Etel Adnan, Explosion Florale, 1968/2018 (detail); courtesy the artist and Sfeir-Semler Gallery Hamburg / Beirut; © Etel Adnan

Exhibition

New Work: Etel Adnan

September 1, 2018–January 6, 2019

Floor 4

Born in Beirut, Lebanon, in 1925, visual artist, poet, and essayist Etel Adnan writes what must be communicated through language, and paints what cannot. While her earliest paintings favored pure abstraction, she is perhaps best known for her landscape works inspired by her long obsession with Mount Tamalpais. Adnan’s recent works once again return to abstraction, most specifically, color and its possibilities. A student of philosophy, Adnan came to Berkeley in 1955. As an active participant in Ann O’Hanlon’s Perception Workshops in Mill Valley in the 1960s, she developed her practice in dialogue with poets, experimental musicians, playwrights, and SFMOMA, at its original location in the War Memorial Veteran’s Building. Though she now resides in Paris, the Bay Area remained her home for more than fifty years, and was long the impetus behind her work. New Work: Etel Adnan presents new paintings and tapestries in SFMOMA’s first presentation of the artist’s work.

Generous support for New Work: Etel Adnan is provided by Alka and Ravin Agrawal, SFMOMA's Contemporaries, The Fund for Contemporary Art, Adriane Iann and Christian Stolz, and Robin Wright and Ian Reeves. Additional support is provided by Dolly and George Chammas.

Entry to this exhibition is included with general admission.

Header image:

Etel Adnan, Explosion Florale, 1968/2018 (detail); courtesy the artist and Sfeir-Semler Gallery Hamburg / Beirut; © Etel Adnan

Works by Etel Adnan

  • EA Exposion Florale with white border

    Etel Adnan, Explosion Florale, 1968/2018; courtesy the artist and Sfeir-Semler Gallery Hamburg / Beirut; © Etel Adnan

  • Adnan 299

    Etel Adnan, Untitled, 2018; courtesy the artist and Sfeir-Semler Gallery Hamburg / Beirut; © Etel Adnan

  • Etel Adnan_301

    Etel Adnan, Untitled, 2018; courtesy the artist and Sfeir-Semler Gallery Hamburg / Beirut; © Etel Adnan

  • Installation View Etel Adnan

    New Work: Etel Adnan (installation view, SFMOMA), 2018; photo: Katherine Du Tiel

  • Installation View Etel Adnan

    New Work: Etel Adnan (installation view, SFMOMA), 2018; photo: Katherine Du Tiel

  • Installation View Etel Adnan

    New Work: Etel Adnan (installation view, SFMOMA), 2018; photo: Katherine Du Tiel



Interviews


Excerpt from Journey to Mount Tamalpais

Journey to Mount Tamalpais reveals Etel Adnan’s deep connection to the Northern California icon. Original in both content and literary structure, the work is generously paired with illustrations by Adnan and explores the importance of Nature as an element of thinking, perception, and identity.

New Work at SFMOMA

Since 1987, SFMOMA's New Work series has provided a platform for experimentation: a space for artists to develop or premiere a body of work or present existing work in a new context.