The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) is dedicated to making the art for our time a vital and meaningful part of public life. Founded in 1935 as the first West Coast museum devoted to modern and contemporary art, a thoroughly transformed SFMOMA, with triple the gallery space, an enhanced education center and new free ground-floor public galleries, opened to the public on May 14, 2016.
In addition to presentations drawn from its outstanding collection of approximately 50,000 artworks, as well as the renowned Doris and Donald Fisher Collection and the Pritzker Center for Photography, SFMOMA presents the following special and temporary exhibitions.Download the Advance Exhibition Schedule
Updated: January 24, 2020
On view February 15–May 25, 2020
The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) together with the Whitney Museum of American Art will present Dawoud Bey: An American Project, the first full-scale retrospective of Bey’s extraordinary career. Named a MacArthur Fellow in 2017, Bey is recognized as one of the most influential photographers of his generation. Since the beginning of his career, he has used his camera to represent communities and histories that have largely remained underrepresented or even unseen. Bey has worked primarily in portraiture, making tender and direct portrayals of black subjects both on the street and in the studio. This exhibition includes the artist’s earliest bodies of work, such as Harlem, USA, which was exhibited at the Studio Museum in Harlem in 1979, as well as more recent photography and video projects that extend his work in portraiture and explore landscapes as sites of memory to evoke African-American history. Bey sees making art not only as an act of personal expression but also of social and political responsibility, emphasizing the necessary work of artists and art institutions to break down obstacles to access, convene communities and open dialogue.
Major support for Dawoud Bey: An American Project is provided by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Randi and Bob Fisher, and The Bernard Osher Foundation. Generous support is provided by the Phillip and Edith Leonian Foundation, The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, Nion McEvoy and Leslie Berriman, and Diana and Steve Strandberg. Meaningful support is provided by The Black Dog Private Foundation, Wayee Chu and Ethan Beard, and Sarah Wigglesworth and Asiff Hirji. This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Image: Dawoud Bey, Don Sledge and Moses Austin, Birmingham, AL, from the series The Birmingham Project, 2012; Rennie Collection, Vancouver; © Dawoud Bey
On view April 11–September 7, 2020
At the age of 38, David Park (1911–1960) abandoned a carload of his abstract expressionist canvases at the city dump and started painting “pictures” — a radical decision that led to the development of Bay Area Figurative Art. Organized by SFMOMA, this exhibition will be the first major museum exhibition of Park’s work in three decades and the first to examine the full arc of his career. Approximately 125 works will be on view, ranging from his tightly controlled paintings from the 1930s to his final works on paper from 1960. The heart of the show will be a rich selection of the 1950s Bay Area Figurative canvases for which he is best known — boldly executed compositions featuring musicians, domestic and vernacular scenes, portraits, boaters and bathers — that reveal an artist deeply connected to human experience at the peak of his powers, reveling in the expressive and sensuous qualities of pure paint.
Major support for David Park: A Retrospective is provided by Doris Fisher, Patricia W. Fitzpatrick in honor of Neal Benezra, Janet and Clint Reilly, and anonymous donors. Generous support is provided by Jean and James E. Douglas, Jr., Mary J. Elmore, Christine and Pierre Lamond, the Stuart G. Moldaw Public Program and Exhibition Fund, Susan and Bill Oberndorf, the Bernard and Barbro Osher Exhibition Fund, the Thomas Weisel Family, and Anita and Ronald Wornick. Meaningful support is provided by the Wyeth Foundation for American Art. Additional support is provided by Robert and Daphne Bransten, Susan A. Engs, and Helyn Goldenberg and Michael Ayer.
Image: David Park, Two Bathers, 1958; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, purchase through gifts of Mrs. Wellington S. Henderson, Helen Crocker Russell, and the Crocker Family, by exchange, and the Mary Heath Keesling Fund; © Estate of David Park; photo: John Wilson White
On view April 25–November 1, 2020
The first major survey presented in the United States of the internationally acclaimed artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, this immersive exhibition will explore our presence in fundamentally unstable environments through a focused selection of 16 large-scale installations. Born in Mexico City and based in Montreal, Lozano-Hemmer encourages visitors to interact with and become a part of the artworks, many of which investigate the intersections of art, technology, science and politics. This presentation will feature, among other major works, Vicious Circular Breathing (2013) and Pulse Spiral (2008), two sculptural installations that respectively collect and recirculate the breath and the heartbeat of participants, as well as Zoom Pavilion (2015), a room-sized projection that captures and tracks patterns of our behavior in public space. Rafael Lozano-Hemmer: Unstable Presence is co-organized by the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), which will be the exclusive U.S. venue for this exhibition.
Generous support for Rafael Lozano-Hemmer: Unstable Presence is provided by Lionel F. Conacher and Joan T. Dea, Debbie and Andy Rachleff, Carlie Wilmans, and Pat Wilson.
Image: Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Vicious Circular Breathing, 2014 (installation view, Pseudomatismos, Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo, Mexico City, 2015); Borusan Contemporary Art Collection; © Rafael Lozano-Hemmer / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VEGAP, Spain; photo: Oliver Santana
On view April 25–September 7, 2020
Tauba Auerbach examines the boundaries of perception through an art and design practice grounded in math, science and craft. The artist’s interests often focus on connectedness, rhythm and form, intersecting with questions about the structure of the universe. Working in a wide range of media, Auerbach has created compositions that explore the properties of letters and symbols; drawings, books and large-scale installations that study binary relationships; trompe l’oeil paintings that experiment with depth and dimension; weavings and glass sculptures embedded with wave forms; and videos that interpret theories in quantum physics.
This exhibition, Auerbach’s first museum survey, presents her prolific and varied output over the last 16 years. Also included are Diagonal Press, the artist’s imprint for open-editioned publications, and Auerglass (2009), a two-person pump organ created by Auerbach and the musician Glasser (Cameron Mesirow). This immersive presentation is designed by Auerbach, along with an in-depth catalogue that serves as both an artist book and an index of work, process and references, created in collaboration with graphic designer David Reinfurt.
Major support for Tauba Auerbach — S v Z is provided by Gay-Lynn and Robert Blanding and SFMOMA’s Collectors’ Forum. Generous support is provided by Martha and Bruce Atwater, Joachim and Nancy Hellman Bechtle, Jim Breyer and Angela Chao, Katherine Harbin Clammer and Adam Clammer, Roberta and Steve Denning, the Elaine McKeon Endowed Exhibition Fund, Gina and Stuart Peterson, and Sheri and Paul Siegel. Meaningful support is provided by Thomas and Lily Beischer and Dolly and George Chammas.
Image: Tauba Auerbach, Extended Object (detail), 2018; private collection of Allan Schwartzman; © Tauba Auerbach; photo: Steven Probert
On view October 24, 2020–January 31, 2021
The most in-depth examination of the artist’s work in more than 20 years, Diego Rivera’s America will provide a new critical and contemporary understanding of one of the most aesthetically, socially and politically ambitious artists of the 20th century. Through a careful selection of some 160 objects, the exhibition will explore central themes of Rivera’s work in Mexico and the United States from the early 1920s through the early 1940s. During these two key decades in a prolific career, Rivera created a new vision for North America, informed by his travels between Mexico and the United States. Featuring extraordinary easel paintings and drawings of this period, as well as several portable frescoes, the exhibition will highlight the close relationship between Rivera’s mural and studio practices. Diego Rivera’s America will revisit a historical moment when Rivera, more than any other artist of his time, was instrumental not only in forging Mexican national identity, but also in imagining a shared American past and future.
Image: Diego Rivera, The Flower Carrier, 1935; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Albert M. Bender Collection, gift of Albert M. Bender in memory of Caroline Walter; © Banco de Mexico Diego Rivera & Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, Mexico, D.F. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; photo: Katherine Du Tiel
On view Fall 2020–ongoing
Floor 1, Roberts Family Gallery
Beginning in the fall of 2020, in a groundbreaking partnership with City College of San Francisco, SFMOMA will host Diego Rivera’s monumental mural The Marriage of the Artistic Expression of the North and of the South on the Continent, more commonly known as Pan American Unity. The mural, originally painted in front of a live audience at the 1940 Golden Gate International Exposition on San Francisco’s Treasure Island, is comprised of 10 fresco panels, and measures a total of 22 feet high and 74 feet wide (nearly 1,800 square feet). It was Rivera’s last project outside of Mexico, and is not only a treasured part of San Francisco history, but also one of the most important works of public art in the United States. Pan American Unity will be installed in SFMOMA’s free-to-visit Roberts Family Gallery on the ground floor in conjunction with an exhibition opening in October 2020. This extended and unprecedented loan will be the subject of a number of exciting new public programs including lectures, tours, talks, concerts, workshops and more.
The Presenting Sponsors for Diego Rivera’s America are Bank of America, Leslie and Troy Daniels, the Evelyn D. Haas Exhibition Fund, Sir Deryck and Lady Va Maughan, Helen and Charles Schwab, and Pat Wilson. Major support is provided by the Lisa and Douglas Goldman Fund, Mary Jo and Dick Kovacevich Family Foundation, and the Bernard Osher Foundation. Generous support is provided by Jessica and Matt Farron, Mary Robinson, and Nancy and Alan Schatzberg. Meaningful support is provided by the Robert Lehman Foundation. Research and planning support for Diego Rivera’s America is provided in part by the Koret Foundation. This project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Funding for the conservation of Pan American Unity was generously provided through a grant from the Bank of America Art Conservation Project.
Image: Diego Rivera, The Marriage of the Artistic Expression of the North and of the South on this Continent (Pan American Unity), 1940; © Banco de Mexico Diego Rivera & Frieda Kahlo Museums Trust, Mexico D.F. / Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York; image: courtesy City College of San Francisco
On view March 21–August 16, 2020
Mexico City–based architect Tatiana Bilbao considers domesticity from policy to livability. Her approach is based in an empathic understanding of local conditions — from the external socio-economic, environmental and sometimes political factors, to the internal — meeting with and learning from future inhabitants. Tatiana Bilbao: Architecture from Outside In will comprise models, drawings and photographs that illustrate Bilbao’s extensive research and proposals in response to how we live today, including a proposed masterplan for San Francisco’s Hunters Point neighborhood.
The residential projects of Tatiana Bilbao Estudio reflect the realities of contemporary lifestyles by incorporating flexibility without sacrificing dignity and domestic pride. Bilbao considered the Hunter’s Point community when redesigning its existing power substation into a net zero environmentally safe building, envisioning its transformation from community detriment to galvanizer by proposing surrounding public gathering spaces, neighborhood amenities and services as part of a large masterplan. This proposal, featured in the exhibition, will become an opportunity to consider a new urbanism that prioritizes civic health and community empowerment.
Meaningful support for Tatiana Bilbao: Architecture from Outside In is provided by the Gensler Family Foundation and Emily Rauh Pulitzer.
Image: Tatiana Bilbao, Torre Guatemala, 2015; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Accessions Committee Fund Purchase; © Tatiana Bilbao Estudio; photo: Katherine du Tiel
On view April 11–September 7, 2020
Organized to accompany David Park: A Retrospective, this exhibition will examine the weekly figure drawing sessions initiated by Park, Elmer Bischoff and Richard Diebenkorn in 1953. These artists’ gatherings, which expanded during the decade to include additional friends and colleagues, were held in each other’s Bay Area studios with hired models, both male and female. Together, the artists focused on mastering the human form by repeatedly drawing models in various poses, and experimenting with both traditional and alternative materials. The show will feature 32 drawings and two sketchbooks that capture the collegial and dynamic nature of these sessions.
Image: David Park, Figure in Chair, ca. 1958; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, bequest of Lydia Park Moore and Roy Moore; © Estate of David Park; courtesy Natalie Park Schutz, Helen Park Bigelow, and Hackett Mill, San Francisco; photo: Don Ross
April 25–November 1, 2020
Bringing together the work of two interdisciplinary artists, this presentation will center on video projections that each take archival magazine photography as a departure point. Gates’s Do you hear me calling? Mama Mamama or What Is Black Power? (2018) pays homage to the power of women by exploring the idea of the Black Madonna through reworking three decades of images appropriated from the Chicago-based Johnson Publishing Company archives, including Ebony and Jet magazines. A U.S. premiere, this two-channel installation will interweave scenes of musicians and singers, amplifying a performative approach to cultural legacies.
Smith’s Sojourner (2018) culminates with a feminist reimagining of an unpublished photograph from a 1966 Life assignment. Throughout the work, women performers take banners sewn with texts by jazz musician Alice Coltrane to different sites associated with community organizing and spiritual or artistic visionaries.
Meaningful support for Future Histories: Theaster Gates and Cauleen Smith is provided by Wayee Chu and Ethan Beard.
Left: Theaster Gates, Do you hear me calling? Mama Mamama or What Is Black Power? (still), 2018; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Accessions Committee Fund purchase; © Theaster Gates; photo: courtesy the artist and Regen Projects, Los Angeles
Right: Cauleen Smith, Sojourner (still), 2018; Kate Werble Gallery; © Cauleen Smith; photo: courtesy the artist, Corbett vs. Dempsey, Chicago, and Kate Werble Gallery, New York
On view May 30–August 10, 2020
The first exhibition of Immersion, a three-year residency project in partnership with the Hermès Foundation and the Henri Cartier-Bresson Foundation in Paris, Gregory Halpern: Let the Sun Beheaded Be will be on view from May 30 through August 10, 2020 in the museum’s Pritzker Center for Photography. The project features French and American photographers sent to each other’s countries or territories to create original bodies of work, which will be exhibited both in San Francisco and France. Gregory Halpern’s newly commissioned body of work was created during his three-month stay in the French overseas department of Guadeloupe. The artist was mentored by SFMOMA’s Senior Curator of Photography Clément Chéroux.
Support for Gregory Halpern: Let the Sun Beheaded Be is provided by Fondation d’entreprise Hermès and Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson.
Image: Gregory Halpern, Untitled, from the series Let the Sun Beheaded Be, 2019; courtesy the artist; © Gregory Halpern