Set-up and takedown of a big art fair is a daunting task - and not all glitterati, paparazzi and Illuminati. Although visitors to the large shows only experience the special exhibitions and lectures, a lot goes on before and after the show. SOFA CHICAGO returned to
Navy Pier - jutting out into Lake Michigan has the central exhibition space ready for the exhibitors to set-up. The gallery team arrives early in the morning to begin the set-up.
Drew Graham pulls up the truck inside the event hall, and prepares to start unloading.
Glass artists John Littleton and Kate Vogel are already in the hall and begin to transport the artwork down to the booth space.
Gallery owner Maurine Littleton reviews the booth space and the layout of the walls and electrical. The design of the space and the location of each work was planned weeks previous to arrival in Chicago, with lighting and electrical planned in advance. Some artwork was already delivered to the space. It turned out that some of the walls needed to be re-positioned, and artwork installation worked around those areas. Items such as pedestals, tools, chairs, special lighting, storage shelving, printer, artwork brochures/info, signage, etc and all the necessary components had been packed onto the truck and now must be unpacked and sorted.
John Littleton at work uncrating artwork and preparing the display of many of the works in the booth.
Each glass artwork piece is unboxed and carefully installed.
The set-up time is a great time to catch up with other artist friends - Laura Donefer and Tim Tate share a hug.
The Littleton Gallery space is shaping up, pedestals are placed for the Harvey Littleton sculptures.
SOFA Chicago is an international show, here Craft Scotland sets up their display.
The lighting is adjusted on the works, and the packing cleared. Kate Vogel checks for items that need adjustment before the fair opens. Time to shower and change into opening night attire.
Navy Pier just before the opening night gala, the quiet before the storm.
The Opening Night Premier begins with a ribbon cutting ceremony.