Best of SF 20 Modernism Show

written by:
September 25, 2009

This weekend's SF20 Modernism Show and Sale opened to the public this morning at San Francisco's Fort Mason Center. Dwell editors Aaron Britt and Sarah Rich took a spin around the floor and found some excellent mid-century furniture and art, exhibited by gallerists from around the country. We picked out some of our favorite items and put together a slideshow for those of you who can't make it to the show. But for readers who are Bay Area locals, do check out the show yourself. Even if you're not there to take a piece home, it's worth admiring the goods.

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  It may be hard to tell from the photo, but this standard metal folding chair has been felted in charcoal wool. Artist Tanya Aguiniga creates incredible furniture by wrapping, welding and weaving iconic and generic pieces. -Sarah
    It may be hard to tell from the photo, but this standard metal folding chair has been felted in charcoal wool. Artist Tanya Aguiniga creates incredible furniture by wrapping, welding and weaving iconic and generic pieces. -Sarah
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  In the booth of LA showroom Reform we found this beautiful drop-door cabinet and book shelf, made by Bolinas, California's late, great woodworker Arthur Espenet Carpenter. Bleached walnut and wenge form the frame, and the rear of the interior has a secret bright spot, lined with a fuschia board.  -Sarah
    In the booth of LA showroom Reform we found this beautiful drop-door cabinet and book shelf, made by Bolinas, California's late, great woodworker Arthur Espenet Carpenter. Bleached walnut and wenge form the frame, and the rear of the interior has a secret bright spot, lined with a fuschia board. -Sarah
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  With the door folded up, you'd never know there's so much going on inside. This squat little piece by Bolinas, California woodworker Arthur Espenet Carpenter was one of the highlights of the show. -Sarah
    With the door folded up, you'd never know there's so much going on inside. This squat little piece by Bolinas, California woodworker Arthur Espenet Carpenter was one of the highlights of the show. -Sarah
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  This chair being shown by Tuscon, Arizona, gallerist Eric Firestone was designed by a young San Diego architect and designer Dominique Houriet. I liked its industrial feel and textured, layered wood. -Aaron
    This chair being shown by Tuscon, Arizona, gallerist Eric Firestone was designed by a young San Diego architect and designer Dominique Houriet. I liked its industrial feel and textured, layered wood. -Aaron
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  Here's Sarah in the Houriet chair with a rather nice painting by Douglas Denniston from 1950 called "Composition #35" above her. We joked that the chair is nearly wide enough to be a loveseat, or a chair for a giant. -Aaron
    Here's Sarah in the Houriet chair with a rather nice painting by Douglas Denniston from 1950 called "Composition #35" above her. We joked that the chair is nearly wide enough to be a loveseat, or a chair for a giant. -Aaron
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  This Don Shoemaker rosewood lounger chair and ottoman have beautifully aged black leather stretched between the criss-crossing arms of the frame. -Sarah
    This Don Shoemaker rosewood lounger chair and ottoman have beautifully aged black leather stretched between the criss-crossing arms of the frame. -Sarah
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  Don Shoemaker's 1960s rosewood chairs from Mexico aren't too functional suspended on the wall, but they look beautiful against a lime green background. -Sarah
    Don Shoemaker's 1960s rosewood chairs from Mexico aren't too functional suspended on the wall, but they look beautiful against a lime green background. -Sarah
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  I loved this funny set of wire furniture designed in the 50's by John Rilsey. The Converso Gallery of Chicago was showing the chairs and they certainly added a bit of whimsy to the raft of sober, Scandinavian stuff I saw. -Aaron
    I loved this funny set of wire furniture designed in the 50's by John Rilsey. The Converso Gallery of Chicago was showing the chairs and they certainly added a bit of whimsy to the raft of sober, Scandinavian stuff I saw. -Aaron
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  Here's a better view of just one of the chairs. The wire woman's hair reminds me of a nun's habit. -Aaron
    Here's a better view of just one of the chairs. The wire woman's hair reminds me of a nun's habit. -Aaron
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  These Fritz Hansen chairs were stacked at the Ma(i)sonry booth. -Sarah
    These Fritz Hansen chairs were stacked at the Ma(i)sonry booth. -Sarah
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  This little plate caught our eye—perhaps a little kitsch for some, but who doesn't love a mobile home? -Sarah
    This little plate caught our eye—perhaps a little kitsch for some, but who doesn't love a mobile home? -Sarah
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  This lounger was made by Charles and Ray Eames for filmmaker Billy Wilder. It was lovely, if a bit battered. I recently saw a very strange, Cold War farce by Wilder called "One, Two, Three." Hilariously dated, but Cagney was great. The lounger is being shown by Ma(i)sonry up in Yountville, California. -Aaron
    This lounger was made by Charles and Ray Eames for filmmaker Billy Wilder. It was lovely, if a bit battered. I recently saw a very strange, Cold War farce by Wilder called "One, Two, Three." Hilariously dated, but Cagney was great. The lounger is being shown by Ma(i)sonry up in Yountville, California. -Aaron
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  This credenza, which I initially credited to Jean Cocteau, but was actually designed by Finn Juhl, was one of my favorites. Cocteau gave it to his friend Arthur Rubin, who was a Chicago-area gallerist. Drawings and collages by Cocteau hang above it. -Aaron
    This credenza, which I initially credited to Jean Cocteau, but was actually designed by Finn Juhl, was one of my favorites. Cocteau gave it to his friend Arthur Rubin, who was a Chicago-area gallerist. Drawings and collages by Cocteau hang above it. -Aaron
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  Here's a detail of the Juhl credenza. I love the pulls on the drawers. I was saying to Sarah that I have a soft spot for Cocteau (who gave the credenza as a present to a pal) yet I really dislike Andy Warhol. Odd considering their methods and brand of celebrity were very much of the same sort, with Cocteau coming about a generation earlier. Maybe it's because Cocteau was better dressed. -Aaron
    Here's a detail of the Juhl credenza. I love the pulls on the drawers. I was saying to Sarah that I have a soft spot for Cocteau (who gave the credenza as a present to a pal) yet I really dislike Andy Warhol. Odd considering their methods and brand of celebrity were very much of the same sort, with Cocteau coming about a generation earlier. Maybe it's because Cocteau was better dressed. -Aaron
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  Wendell Castle showcased this beautiful bent wood music stand. -Sarah
    Wendell Castle showcased this beautiful bent wood music stand. -Sarah

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