Press Office Exhibition

SFMOMA Presents Wide Range of Contemporary Exhibitions This Spring and Summer

Immersive Exhibitions by Nam June Paik, Olafur Eliasson, Tatiana Bilbao and More Enliven the Museum

Released: November 18, 2020 · Download (0 KB PDF)

**NOTE: Dates are subject to change due to the COVID-19 pandemic.**

SAN FRANCISCO, CA (November 18, 2020; updated December 21, 2020) — An immersive and vibrant range of exhibitions take over the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) this spring and summer. In addition to Nam June Paik, the U.S. exclusive presentation of the artist’s radical and experimental art, the museum presents Tatiana Bilbao Estudio: Architecture from Outside In, a retrospective celebrating the Mexico City–based architect’s community-centered projects. A visitor favorite last on view at SFMOMA in 2010, Olafur Eliasson’s interactive One-way colour tunnel returns to SFMOMA’s Oculus Bridge. Eliasson’s projects are joined by works by Teresita Fernández and Anish Kapoor in Contemporary Optics: Olafur Eliasson, Teresita Fernández, and Anish Kapoor, an exhibition united in its focus on color, light and human perception.

SFMOMA’s Pritzker Center for Photography, the largest space dedicated to the medium in any art museum in the United States, presents Diana Markosian: Santa Barbara, a poignant documentary project at the intersection of photography and film. This unique series recreates the story of Markosian’s family’s journey from post-Soviet Russia to the United States in the 1990s. SFMOMA’s New Work series provides a platform for experimentation: a dedicated gallery for artists to develop or premiere a body of work or present existing work in a new context. This spring, New Work: Charles Gaines includes two major installations that explore the history of racism in the United States by returning to the 1857 decision that denied Dred and Harriet Scott their right to sue for their freedom based on the intentions of the country’s founding.

Nam June Paik, Sistine Chapel, 1993 (installation view, Tate); courtesy the Estate of Nam June Paik; © Estate of Nam June Paik; photo: Andrew Dunkley © Tate

Nam June Paik

Opening Spring 2021
Floor 4

SFMOMA is the exclusive U.S. venue for Nam June Paik, the major retrospective of Paik’s radical and experimental art organized with Tate Modern, London. One of the first truly global artists renowned for his pioneering use of emerging technologies, Paik’s collaborative practice bridged art, music, performance and mass media, all in dialogue with philosophies and traditions from both Eastern and Western cultures. Bringing together over 200 works that span a five-decade career, from early compositions and performances to large-scale video and television installations, this immersive exhibition offers an in-depth understanding of the artist’s trailblazing practice and his vision of a multidisciplinary, interconnected future.

Teresita Fernández, 3:37 p.m., 2001; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, gift of Roger Barnett; courtesy the artist and Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong; photo: Matthew Hermann

Contemporary Optics: Olafur Eliasson, Teresita Fernández, and Anish Kapoor

Opening Spring 2021
Floor 5

This spring, Olafur Eliasson’s visitor favorite One-way colour tunnel returns to SFMOMA, alongside an additional sculpture and wall reliefs by Teresita Fernández and Anish Kapoor, as part of Contemporary Optics: Olafur Eliasson, Teresita Fernández, and Anish Kapoor, a small show featuring big ideas.

The artists hail from very different regions and cultures — Eliasson from Iceland, Fernández from Florida and Kapoor from India — but bring similarly deep fascination with natural and cosmological phenomenon to their artistic practice. These interests are on full display in the exhibition, transporting viewers to visually captivating, other-worldly landscapes — all created in the past 20 years — that prompt reconsidering of human interaction with nature and the surrounding environment.

Charles Gaines, Manifesto 3, 2018; courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth; © Charles Gaines; photo: Fredrik Nilsen

New Work: Charles Gaines

Opening Spring 2021
Floor 4

New Work: Charles Gaines includes Manifestos 4 (2020), a new installation comprising drawings, videos and a musical composition, as well as Skybox 2 (2020), an immersive experience of text and the sublime. A continuation of his Manifestos series in which Gaines revisits key political texts including speeches by Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr., an essay by James Baldwin and revolutionary manifestos by the Zapatistas and the Black Panther Party to investigate the indescribable power that extends beyond the content of words, these new works consider trial documents for the first time. The exhibition emerges from the conceptual artist’s research into the Dred Scott decision of 1857, which decreed that Black people could not sue for their right to freedom because the “Founding Fathers” wrote the Constitution for the benefit of White people only. Many see this controversial decision of the Supreme Court as authorizing racism, thereby leaving an indelible stain on the foundation of this country. In his return to this historical court ruling and its trial documents, Gaines applies his rules-based methodology to develop a musical composition for sextet and envelop us in a starscape that disrupts our understanding of rational information and its transmission.

Tatiana Bilbao, Torre Guatemala, 2015; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Accessions Committee Fund Purchase; © Tatiana Bilbao Estudio; photo: Katherine du Tiel

Tatiana Bilbao Estudio: Architecture from Outside In

Opening Summer 2021
Floor 6

Mexico City–based architect Tatiana Bilbao considers domesticity from policy to livability. The studio’s approach is based in an empathic understanding of local conditions—from external socio-economic, environmental and sometimes political factors, to the internal, which she gleans from meeting with and learning from future inhabitants. Tatiana Bilbao Estudio: Architecture from Outside In comprises models and a hand-drawn mural that illustrate Bilbao’s architecture in response to how we live today, including an opportunity to consider a new urbanism that prioritizes civic health and community empowerment in San Francisco’s Hunters Point neighborhood. In redesigning the area’s former power plant into a net zero environmentally safe substation, Bilbao envisions its transformation from a community detriment to a galvanizing site that opens conversation on planning surrounding public gathering spaces, neighborhood amenities and services.

Diana Markosian, The Arrival. from Santa Barbara, 2019; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Accessions Committee Fund purchase; © Diana Markosian

Diana Markosian: Santa Barbara

Opening Summer 2021
Floor 3

Diana Markosian’s Santa Barbara explores the nature of family and the American dream. Through a series of staged photographs and a narrative video, the artist reconsiders her family history from her mother’s perspective, relating to her for the first time as a woman rather than a parent, and coming to terms with the profound sacrifices her mother made to become an American.

Markosian collaborated on this project with a scriptwriter from the 1980s American soap opera Santa Barbara (which her family had watched in Russia), a casting director and a group of actors. Weaving together imagery from the artist’s childhood homes in Moscow and Santa Barbara, the work reconstructs the Markosians’ final days in post-Soviet Russia and their arrival in the U.S. The result is a deeply personal reimagining of her past and a powerful examination of the interplay between the idealized vision of California life and the reality of the immigrant experience.


Major support for Nam June Paik is provided by Dana and Bob Emery. Generous support is provided by Lionel F. Conacher and Joan T. Dea, Debbie and Andy Rachleff, and Pat Wilson. This exhibition is made possible through support from the Terra Foundation for American Art. This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

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

Generous support for New Work: Charles Gaines is provided by Alka and Ravin Agrawal, Joachim and Nancy Hellman Bechtle, Charles and Ivette Esserman, Katie Hall and Tom Knutsen, Adriane Iann and Christian Stolz, Katie and Matt Paige, SFMOMA’s Contemporaries, Sheri and Paul Siegel Exhibition Fund, Mei and Allan Warburg, Robin Wright and Ian Reeves, and Sonya Yu and Zachary Lara.

Generous support for Tatiana Bilbao Estudio: Architecture from Outside In is provided by The Sanger Family Architecture and Design Exhibition Fund. Meaningful support is provided by the Gensler Family Foundation and Emily Rauh Pulitzer.

Generous support for Diana Markosian: Santa Barbara is provided by The Black Dog Private Foundation Fund.

Health + Safety

To curtail the spread of COVID-19, SFMOMA provides a heightened focus on visitor and staff health and safety by implementing many new precautionary measures. In addition to limiting the number of visitors each day with timed tickets, SFMOMA requires masks for all visitors and staff, provides hourly sanitation of public areas and requires social distancing throughout the museum. These measures and others ensure SFMOMA is a safe space for its community and staff. Learn more about our guidelines at sfmoma.org/visit/visitor-guidelines.

Jill Lynch 415.357.4172
Clara Hatcher Baruth 415.357.4177 chatcher@sfmoma.org