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SOFA Chicago

Thursday, November 5, through Sunday, November 8

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Now in its 16th year, this annual show of sculpture, objects, and functional art opens this week at Navy Pier's Festival Hall, with 68 galleries from ten countries exhibiting. Works on display include such oddities as Jeff Forsythe's 2008 We Don't Need Another Hero, a gold-leafed table saw cutting through a styrofoam wedding cake.

The new and the weird get a home of their own this year with the addition of SOLO—a portion of SOFA dedicated to "cutting-edge installations" and work that strays from the formal expectations of a furniture and decorative arts show. For example, Bullseye Gallery of Portland, Oregon, is showing Australian kiln-cast glass master Klaus Moje, whose tubular, freestanding pieces look like didgeridoos done up with kaleidoscopic patterns in brilliant, luminescent colors.

The passing of renowned California wood artist Sam Maloof provides a focal point for the weekend's more mainstream events. An exhibit and three lectures celebrating his career are scheduled. And the William Zimmer Gallery of Mendicino is offering "A Studio Furniture Rendezvous," featuring Maloof disciples like Rosanne Somerson, who credits "the natural landscape, and even . . . the structure of interpersonal relationships" as inspiration for her high-end woodwork.  Opening night, Thu 11/5, 7-9 PM, $50. Then Fri-Sat 11/6-11/7, 11 AM-8 PM, Sun 11/8, noon-6 PM, Navy Pier, Festival Hall, 600 E. Grand, 773-506-8860, 800-563-7632, sofaexpo.com, $15 per day, $25 for a three-day pass. —Sam Adams

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