experience, and the issues affecting us woven into everything that we do, and thus what we are. With renewed interest in material production and collectibility of contemporary art, artists have amplified the visual conversation through textiles and they are speaking loudly.

Presented by Female Design Council, Curated by Lora Appleton

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Still Counting…

4. 34. 48. 130. In a world where women continue to fight for equality, we are “Still Counting” the moments and milestones that make up a movement. Known for designing noteworthy exhibits focused on women’s empowerment, Emily Mackie, founder of Chicago’s Inspired Interiors design firm, gathered 21 female artists to create personal, powerful works provoked by the number of years it has taken to receive equal rights in a list of categories essential to living in true gender equity (think everything from Supreme Court appointments and Presidential nominations to the right to economic identity). These thought-provoking pieces will be auctioned off via mobile device during the SOFA exhibition, with 50 percent of proceeds benefiting a women’s rights organization. A live painting will blur the lines between artist and attendee, with silhouettes of guests continuously layered over another, illustrating how we’re all connected in this ongoing quest for equality.

Presented by Inspired Interiors

Gabriella Grimes

Gabriella Grimes

Collaborations with Queer Voices

Heller Gallery is pleased to present "Collaborations with Queer Voices", an exhibition produced by FagSigns, a Brooklyn-based, public-access neon fabrication studio, with an emphasis on inclusive community engagement and eroding barriers to othered folks seeking work in the creative sector. The exhibition is curated by FagSigns founders Matthew Day Perez and Kate Hush. The exhibition features original neon works by notable queer artists in a collective declaration of where the LGBTQ community has been and where it is heading. With it we celebrate 2019 WorldPride and commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising. Including works by ALOK Vaid-Menon, Thomas Page Mcbee, Gabriela Grimes, Stephanie Lifshutz, Rooney, Wednesday, Shoog McDaniel, Patrick Church and Deborah Czeresko (winner of Netflix's reality TV show "Blown Away").

Presented by Heller Gallery & FagSigns