In Which Our Writer Gets a Tiny Bit Testy

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In the city, dueling cultural fairs are nothing new. On any given weekend, we have any number of gem fairs going against any number of printmakers’ balls, celebrations of craftspeople, and juried photography blowouts. This weekend, however, we have dueling contemporary art fairs, both of which are huge, and this is something new: S.F. has never been much of a player in the contemporary art multiday blowout (think Art Basel), and now we have two serious shows going head-to-head. Both of which we’d like to go to, so … nice scheduling, losers! But we can forgive: The S.F. Fine Art Fair is in only its second year, and artMRKT is brand-new. As for which to attend, our benchmark is: How do they treat the locals? Here, artMRKT comes out ahead, with more than 20 local galleries represented. Not that the Fine Art Fair isn’t right up there, with nearly 15 shops getting slots. True, we like the lineup at artMRKT a bit more — it has more of the venues, such as Guerrero Gallery and Catharine Clark Gallery, where we most often find ourselves looking at art, and it would be fun to look at their art under the banner of a big, fancy international art fair. Not that we don’t find ourselves in plenty of the galleries appearing at SFFAF, like Fifty24SF and Hang Art. We’re there all the time! If you can afford to go to both, go to both.
May 20-22, 2011

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