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Art, Craft & Innovative Structures to meet at 2015 SOFA Chicago

What is art, and what differentiates it from craft?

That is the question that has come into stark relief each year since 1994, when SOFA CHICAGO, the Sculpture Objects Functional Art and Design Fair, first arrived in this city. But after strolling through Navy Pier’s Festival Hall – home to the massive gallery-presented exhibition and marketplace dedicated to three-dimensional art and design – it’s a good bet any attempt at such definitions will seem beside the point.

“Sisyphean Holiday XXVII” Artist: John Van Alstine Materials: Riverstone, pigmented steel. Gallery: C Fine Art, Potomac

In SOFA’s shows beauty and workmanship are conjoined. Art, imagination and experimentation are of the essence in every piece, with the boundaries among “fine art, decorative art and design” happily blurred. And this year, SOFA (running Nov. 5-8) will feature an expanded focus to include painting, photography, and works on paper. The work on display, drawn from more than 70 galleries from around the world, including London, Paris and Kyoto, is museum quality, and even if you can’t afford to shop at SOFA, it is invariably worth exploring.