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Exhibition

Contemporary Optics

Olafur Eliasson, Teresita Fernández, and Anish Kapoor

March 19, 2021–October 23, 2022

Floor 5

Tickets
Entry to this exhibition is included with general admission.
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Contemporary artists Olafur Eliasson, Teresita Fernández, and Anish Kapoor are building on the vocabulary of color theory developed by Op art painters in the 1960s, as well as their interest in the physiology behind perception, to expand our understanding of human and more-than-human interaction.

This exhibition features four sculptures from the museum’s collection, which evoke natural and cosmological spectacles, including a rainbow, a glacial ice cave, and a black hole. Each artist offers a unique vantage point, yet their motives are similar: to transmute the optical and sensory encounters of universal phenomena into objects and artifice that can be experienced in entirely new ways in the gallery. With each step, each glance, we become more aware of our roles and responsibilities in the dynamic world we inhabit.

Contemporary Optics uses a waiting list to manage capacity. Sign up at the exhibition for a time slot, and you will be notified when it’s your turn. Depending on daily attendance, visitors may be limited to 45 seconds in the Eliasson Tunnel to keep lines short and give everyone a chance to experience the work. Thank you for your understanding!

Exhibition Preview

Olafur Eliasson, One-way colour tunnel, 2007 (detail); gift of Helen and Charles Schwab through The Art Supporting Foundation; © Olafur Eliasson; photo: Ian Reeves; courtesy SFMOMA
Teresita Fernández, 3:37 p.m., 2001; collection SFMOMA, gift of Sloan and Roger Barnett, 2020; © Teresita Fernández; courtesy the artist and Lehmann Maupin, New York, Hong Kong, Seoul, and London; photo: Elisabeth Bernstein
Anish Kapoor, Vortex, 2004 (installation view); The Doris and Donald Fisher Collection at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; © Anish Kapoor / ARS, New York / DACS, London; photo: Katherine Du Tiel; courtesy SFMOMA
Studio Other Spaces, The House of Peace, Copenhagen, 2014; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Accessions Committee Fund purchase, 2017; © Studio Other Spaces

Generous support for Contemporary Optics: Olafur Eliasson, Teresita Fernández, and Anish Kapoor is provided by the Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation.

Header image: Olafur Eliasson, One-way colour tunnel, 2007 (detail); gift of Helen and Charles Schwab through The Art Supporting Foundation; © Olafur Eliasson; courtesy SFMOMA