by Bruce Helander

The success and perpetual energy of Silicon Valley might seem like it happened overnight, but in fact the gestation period of this remarkable high-tech landscape was little more than a twinkle in the eye of Frederick Terman, Stanford's dean of engineering and provost during the 1940s and 1950s, when he had an historic vision to encourage his faculty and graduates to start their own companies, which grew up around the Stanford campus providing a natural motivational magnet attracting Hewlett-Packard and numerous other like-minded young firms and entrepreneurial individuals with a vision for the future that lead to the rapidly rising tide of the microcomputer revolution. At the same time on the opposite coast of America, the nucleus of the contemporary art world had been re-positioned from Paris and Berlin to the cast iron caverns of downtown Manhattan, the better to explore the completely different free-thinking and often controversial mindset of its artists. In this post-World War II era, abstract expressionism, a truly unique and inventive style of painting, was making waves as a bedrock of creativity uniquely and idiosyncratically stamped "Made in America," and also became known as the New York School. Like the young visionaries of Silicon Valley, who gained strength and recognition in risk-taking experiments and with like-minded aspirations, inquisitive pioneers in art built a permanent beachhead that changed the way we perceived art forever, and created a new, powerful industry for revolutionary breakthroughs in contemporary art.

Robert Rauschenberg, who is represented in the fair, was a strong proponent of exploring art and technology through his celebrated E.A.T. experiments (Experiments in Art and Technology) of the late 1960s, which promoted collaborations between artists, engineers and scientists. Those innovators would be pleased today to discover a similar marriage of both interests within the walls of the San Mateo County Event Center, as the second annual Art Silicon Valley/San Francisco (Art SV/SF) returns to the Bay Area on Columbus Day weekend October 8-11, opening with a Platinum VIP Preview on October 8th sponsored by Ruinart Champagne and benefiting ScholarMatch. This important four day event will showcase works by 20th and 21st century artists offered by a distinguished group of international galleries from around the world, including London, Tokyo, Amsterdam, Paris, Jerusalem and Bogota. The fair directors have invited Christine Duval to curate a special thematic exhibit titled "Code and Noise" that introduces eleven media artists from the US, China and Japan who use, create or leverage software to create their art with a focus on world issues, such as data collection, the environment and surveillance. In addition to an impressive range of contemporary and modern art and design, curated exhibitions, artists' talks, book signings, and fair tours, there are projects showcasing the latest works in technology and art, and new media and educational programs and lectures designed to cultivate new and established collectors. "Art Silicon Valley/San Francisco is a cultural destination event that gives visitors a variety of unique, inspiring and high-quality artwork that are truly unparalleled on the West Coast," said Nick Korniloff, director, founder and partner with Art Miami LLC. "As the epicenter of 21st century innovation, this region is a natural place to bring sophisticated buyers together with world-renowned international galleries to showcase works in traditional and new media. In addition, the educational programs we offer will provide invaluable perspectives on art for new collectors and inform connoisseurs."

Art Miami, the distinguished powerhouse of American art fairs with twenty-six years in the business, will take an exciting, expansive step forward with additional galleries and informative programs for Art Silicon Valley/San Francisco after its highly successful inaugural fair in 2014. This much anticipated art fair, now an annual event for the surrounding community, has an impressive line-up for the 2015 edition. The following "top picks" are among my favorites for this year's fair and should indicate an advanced perspective on the overall quality available in the impressive line-up of dealers and the artists that they represent.


Barbara Vaughn | Provoli - Aniexi, 2015, | Archival pigment print | 56 x 42 inches

Barbara Vaughn combines her love of water and an appetite for abstraction and distills an inventive formula that "springs from an unexpected confluence of nature and the man-made world...." For this artist, inspiration comes from the magic of harnessing water's inherent ability to mirror and transform the appearance of objects in and around it. Vaughn captures the reflective visual chemistry of the sun, sky and wind through a cameras lens at just the right decisive moment, which results in amazing abstract compositions whose original sources are barely recognizable, but memorably beautiful in their simplicity and ingenuity. (Dolby Chadwick Gallery, San Francisco: www.dolbychadwickgallery.com)

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