Contemporary Art

“Contemporary art offers new perspectives and different points of entry to the world we share. It fuels the imaginary to inspire our thinking, being, and action.”

Eungie Joo, Curator of Contemporary Art

The contemporary art department was established in 2017 to deepen SFMOMA’s commitment to exhibit and collect the art of our time. The program and collection support living artists across all media who explore contemporary issues from local, national, and international perspectives.

The department organizes temporary, traveling, and permanent collection exhibitions, performances, and public programs, including screenings and symposia. It also directs New Work, a series of exhibitions that features newly commissioned work by living artists. Initiated at the museum in 1987, New Work has provided both established and early-career artists with a space to develop a new body of work, or present existing work in a museum context. Since SFMOMA’s expansion in 2016, New Work has presented projects by Etel Adnan, Leonor Antunes, LANZA Atelier, Erin Shirreff, Kerry Tribe, and others.

The contemporary collection is dedicated to works by practitioners from around the world that reflect key issues, modalities, and formal concerns of our times. Its holdings include works in installation, video, photography, sculpture, and painting by artists living in the United States, Mexico, Brazil, Vietnam, and other countries. Significant acquisitions by artists not previously represented in the collection are featured here, contributing to the complexity of the history of art that SFMOMA will be able to tell today, and in the future.

Header image: New Work: Rodney McMillian, In This Land, 2019 (installation view, SFMOMA); photo: Katherine Du Tiel