Joan Brown, Luxury Liner, 1973; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, gift of the
Estate of Joan Brown, Noel Neri, and Michael S. Hebel; © Estate of Joan Brown;
photo courtesy San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

Joan Brown and Friends

Related Exhibition Joan Brown

Thursday, Feb 2, 2023

6 p.m.

Gina and Stuart Peterson White Box, Floor 4

Free with RSVP. This event takes place on a First Thursday, when museum admission is free to Bay Area residents.

Update: Reservations are at capacity. A rush ticketing line will form 30 minutes prior to the event with seating available on a first come, first served basis.

Join us for an evening of reflections, recollections, cheesecake, and champagne in honor of beloved Bay Area artist and local legend Joan Brown, who is currently being celebrated in an expansive retrospective on Floor 7. A lineup of artists, scholars, friends, and family will each offer their take on one of Brown’s works. Following the talks, Joan Brown’s cheesecake (one of her recipes featured in the California Artists Cookbook in 1982) will be served alongside champagne at an informal private reception for event attendees.


Natasha Boas

Natasha Boas, PhD, is a transnational independent curator, writer, and scholar who was raised in San Francisco and is based in SF and Paris. Her writing is published widely, and she has lectured and curated internationally for over twenty-five years. With a focus on recent Bay Area art history, she has curated exhibitions on the artists of the Mission School and the Rat Bastards and is an active advocate for Bay Area artists globally. Her most recent work at the Venice Biennale 2022 includes work with the artist Zineb Sedira of the French Pavilion, Algerian modernist artist Baya, Jean Conner, Ruby Neri, and Lynn Hershman Leeson.

Enrique Chagoya

A student of political economy who turned to art, Enrique Chagoya (American/Mexican, born in Mexico City, lives in San Francisco) makes drawings, prints, and multiples using pop and extemporaneous historic symbols to critique colonialism and the constant change of contemporary cultural paradigms. He is Full Professor at Stanford University’s department of Art History, earned an honorary doctorate from SFAI in 2017, and received a J. S. Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship in 2021. His work is in the permanent collections of many national and international museums, including MoMA, The Met, and the Whitney Museum in NYC; SFMOMA, The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, The British Museum, and MUNAL/Mexico, among others.

Reniel Del Rosario

Reniel Del Rosario is an artist that uses ceramics, quantity, and satire to discuss themes of commodification and value — historical, cultural, and monetary. His projects range from interactive mimicries of businesses, re-imaginings of artifacts, and imperfect bootlegs of the already-existing, such as fine art and food. He holds a BA in Art Practice from the University of California, Berkeley. He was a 2019 recipient of the Center for Craft’s Windgate-Lamar fellowship, a racer in the 2022 SFMOMA Artists Soapbox Derby, and has been seen in ARTFORUM, Bon Appétit, and at openings giving out ceramic cigarettes. His work has been exhibited internationally through traditional and alternative venues such as West Coast Craft, the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, Catharine Clark Gallery, Load Na Dito, Root Division, the di Rosa Center for Contemporary Art, and simply on the public sidewalk.

Jeff Gunderson

Jeff Gunderson has been the Librarian and Archivist at the San Francisco Art Institute since 1981. He has written and presented on artists such as Joan Brown and Elmer Bischoff, the history of California art and photography, and the influence of art libraries on artists. His most recent publication is “Adaline Kent: Communities & Comraderies, 1920s-1950s,” an essay for the Nevada Art Museum’s Adaline Kent: Click of Authenticity (Rizzoli: 2023). He has also recently written on “The Art Education of Ed Hardy,” published for the De Young Museum’s Ed Hardy Deeper than Skin: The Art of the New Tattoo (Rizzoli, 2019). He is currently working on a collection of essays about open-water swimming.

Mike Hebel

Mike Hebel joined the San Francisco Police Department in 1966, where he rose to the rank of captain while overseeing the SFPD Training Academy and several key initiatives. He retired in 1994 and now serves as the Welfare Officer with the San Francisco Police Officers Association. Mike received a MA in Philosophy and Religion from the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) in 2005 and is presently a PhD candidate at CIIS, currently on leave.

Mike has a lifelong interest in Eastern religions, philosophies, and spiritual traditions. He met Joan Brown in the fall of 1979 at a San Francisco ashram of Swami Kriyananda, a direct disciple of Paramahansa Yogananda. In May 1980, they were married in a Hindu ceremony at SFMOMA (then located on Van Ness Avenue). They immediately left for India on a pilgrimage to all of the locations important to Yogananda and his lineage of gurus. Towards the end of this trip, they became acquainted with Sathya Sai Baba and, over the ensuing decade, would frequently visit his ashrams in southern India. Joan’s death in October 1990 occurred at the Spiritual Heritage Museum in Puttaparthi, when a ceiling collapsed while she was installing an obelisk.

Ruby Neri

Ruby Neri presented a solo exhibition at David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles, in 2022. In 2018, Neri was the subject of a two-person exhibition, Alicia McCarthy and Ruby Neri / MATRIX 270, at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA), California. Recent group shows include The Flames: The Age of Ceramics, Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris (2021–22); New Time: Art and Feminisms in the 21st Century, BAMPFA, California (2021); The Domestic Plane: New Perspectives on Tabletop Art Objects, Objects Like Us, Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, Connecticut (2018); From Funk to Punk, Left Coast Ceramics, Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, New York (2017); Fertile Ground: Art and Community in California, Oakland Museum of California and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (2014); Energy That is All Around: Mission School, Grey Art Gallery, New York University, New York (2014); Busted, High Line, New York (2013); and Made in L.A. 2012, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2012). Her work is in the permanent collections of The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; BAMPFA, California; Brooklyn Museum, New York; de Young Museum, San Francisco; and Hammer Museum, Los Angeles. Neri lives and works in Los Angeles.

Veronica Roberts

Veronica Roberts assumed the position of John and Jill Freidenrich Director of the Cantor Arts Center on July 5. She had served as the curator of modern and contemporary art at the Blanton Museum of Art at The University of Texas at Austin since 2013. At the Blanton, she curated nationally touring exhibitions Nina Katchadourian: Curiouser and Converging Lines: Eva Hesse and Sol LeWitt, and presented projects with Ed Ruscha, Lenka Clayton, Vincent Valdez, Donald Moffett, Susan Philipsz, and Diedrick Brackens. She worked closely with Ellsworth Kelly to help realize the artist’s only building, Austin, a contemplative, chapel-like space with three monumental stained glass windows that opened on the Blanton grounds in early 2018. Previously, she held curatorial positions at MoMA, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, and the Whitney Museum, and served as director of research for the Sol LeWitt Wall Drawing Catalogue Raisonné. Veronica is a San Francisco native. She was a 2021 fellow of the Center for Curatorial Leadership. She received her MA from UC Santa Barbara and her BA in art history from Williams College.

Katherine Sherwood

Katherine Sherwood’s mixed media paintings reveal narratives of disability, feminism, and healing that have always been part of art history. Her early figurative work explored Catholic iconography and gender. In 1997, she had a cerebral hemorrhage that paralyzed the right side of her body, after which she retaught herself to paint with her non-dominant hand, creating fluid abstractions with passages of poured paint and using magical healing symbols and fMRIs of her brain. Painted on the reverse of timeworn art historical prints, her recent Brain Flowers series recreates vanitas paintings by 17th century women whose still lives with fading flowers suggest the brevity of life and the vanity of earthly achievements.

Accessibility Information
Accessible seating is available at this event.

Accessibility accommodations such as American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation and assisted listening devices are available upon request ten business days in advance. Please email publicengagement@sfmoma.org, and we will do our best to accommodate your request for this event or answer any questions you may have.

Presenting support for Joan Brown is provided by Janet and Clint Reilly and anonymous donors.

Major support is provided by Joachim and Nancy Hellman Bechtle, Lorna Meyer Calas and Dennis Calas, the Agnes Cowles Bourne Bay Area Contemporary Arts Exhibition Fund, the Mary Jane Elmore West Coast Exhibition Fund, The Elaine McKeon Endowed Exhibition Fund, the Stuart G. Moldaw Public Program and Exhibition Fund, Deborah and Kenneth Novack, Susan and Bill Oberndorf, the Bernard and Barbro Osher Exhibition Fund, Rummi and Arun Sarin Painting and Sculpture Fund, the Thomas Weisel Family, and Pat Wilson.

Generous support is provided by Joan Roebuck and the Wyeth Foundation for American Art.

Additional support is provided by Maryellen and Frank Herringer and Fred Levin.

Major support is provided by the Hearst Foundations, illy, and United Airlines.

Generous support is provided by Nancy and Alan Schatzberg and Kay Harrigan Woods.

Additional support is provided by the Kelson Foundation, Susan Swig, and Yerba Buena Community Benefit District.