San Francisco’s ‘unofficial art week’ returns. Here are 12 highlights not to miss

Tony Bravo, Datebook: The San Francisco Chronicle, January 18, 2023

Over the past decade, the third week of January has become an unofficial art week in San Francisco. Anchored by the Fog Design + Art fair at the Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture, the multiday showcase has grown since the first fair in 2013 to now include scores of gallery openings, events and pop-ups taking advantage of the international crowd who come to the city.


While the fair itself attracts art lovers to the Marina District venue, the Dogpatch neighborhood will be a major draw for activations and events at the Minnesota Street Project as well as the new Institute of Contemporary Art San Francisco, which opened in October. Galleries and art spaces downtown and South of Market Street will also be opening new shows.


The festivities officially kick-off Wednesday, Jan. 18, with the Fog preview gala benefiting the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, with events through Sunday, Jan. 22. Here’s a guide to the Fog Design + Art fair, plus other shows and happenings throughout the city.


Fog Design + Art

The Fog Design + Art fair returns to Fort Mason’s Festival Pavilion for its ninth edition. The fair will include 45 booths featuring 48 galleries from around the world, ranging from local favorites like Crown Point Press, Fraenkel Gallery and Rebecca Camacho Presents to celebrated out-of-town dealers like David Zwirner of New York, Modern Art of London and Galerie Chantal Crousel of Paris.


After postponing the fair in 2021 due to the coronavirus, the event came back in full force in 2022 with a packed schedule of artist talks and panels led by art world experts as well as the same high caliber design and art it is known for. This year’s no different.

The Fog Talks programming series, which is free with fair admission, is slated to include discussions with  designers Yves Behar and Fernando Laposse; curators Janet Bishop, Natasha Boas, Nancy Lim and Phil Linhares; museum directors Christopher Bedford of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Lori Fogarty of the Oakland Museum of California, Ali Gass of the Institute of Contemporary Art San Francisco, Veronica Roberts of the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University and Monetta White of the Museum of the African Diaspora; and artists Sadie Barnette, Machine Dazzle, Ana Teresa Fernández, Trevor Paglen, Troy Lamarr Chew II and Mike Henderson, among others.


For a full schedule, visit

11 a.m.-7 p.m. Thursday-Sunday, Jan. 19-22; 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 23. $25. Fort Mason Festival Pavilion, 2 Marina Blvd., S.F.


‘Pae White: Slow Winter Sun’ and ‘David Huffman: Odyssey’

The first solo show by California multimedia artist Pae White at Jessica Silverman Gallery includes new textile works, paper-clay paintings and ceramic works that engage with her practice’s interest in the fleeting nature of California’s environment. At the center of the show are five large-scale tapestries that commemorate events in nature, like fireflies illuminating at dusk and the journey of a snail.


Upstairs at the gallery, Oakland artist David Huffman presents paintings and works on paper created from 2004 to 2009 that feel prescient of current conversations around violence against Black communities and concepts of Afrofuturism. The pieces on view notably feature Huffman’s “Traumanaut” figures ( the term is a combination of the words trauma and and astronaut) against haunting cosmic and planetary backgrounds.

10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. Both shows on view through Feb. 25. Free. Jessica Silverman Gallery, 621 Grant Ave., S.F. 415-255-9508.


‘Koak: Letter to Myself (when the world is on fire)’

Koak’s second solo exhibition at Altman Siegel includes new paintings, drawings and sculptures by the San Francisco artist. The body of work explores concepts of disaster, panic and failure, specifically through images of landscapes and figures in turmoil.

10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday. Through Feb. 25. Free. Altman Siegel, 1150 25th St., S.F. 415-576-9300.


Kija Lucas at the Guardhouse

The For-Site Foundation’s inaugural installation at the former U.S. Military Guardhouse at the entrance of Fort Mason features work by San Francisco photographer Kija Lucas. The pieces, which can be viewed 24 hours through the building’s windows, includes botanical photos as well as a custom wallpaper taken from Lucas’ images.


Open to public 24 hours a day, viewable through the windows, until March 12. Free. Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture, 2 Marina Blvd., S.F.


‘Human Nature’

Audiences have a final chance to see Shack15 artist-in-residence Tiffany Shlain’s exhibition “Human Nature” before it closes next week. The exhibition’s 24 works include six tree ring installations as well as 12 lightbox works, photography and video art that engage with ideas in feminism, neuroscience, ecology and philosophy.


8 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Friday. Through Jan. 26. Free. Shack 15, 1 Ferry Building Suite 201, S.F.


Marianne Boesky Pop-Up at Gallery 181

New York’s Marianne Boesky Gallery presents its largest showing in San Francisco yet, featuring works by international stars including Pier Paolo Calzolari, the Haas Brothers, Sarah Meyohas and Frank Stella. The works are presented against the impressive views of the city thanks to the gallery’s location at the top of the 181 Fremont building.


By appointment only. Through March 17. Gallery 181, 181 Fremont St., S.F. To schedule an appointment, call Holly Baxter of Holly Baxter & Associates at 415-350-5595 or email


Institute of Contemporary Art San Francisco

The Dogpatch museum’s final shows of its inaugural series will launch during San Francisco art week.


“Resting Our Eyes,” curated by Tahirah Rasheed and Autumn Breon, explores new and existing works from 20 multigenerational Black artists, while Bay Area artists Liz Hernández and Ryan Whelan’s “A Weed By Any Other Name” will look at the blackberry fruit as a symbol of the artistic community of the Bay Area.


Noon-5 p.m. Wednesday; noon-7 p.m. Thursday-Friday; 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday; 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. Both shows on view Saturday, Jan. 21 through June 25. Free. Institute of Contemporary Art San Francisco, 901 Minnesota St., S.F.


‘Nina Molloy: Shrine’

The first solo exhibition of New York City-based artist Nina Molloy is curated by Aleesa Pitchamarn Alexander, curator of modern and contemporary art and co-director of the Asian American Art Initiative at the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University.


Molloy’s richly formal paintings explore relationships between time, historical perspective and her specific experiences as a Thai American growing up in Bangkok.


2 pm.-5 p.m. Fridays- Saturdays. Through March 18. Free. 1720 Armstrong Ave. 1A, S.F.


Minnesota Street Project

The art gallery hub has several new shows at its 1275 and 1150 Minnesota Street buildings.

At 1275, check out “J. John Priola: Natural Light/Symbiosis,” photos exploring nature healing post-disaster at Anglim/Trimble, Lee Materazzi’s “Nipples Pulled Through,” an Eleanor Harwood body-focused photo series, and “Looking at the Sky” by Davey Whitcraft, which investigates color through photo and video work at Themes + Projects.


At 1150 Minnesota Street, “through the electric grid promised land,” an immersive media-based project curated by Cloaca Projects, looks at the unstable systems that are considered the foundations of San Francisco’s cultural landscape as well as the final weeks of “Color Code” at McEvoy Foundation for the Arts.


11 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, check individual galleries for hours. Free. Minnesota Street Project, 1275 and 1150 Minnesota St., S.F.


‘Anna Kunz: The Tide’

Painter Anna Kunz is based in Chicago but her new show “The Tide” is inspired by Bay Area environments. The relationship between light, color and human senses in nature is represented through vivid geometric scenes that represent everything from bodies of water to our regional fog.


10 a.m.- 5 p.m. Monday-Friday. Through Feb 18. Free. Berggruen Gallery, 10 Hawthorne St., S.F. 415-781-4629


‘Unbound’ by Shiva Ahmadi

The South of Market arts organization partners with the Haines gallery to present a show of watercolor, sculpture and digital animation by the Tehran-born artist. Many of the works on view draw inspiration from traditions of Persian, Indian and Middle Eastern art and address the tumult of the artist’s early experiences growing up during the Iranian Revolution and Iran-Iraq war.


A free opening party on Thursday, Jan. 19, also features site-specific installations and performances by multi-sensory artist Beatrice Glow, video artist Darrin Martin, interdisciplinary artist Kalie Granier, and a capsule exhibition of the upcoming grantLOVE project by Alexandra Grant.


7-10 p.m. Jan. 19. Free. Through March 31. Inquire for regular viewing hours. Saint Joseph’s Arts Society, 1401 Howard St., S.F.


‘Generation: The Roots of Making in the Asawa-Lanier Family’

This new group exhibition brings together four generations of the Asawa-Lanier family — the children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of San Francisco artist Ruth Asawa and architect Albert Lanier — with work spanning 1965 to 2022.


In addition to works by Asawa and Lanier, the show features paintings and clay work by their son Paul Lanier; textile, collage and painting by their daughter Aiko Lanier Cuneo; origami portraits, paintings and paper construction by their granddaughter Lilli Lanier; and paintings by their great-granddaughter Lucia Ruth Soriano.


10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Friday. Through March 31. Free. Ruth’s Table, 3160 21st St., S.F. 415-642-1000.