Tag Archives: SOFA West

Sitting on the SOFA: room with a view

Geoffrey Gorman's invented creatures at SOFA West, from Jane Sauer Gallery, Santa Fe.

By Bob Hicks

“I didn’t do it!” the woman barked, pointing a long bony finger accusingly at another woman who stood in shell-shocked horror. “It was her!”

Not for the first time in his life Mr. Scatter felt a mild urge to strangle someone he’d never actually met. In moments of crisis the scramble for self-preservation is a natural human impulse, but there are times when it really ought to be held in check.

Jan Huling, "Kewpo Libre," 2010. Mixed media, beads, 16.5 x 9 x 4.5 inches. Lyons Wier Gallery, New York.For one thing, it was obvious how the accident had occurred. For another, the woman who had unknowingly swiped against the beaded kewpie doll, which was perched in a high-traffic zone in Lyons Wier Gallery‘s booth at the SOFA West art fair, obviously felt horrible: tiny little colored beads were scattered all over the floor, the doll itself was lying there smashed among the litter, and the artist who had so meticulously made it, Jan Huling, stood by gazing dejectedly at the wreckage. Stuff happens, especially in crowded rooms crammed with expensive breakable items, and a little empathy goes a lot farther than a pointing bony finger.

After attending last week’s second annual SOFA West in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Mr. Scatter can imagine a few other pointing fingers, and maybe a few pointed sniffs. Both are predictable, and say more about the mood of the art world than they do about SOFA. This popular art fair, larger versions of which are also held annually in Chicago and New York (SOFA stands for Sculpture Objects & Functional Art), represents a lot of things that much of the contemporary art world hold to be unworthy of serious attention.

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Santa Fe: a cultural lightning strike

"Apache Mountain Spirit Dancer," Craig Dan Goseyun, San Carlos Apache. Museum Hill Plaza, Santa Fe; bronze; 1995.

By Bob Hicks


The sky splits above the high desert. Great bursts of lightning roil the midnight blackness with a frenzy of white heat. The thunder rattles deeply like the cries of gods at war, and the rain is rain — hard, fast, fierce, a gullywash of frantic energy that, soon spent, will sink meekly back into the sand.

In the morning the sun is out, the air has the fresh bite of swiftly drying earth, the small life of the arroyo a few dozen yards beyond our windows chirps placidly on. A couple of years ago we watched transfixed as a sudden storm turned the same dry creek bed into a swift flood of churning water, a rampage that rose rapidly from nothing almost to the undercurve of the little bridge on the nearby road. Hours later the arroyo was dry again, but these torrents can shift a creek’s course: in the desert, water makes up its own mind.

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