SAN FRANCISCO, CA (August 31, 2023, updated September 14, 2023) — The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) announces an outstanding slate of exhibitions opening this fall and winter, underscoring the museum’s commitment to modern and contemporary art by local and international artists.
The museum’s expanded schedule includes Barbara Stauffacher Solomon: Strips of Stripes, an awe-inspiring takeover of the museum’s Floor 2 space with floor-to-ceiling graphic designs that opens on September 16, 2023. Reggie Burrows Hodges: Incline, opening October 2023, debuts Keepers Orchard, the artist’s newest—and largest—painting to date. Opening to the public on October 14, 2023, Yayoi Kusama: Infinite Love will envelop visitors in the artist’s dazzling, colorful interpretations of infinity with a presentation that features two of Kusama’s immersive Infinity Mirror Rooms. Finally, an exhibition of the work of Zanele Muholi opens on January 18, 2024, joining the artist’s acclaimed photographs with recent works in painting and sculpture that explore issues of gender identity, representation and race.
“The upcoming season at the museum is set to captivate,” said Christopher Bedford, Helen and Charles Schwab Director of SFMOMA. “Through an exhilarating range of programs, we aim to immerse visitors in a diverse array of art, ideas, and dialogues, reflecting our ambition to open our doors to as many people as possible.”
Also on view this fall are two expansive survey exhibitions: the first showcasing the boldly colorful textiles, paintings and sculptures of Pacita Abad, opening October 21; the other taking an in-depth look at the celebrated photography, video and multimedia installations of Wolfgang Tillmans opening November 11. In addition, Sea Change: Photographs from the Collection, opening September 2, considers how photography registers change, bearing witness to cultural, political and environmental shifts across time. For his New Work exhibition opening September 21, Fernando Palma Rodríguez constructs an installation of sculptures that enact a Mesoamerican creation story.
→ New! Barbara Stauffacher Solomon: Strips of Stripes
Opening September 16, 2023
Free to See
Barbara Stauffacher Solomon: Strips of Stripes is a dynamic site-specific commission that transforms SFMOMA’s Schwab Hall—the museum’s free, public Floor 2 space—with playful designs from the nonagenarian San Francisco-born artist, designer, writer and architect. Stretching from floor to ceiling, Stauffacher Solomon’s commission welcomes visitors to the museum with her “supergraphics,” large-scale, cascading designs that blend typography and wayfinding with the building’s architecture.
Widely known for her pioneering “supergraphics” at Northern California’s coastal development The Sea Ranch, Stauffacher Solomon made design history in the 1960s by creating a new form of environmental graphics that integrate with their surroundings and respond directly to the architecture in which they are located. Stauffacher Solomon has developed her supergraphics for years, generating a unique visual language: bright, graphic shapes and large-scale letters in her own typography that span walls, corners and ceilings, creating immersive environments.
In this new commission for SFMOMA, Stauffacher Solomon creates connections between the striped motif in the museum’s 1996 Mario Botta-designed building and the open volumes of the gathering spaces in the 2016 expansion designed by Snøhetta. Bright red diagonal lines, black-and-white angled patterns, and the letters “OK” playfully take over the walls and ceilings. As Stauffacher Solomon explains, “I’m saying it’s okay to come here. You’re here. It’s okay. Come in. Art welcomes you.”
Major support for Barbara Stauffacher Solomon: Strips of Stripes is provided by the Roberta and Steve Denning Commissioning Endowed Fund. Generous support is provided by the Patricia W. Fitzpatrick Commissioning Endowed Fund, Diana Nelson and John Atwater Commissioning Fund, and the Denise Littlefield Sobel Commissioning Endowed Fund.
→ New! Reggie Burrows Hodges: Incline
Opening October 2023
Reggie Burrows Hodges: Incline features the debut of Keepers Orchard, the Bay Area artist’s newest—and largest—painting to date. Made with paint and pastel on deep black grounds, Burrows Hodges’ softly beautiful narrative works feature people as they steer, serve, soar and shine. Keepers Orchard is the most recent piece in Hodges’ ongoing series, Labor, which highlights people who tend the land, from the artist’s hometown of Compton to his current home in the Bay Area. In this monumental, 25-foot work, Hodges depicts a single worker in a sweeping California landscape with the majesty of Impressionist painting, shadowed by an awareness of the bitterness and fragility of our contemporary world. The work questions our relationship to the environment at a crucial turning point.
Reggie Burrows Hodges: Incline is part of SFMOMA’s Bay Area Walls, a series of commissions and other site-responsive wall projects by local artists. Begun in 2020, the program is designed to support local artists who are keenly attuned to our community and current moment.
→ New! Yayoi Kusama: Infinite Love
October 14, 2023 – September 7, 2024
Experience the kaleidoscopic world of Yayoi Kusama, one of the most iconic and globally celebrated artists working today. Infinite Love, Kusama’s first solo presentation in Northern California, features two of the artist’s latest Infinity Mirror Rooms: room-sized, experiential artworks that transport viewers into dreamlike, boundless spaces.
Dreaming of Earth’s Sphericity, I Would Offer My Love (2023) is Kusama’s newest Infinity Mirror Room. It welcomes viewers into a cosmos of dancing color and light. Colored windows produce a luminous, kaleidoscopic pattern of overlapping circles. As visitors turn in the space, mirrored surfaces create an environment in constant flux.
LOVE IS CALLING (2013), the second room in the presentation, is one of the largest and most immersive of Kusama’s Infinity Mirror Rooms. This darkened, mirrored environment is illuminated by vividly colored tentacle-like forms accompanied by the sound of the artist reciting her poem “Residing in a Castle of Shed Tears.” The introspective piece reflects on encountering the end of life and Kusama’s wish to convey a “message of love.”
Major support for Yayoi Kusama: Infinite Love is provided by Stephanie and Mark Robinson. Generous support is provided by Jonathan Heiliger and Germaine Yokoyama-Heiliger and W.L.S. Spencer Foundation. Meaningful support is provided by Dolly and George Chammas, Marielle Ednalino and Ken Lamb, Frances Hellman and Warren Breslau, the Pincus Family, and the Sanger Family Foundation.
→ New! Yayoi Kusama: Aspiring to Pumpkin’s Love, the Love in My Heart
Opening Mid–September 2023
As a complement to Yayoi Kusama: Infinite Love on Floor 6, SFMOMA will exhibit the artist’s monumental sculpture Aspiring to Pumpkin’s Love, the Love in My Heart (2023) on Floor 5. Extending over 18 feet in length and more than 11 feet in height, the bronze sculpture’s undulating form winds through the space, enveloping visitors in its curving walls. Painted yellow, Aspiring to Pumpkin’s Love is covered in Kusama’s signature polka dots repeated in a pattern that exaggerates the convex and concave gourd-like shapes. Kusama has said, “Pumpkins have been a great comfort to me since my childhood; they speak to me of the joy of living. They are humble and amusing at the same time, and I have and always will celebrate them in my art.” Images of pumpkins can be found in Kusama’s work since the 1940s, but began appearing more broadly beginning in the 1980s, as in important works like her outdoor sculpture Pumpkin, installed on Naoshima Island, Japan, in 1994.
→ New! Zanele Muholi: Eye Me
January 18–June 2, 2024
A self-described visual activist, Zanele Muholi uses the camera to explore issues of gender identity, representation and race. Often photographing their own body or members of their LGBTQ+ community in South Africa, Muholi calls attention to the trauma and violence enacted on queer people while celebrating their beauty and resilience. Activism is central to Muholi’s artistic practice, from their early work contending with the dangers of being queer in South Africa to their more recent work embracing their own Blackness and gender expression. This exhibition brings together photographs from 2003 to the present, alongside the artist’s latest explorations in painting and sculpture. The first major exhibition of Muholi’s work on the West Coast, it provides the opportunity for Bay Area audiences to experience the full range of the artist’s expansive project.
Meaningful support for Zanele Muholi: Eye Me is provided is provided by David and Pamela Hornik.
Sea Change: Photographs from the Collection
September 2, 2023–March 17, 2024
Sea Change: Photographs from the Collection explores how photography registers change, bearing witness to cultural, political and environmental shifts across time. Presented as a suite of eight transhistorical thematic and monographic galleries, the exhibition approaches the topic of change from various angles. Placing historical and contemporary works in conversation, this permanent collection exhibition offers a survey of the history of photography that spotlights recent museum acquisitions and works by underrecognized artists.
Sea Change features works by more than 50 artists, including Takashi Arai, Jonathan Calm, Tina Barney, Guanyu Xu and Zoe Strauss, as well as single galleries devoted to the photographs of Ilse Bing and Bay Area artist Reagan Louie. Reflecting SFMOMA’s mission to connect its audience to the art of our time, the exhibition reveals how artists have used photography to examine moments of change both past and present.
New Work: Fernando Palma Rodríguez
September 21, 2023–January 28, 2024
Fernando Palma Rodríguez brings SFMOMA’s New Work gallery to life with an installation that recalls a Mesoamerican creation story, enacted by a series of new mechatronic sculptures that blend mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and computer science. In the story, four gods representing the cardinal directions preserve order and give structure to our understanding of reality, and the sculptures enact this narrative as characters in a play. Using materials such as ladders, chairs, electronic sensors, soil, and other domestic and natural objects, the exhibition is intended to inspire a heightened sense of urgency driven by climate change and a desire for sustainability.
Palma Rodríguez’s installation, Chicuace ilhuitl (6-sky), connects the ongoing struggle around land and water rights in his home community of Milpa Alta, an agricultural region of Nahua origin that supplies much of Mexico City with its clean water, to a broader conversation around environmental crises. Each robotic character is activated by electronic hardware that taps into distant meteorological phenomena, reflecting the artist’s desire to give nature a “voice,” and to engage the viewer in a conversation with environmental issues.
Since 1987, SFMOMA’s New Work series has provided a platform for artists to experiment with a new idea or body of work. The series focuses on the innovative visions of living artists and has played a key role in shaping the breadth and character of the museum’s collection and programming. Through New Work, SFMOMA has organized early exhibitions with artists such as Matthew Barney, Marilyn Minter, Kara Walker and Christopher Wool, all of whom received their first solo museum shows through the series.
Generous support for New Work: Fernando Palma Rodríguez is provided by Alka and Ravin Agrawal, Adriane Iann and Christian Stolz, and Robin Wright and Ian Reeves. Additional support provided by Consulado General de México en San Francisco.
October 21, 2023–January 28, 2024
Featuring over 40 major works, the first retrospective of Pacita Abad is the most significant U.S. presentation of artist’s multifaceted and mesmerizing art practice. Throughout her 32-year career from the 1970s to the early 2000s, Abad centered the triumphs and adversities of people on the periphery of power, as seen in her series Social Realist, Immigrant Experience and Masks and Spirits. This exhibition celebrates an artist whose vibrant and inventive work encompassed thousands of dazzling artworks—from intricately constructed underwater scenes to abstract compositions—and whose themes are as urgent today as they were three decades ago.
Though Philippine-born Pacita Abad became a U.S. citizen in 1994, the artist lived for several years in other countries, including Bangladesh, Papua New Guinea, the Dominican Republic, Kenya, Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, Sudan and Yemen. In particular, San Francisco was a place of creative origin for Abad, as she lived in the city at the start of her artistic career in the early 1970s.
Abad interacted with myriad communities through her travels, incorporating a diversity of artistic traditions—from Korean ink brush painting to Indonesian batik—into her expansive practice. Her global, peripatetic existence is reflected in the portability of her works and in her use of textiles, a medium often associated with female labor and historically marginalized as craft. The exhibition is anchored by Abad’s large-scale “trapuntos,” a form of quilted painting made by stitching and stuffing canvases.
Pacita Abad is organized by the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. Generous support for Pacita Abad at SFMOMA is provided by the Neal Benezra Exhibition Fund and The Elaine McKeon Endowed Exhibition Fund. Meaningful support is provided by Jill Cowan and Stephen Davis, the Mary Jane Elmore West Coast Exhibition Fund, Ella Qing Hou and J. Sanford Miller, Rummi and Arun Sarin Painting and Sculpture Fund, Pat Wilson, and Salle Yoo and Jeffrey Gray.
The Walker Art Center organized the exhibition with major support provided by Martha and Bruce Atwater; the Ford Foundation; the Henry Luce Foundation; the Martin and Brown Foundation; Rosemary and Kevin McNeely, Manitou Fund; and the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.
Wolfgang Tillmans: To look without fear
November 11, 2023–March 3, 2024
The most comprehensive museum survey to date of the celebrated work of Wolfgang Tillmans comes to SFMOMA this November. With unique groupings of the artist’s iconic photographs, video work and multimedia installations displayed according to a loose chronology, this exhibition highlights Tillmans’s inventive and sensitive methods of artmaking. Organized by the Museum of Modern Art in New York, SFMOMA’s presentation of this survey is the artist’s solo debut in San Francisco.
Charting the development of Tillmans’s production from the 1980s to the present, To look without fear offers viewers an in-depth look at the artist’s career. From early experiments with a photocopier to acclaimed works in portraiture, ecstatic images of New York City, London and Berlin nightlife, and abstractions made without the use of a camera, the broad range of the artist’s subject matter reveals his steadfast commitment to engage unflinchingly with the world through his art.
To look without fear demonstrates Tillmans’s unusual approach to photographic presentation, which he developed early in his career. Affixing his work to gallery walls at various levels with tape, binder clips, steel pins and only the occasional picture frame, Tillmans’s site-specific installations collect his work in dynamic constellations of imagery that eschew the conventions of art display.
Wolfgang Tillmans: To look without fear is organized by The Museum of Modern Art. The exhibition is organized by Roxana Marcoci, The David Dechman Senior Curator and Acting Chief Curator of Photography, Department of Photography, with Caitlin Ryan, Curatorial Assistant, and Phil Taylor, former Curatorial Assistant, Department of Photography, The Museum of Modern Art, New York.
Major support for Wolfgang Tillmans: To look without fear at SFMOMA is provided by the Pritzker Exhibition Fund in Photography. Generous support is provided by Katie Hall and Tom Knutsen and Nion McEvoy and Leslie Berriman. Meaningful support is provided by The Black Dog Private Foundation, Sakurako and William Fisher, Kate and Wes Mitchell, and The Sheri and Paul Siegel Exhibition Fund. Community support is provided by the James C. Hormel and Michael P. Nguyen Endowment Fund.
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Yayoi Kusama, Dreaming of Earth’s Sphericity, I Would Offer My Love, 2023, installed in the exhibition Yayoi Kusama: I Spend Each Day Embracing Flowers, David Zwirner, New York, May 11—July 21, 2023 © YAYOI KUSAMA. Courtesy the artist, Ota Fine Arts, Victoria Miro, and David Zwirner
Barbara Stauffacher Solomon, Strips of Stripes, 2023; courtesy the artist
Reggie Burrows Hodges, Labor: Keepers Orchard, 2023 (detail)
Yayoi Kusama, LOVE IS CALLING, 2013, installed in the exhibition Yayoi Kusama: I Who Have Arrived In Heaven, David Zwirner, New York, 2013 © YAYOI KUSAMA. Courtesy the artist, Ota Fine Arts, Victoria Miro, and David Zwirner
Yayoi Kusama, Aspiring to Pumpkin’s Love, the Love in My Heart, 2023, installed in the exhibition Yayoi Kusama: I Spend Each Day Embracing Flowers, David Zwirner, New York, May 11—July 21, 2023; Fisher Art Foundation; © YAYOI KUSAMA. Courtesy the artist, Ota Fine Arts, Victoria Miro, and David Zwirner
Zanele Muholi, Thathu I, The Sails, Durban, 2019; collection of Pamela and David Hornik
Reagan Louie, Beijing, 1987; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, gift of Bill Press and Elana Auerbach; © Reagan Louie; photo: Don Ross
Fernando Palma Rodríguez, Xi mo matlazacan ce cehce, 2006 (installation view, Gaga, Los Angeles, 2018); courtesy the artist and Gaga, Mexico City and Los Angeles
Pacita Abad, If My Friends Could See Me Now, 1991; collection San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, purchase, by exchange, through a gift of Peggy Guggenheim; courtesy Pacita Abad Art Estate and Tina Kim Gallery; photo: Don Ross
Wolfgang Tillmans, The Cock (kiss), 2002, courtesy of the artist, David Zwirner, New York / Hong Kong, Galerie Buchholz, Berlin / Cologne, Maureen Paley, London