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SOFA Chicago picks up the pieces

The marriage is over, but Intuit is still involved in the art fair's life

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Two annual fairs, SOFA Chicago and the Intuit Show of Folk and Outsider Art, shacked up together at Navy Pier's Festival Hall in 2010 and '11. This weekend SOFA (aka Sculpture Objects and Functional Art) will be going it alone. But there's still plenty of Intuit DNA to be found in lectures like Outsider Art 101, given by Henry Darger maven Michael Bonesteel (Fri-Sat 2 PM), a panel on the urge to transform one's surroundings titled Sculptural Environments in Self-Taught Art (Fri 4 PM), and two special exhibitions: "A Glimpse at Outsider Art" and the Mr. Imagination retrospective "Eye of Mr. I: A Tribute." Here are some other highlights:

Fiber artists Judith Content, Lewis Knauss, Lanny Bergner, Georgia Zwarties, and Amy Honchell discuss their recent work in Fiber Art: Five Voices, Five Views (Fri 9 AM). And you may want to make sure your immunizations are up to date before attending Killer Jewels (Fri 12:30 PM), in which Canadian artist-jeweler Paul McClure explains how he uses microbiology, pathology, and genetics to "reveal the attraction and fear of the invisible that lurks within us."

The exhibit What Is Beautiful? Changing Perspectives in Contemporary Wood Art explores visions ranging from the classic to the idiosyncratic. Gothic Jewelry: Sinister Pleasures, meanwhile, deals in "death, destruction, and decay."

This year's SOFA Chicago features 67 galleries from ten foreign nations and 18 American states, and many of them offer their own in-booth events. Ohio's Riley Galleries, for instance, presents Life Bigger Than Life (Fri 11:15 AM), a talk by artist John Miller about transforming "mundane objects into works of art in glass." Over at Tel Aviv's Litvak Gallery, Andy Schlauch, a colleague of blown-glass god Dale Chihuly, gives a presentation called Chihuly's White Series (Sat noon). And the booth events come to a close at the Turkish Cultural Foundation outpost, with a chance to meet sculptor Belgin Yucelen (Sun 2 PM).

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