Portraits and Other Likenesses from SFMOMA

May 08-October 11, 2015

Museum of the African Diaspora

Organized in partnership with the Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD), this exhibition explores how portraiture has evolved from a form of personal identification to a genre as invested in fiction, subversion, stereotype, and fantasy as it is in the description of physical traits. Featuring more than fifty artworks ranging in date from the early 1930s to our own time, Portraits and Other Likenesses from SFMOMA demonstrates how artists interested in issues of identity have negotiated a vast array of European, African, and American visual-cultural forms to redefine what it means to make a portrait. The carefully selected artworks — many exhibited for the first time as part of SFMOMA's collection — encompass paintings, sculptures, photography, media art, and installation, including key pieces by Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Romare Bearden, David Hammons, Wifredo Lam, Glenn Ligon, Consuelo Kanaga, Nicole Miller, Chris Ofili, Lorna Simpson, Mickalene Thomas, Kara Walker, Carrie Mae Weems, and Fred Wilson, among others.

The exhibition is jointly curated by Lizzetta LeFalle-Collins, guest curator for MoAD, and Caitlin Haskell, assistant curator of painting and sculpture at SFMOMA.

Portraits and Other Likenesses from SFMOMA is jointly organized by the Museum of the African Diaspora and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. The exhibition is made possible by major support from The James Irvine Foundation. Generous support is provided by The Bernard Osher Foundation and the George F. Jewett Foundation. Additional support is provided by the Betlach Family Foundation, Concepción and Irwin Federman, Moët Hennessey, United Airlines, and the Yerba Buena Community Benefit District.

The James Irvine Foundation The Bernard Osher Foundation
Moet Hennessey United Airlines The Yerba Buena Community Benefit District
  • Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, Sapphires Under Cotton, 2013; oil on canvas; Collection SFMOMA, Accessions Committee Fund purchase; Lynette Yiadom-Boakye; photo: Katherine Du Tiel
  • Romare Bearden, Three Men, 1966-67; printed and painted papers, watercolor, and graphite on canvas; Collection SFMOMA, purchase, by exchange, through an anonymous gift; Romare Bearden Foundation / Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY; photo: Katherine Du Tiel
  • Mickalene Thomas, Between Ourselves Again, 2015; multimedia installation with single-channel video; commissioned by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; courtesy Mickalene Thomas and Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York; Mickalene Thomas; photo: Jolene Torr
  • Mickalene Thomas, Sista Sista Lady Blue, 2007; chromogenic print; Collection SFMOMA, gift of Campari USA; Mickalene Thomas / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; photo: Katherine Du Tiel
  • Nick Cave, Soundsuit, 2009; synthetic textile, metal, and paint; Collection SFMOMA, Accessions Committee Fund purchase; Nick Cave; photo: James Prinz Photography, courtesy the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York