From Kate Tova's works of love for her adopted city to the return of Fog Fair, the Bay Area's art scene looks exceptionally bright this winter.
Tova’s Audrey Hepburn from her Maskerade series.
One of Tova’s hearts gracing an outdoor San Francisco space
Up-and-coming artist Kate Tova (@katetova) moved to San Francisco from New Orleans a few months before the pandemic. When lockdown was enforced, she struggled with her new home’s closure. “Everything was all boarded up,” she says. “The streets looked like black tunnels, especially in downtown, and that bothered me as an artist. So I started thinking [about] what I could do.”
Crossbody bag known as “Twiggy”
She grabbed a canvas, glued it to plywood covering a market near her home and painted a vibrant, colorful heart with globs of rainbow paint dripping down. Having never done any street art, Tova didn’t put her name on the piece. However, curiosity got the best of her, and two weeks later, she added her Instagram handle. “After I signed it, I got an overwhelming amount of feedback through social media. People started taking pictures with it, tagging me, taking pictures of their kids drawing hearts and sending them to their relatives because they couldn’t see each other.” Fueled by Instagram’s enthusiasm, Tova took to the streets and created between 50 and 60 hearts all over the city.
Handpainted pumps by Kate Tova
She also started painting portraits of celebrities and influential figures—Audrey Hepburn, Lizzo, Steve Jobs—in black and white with bejeweled printed masks in brilliant colors. She’s currently working on a series of “glitches”—explosions of color and light that are a “combination of nature and tech. This is the San Francisco influence,” she says. Everything about Tova exudes youthful, uninhibited joy, which the world needs more of in these trying times. “The definition of happiness is doing what I love every day and then sharing my happiness with others through art,” says Tova.
THE BIG RETURN: FOG FAIR
Art fans will flock to Fog Fair again this winter
On Jan. 15, 2020, the international art glitterati descended on Fort Mason for the seventh annual Fog Fair. Guests at the sold-out opening night gala didn’t know that the evening would be one of the city’s last blowouts before the pandemic lockdown. Now, as San Francisco returns to life, it’s only fitting that the first significant social event is Fog. “I’m excited for the return of Fog because it symbolizes everything positive for our city,” says Stanlee Gatti, a member of Fog’s founding team.
Emma Amos, “My Mother Was the Greatest Dancer”
“Reopening two years later in 2022, it feels naturally right. Many people I know have asked about its return, exhibiting galleries are excited, and our committee is as dedicated as ever to bringing the best show yet.” The upcoming fair features 44 returning and new galleries from across the globe, including David Gill (London), Hauser & Wirth (Los Angeles), Kurimanzutto (Mexico City), Alexander Berggruen (New York), Nina Johnson (Miami), Pt. 2 Gallery (Oakland) and Rebecca Camacho Presents (San Francisco).
Look for the best in national and international contemporary art.
Art lovers can mingle with dealers, purchase exclusive works and partake in educational programming. There’s also a gala opening that benefits SFMOMA and an innovators luncheon featuring musician Linda Ronstadt. The singer is honored for “the diversity of her material, extraordinary range and vocal clarity,” explains Gatti. Jan. 19-23, Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture, 2 Marina Blvd.
NEW IN CHINATOWN: JESSICA SILVERMAN GALLERY
Woody de Othello’s “Looking In” installation at Jessica Silverman Gallery
On a quiet strip of Grant Avenue, a musician plays a calming tune in front of Old Saint Mary’s Cathedral. Red Chinese lanterns hang across the street. It’s a picture-perfect, Instagram-ready destination—one that caught the eye of local art dealer Jessica Silverman. In April, Silverman opened her new namesake gallery in a former chandelier and tchotchke store.
Gallery owner Jessica Silverman
With high ceilings and light-colored floors, the beautiful space is ideal for displaying Silverman’s collection of mixed-media artists. “It’s been fantastic,” Silverman says of business over the past six months at the new location. “We’ve had some growing pains in terms of what it takes to run a space of this scale, given our last space is half the size, but we’re trying to be confident. We can have a lot more work, and another room back there, and offices are upstairs, so we have more flexibility.”
The exterior of the new space on Grant Avenue in Chinatown.
Silverman champions artists who create more than one thing—paintings and sculptures, for example, and, luckily, the gallery can showcase it all, from giant bronze sculptures by Woody de Othello to oil and acrylic paintings by Conrad Egyir to black-and-white photographs by Coreen Simpson. Up next? A solo show by Oakland-based artist Sadie Barnette that runs until Jan. 8. 621 Grant Ave., 415.255.9508
Photography by: FROM TOP: PHOTO COURTESY OF KATE TOVA; PHOTO COURTESY OF KATE TOVA; PHOTO COURTESY OF: FOG DESIGN ART; PHOTO COURTESY OF: RYAN LEE GALLERY, NEW YORK; PHOTO COURTESY OF: FOG DESIGN ART; PHOTO BY: PHILLIP MAISEL/COURTESY OF WOODY DE OTHELLO AND JESSICA SILVERMAN; PHOTO BY: DREW ALTIZER; PHOTO BY: HENRIK KAM/COURTESY OF JESSICA SILVERMAN