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January 17, 2005

Maybe it's the unwieldy acronym

Preparing its last-ditch revamp here at home, it seems Thomas Blackman Associates continues to suffer out on the west coast as well. This past Saturday the San Francisco Chronicle tackled the lack of fanfare surrounding this year's 7th San Francisco International Art Exposition (i.e., SFIAE7):

Expectations have deflated over the years since the fair's impressive beginning in 1998. By 2003, no one could disguise the fact that San Francisco's "International" art fair had devolved to a mostly regional affair.
SFIAE7 will have trouble making even that claim, as this year several of the city's most prominent galleries have passed on participating: Rena Bransten, Haines, Fraenkel, Steven Wirtz, Patricia Sweetow. The fair's international component has dwindled to three contributions from South Korea, one from Europe and one from Canada.
The advance wave of publicity for SFIAE7 was so faint that rumors of its 11th-hour cancellation began to circulate. Organizer Thomas Blackman put it down to a badly timed change of publicists and no local backup.
Some exhibitors also hesitated to commit, doubting that the fair would go forward, Blackman complained, because of news stories in mid-2004 noting the recent decline in quality and business of Art Chicago.
The devolution of the Chicago fair threw people on the art scene there into a tizzy of self-doubt. Everyone had grown accustomed to seeing the event as corroboration of Chicago's status as a serious art town.
San Francisco should not make the same mistake, no matter how disheartening locals may find SFIAE7. The Bay Area's identity and viability as a regional art center have never depended on any single perennial event and never will.

"Maybe it's the unwieldy acronym"
Posted by Dan at 02:49 PM


Referenced in this post:

Iconoduel: Pfingsten Demands Satisfaction
SFGate.com: Local dealers salvage S.F. International Art Expo—Kenneth Baker
San Francisco International Art Exposition
Thomas Blackman Associates