The SOFA 2001 Art Exposition

May 30- June 4, 2001

Field Notes by William Warmus

The Urban Glass booth at SOFA



9AM Monday June 4 2001


I am filing this field dispatch from in front of the fireplace of the library at the Hudson Hotel, New York City. It is the final day of the SOFA art exposition at the Seventh Regiment Armory on Park Avenue at 67th Street, which opens in 2 hours. For those interested in glass, the Armory is something of a shrine because it contains the best preserved Tiffany interior in the nation, a room made especially for war veterans.


SOFA (Sculpture, Objects, Functional Art) is a gathering of  the most prominent art dealers in the field. 

Sales at SOFA have been active. The economy of the art world may be flat, but evidence here suggests it is not in decline. Perhaps the most stunning success during the show was at Holsten Gallery, where Marvin Lipofsky exhibited 11 sculptures from his recent Kentucky series, incorporating glass murrine in exceptional color combinations. By early in the show, approximately 8 of these pieces were sold, and yesterday a collector bought an additional work from a slide. Prices ranged from $16,800 to $28,800.


At the same gallery, Latchezar Boyadjiev exhibited elegant table top sculptures and sold several in the $14,000 to $18,000 range, including Temperament, at $18,000.


The SOFA Expo is a great place to look for incremental changes as well as manifestly new work. For example, Lipofsky, who has been working with glass since the 1960s, succeeded at SOFA with work that was incrementally different from his earlier sculptures.

And what about new artists and work? I was drawn to the sculpture of Richard Whitely, an Australian artist exhibiting at Bullseye Gallery. His large cast glass works, with titles like Shadow and Blue Fin, emphasize and celebrate color. These are pieces you can dive into with your eyes and swim around in, exploring colors and textures with a richness and depth that only work in glass can pull off. Of a different sensibility was work by Bella Feldman at Habatat gallery, a mature artist new to the glass community, showing work consisting of colorless glass vessel forms suspended or framed by heavy metal structures. These were elegant but also mysterious: what might their function be?


The next SOFA Art Expo is in Chicago at the beginning of October. Iíll be reporting from there, and in the middle of June Iíll be attending the annual Glass Art Society (GAS) conference in Corning, New York. They are expecting over 1300 people.

See you there?



The Park Avenue Armory (at left)






Kentucky Series sculpture by Marvin Lipofsky at Holsten



Blue Fin: cast glass sculpture by Richard Whitely

Cherry Blossom, cast glass sculpture by Richard Whitely at Bullseye


Sculpture by Bella Feldman at Habatat