Advance Exhibition Schedule

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 over 34,000 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.

Updated: March 16, 2018

Special Exhibitions

René Magritte: The Fifth Season

On view May 19–October 28, 2018
Floor 4

René Magritte was one of the most intriguing painters associated with Surrealism, but he did not fully find his voice until after breaking ties with the movement in 1943. This exhibition is the first to look exclusively at Magritte’s late career (1940s–1960s), a period of remarkable artistic transformation and revitalization. Featuring more than 60 artworks in nine immersive, thematic galleries, René Magritte: The Fifth Season explores how Magritte balanced irony and conviction, philosophy and fantasy, to illuminate the gaps between what we see and what we know. Together, the works reveal Magritte as an artist acutely attuned to the paradoxes at work within reality, and an enduring champion of the role of mystery in life and art.

Lead support for René Magritte: The Fifth Season is provided by Carolyn and Preston Butcher. Major support is provided by The Bernard Osher Foundation and Pat Wilson. Generous support is provided by Jean and James E. Douglas, Jr., Jacqueline Evans, Melinda and Kevin P.B. Johnson, Sir Deryck and Lady Va Maughan, Nancy and Alan Schatzberg, and Sheri and Paul Siegel. Additional support is provided by the Robert Lehman Foundation. This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Image: René Magritte, Les valeurs personnelles (Personal Values), 1952; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, purchase through a gift of Phyllis C. Wattis; © Charly Herscovici, Brussels / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; photo: Katherine Du Tiel

Vija Celmins: To Fix the Image in Memory

On view December 15, 2018–March 31, 2019
Floor 4

This exhibition will highlight Vija Celmins’ “re-descriptions” of the physical world, which are created through an intensive and deliberative artistic process. For more than five decades she has been creating subtle, exquisitely detailed renderings of natural imagery — including oceans, desert floors, galaxies and night skies — and surveying how we perceive these vast visual expanses. Organized by medium and motif, Vija Celmins: To Fix the Image in Memory will feature approximately 140 works including 60 paintings, 70 drawings in graphite and charcoal and 10 sculptures, as well as new work created for the exhibition. SFMOMA will present the global debut of this retrospective, the first in North America in more than 25 years.

Image: Vija Celmins, Untitled (Ocean), 1977; graphite on acrylic ground on paper; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, bequest of Alfred M. Esberg; © Vija Celmins; photo: Don Ross

Temporary Exhibitions

Selves and Others: Gifts to the Collection from Carla Emil and Rich Silverstein

On view March 24–September 23, 2018
Floor 3

The most compelling photographic portraits reveal more than simply a sitter’s physical appearance — they hint at an individual’s character, suggest a psychological state or perhaps even offer a glimpse of the sitter’s soul. Drawn from the many generous gifts Carla Emil and Rich Silverstein have donated to SFMOMA’s collection since the late 1990s, this exhibition features portraits of the self; of personas or avatars; of family members, lovers and friends; and of strangers. Made from the 19th century to the present and organized thematically, the works in the exhibition were created by artists including Julia Margaret Cameron, Rineke Dijkstra, Man Ray, Cindy Sherman and Gillian Wearing, among many others.

Image: Cindy Sherman, Untitled #399, 2000; chromogenic print; fractional and promised gift of Carla Emil and Rich Silverstein to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; © Cindy Sherman, courtesy of the Artist and Metro Pictures

Susan Meiselas: Mediations

On view July 21–October 21, 2018
Floor 3

From war and human rights to cultural identity and domestic violence, Susan Meiselas’s work covers a wide range of subjects and countries. This retrospective brings together projects from the beginning of her career in the 1970s to the present day, including her iconic portraits of carnival strippers, vivid color images of the conflicts in Central America in the 1980s and an ongoing investigation into the history and aftermath of the Kurdish genocide. A member of Magnum Photos since 1976, Meiselas creates work that raises provocative questions about documentary practice and the relationship between photographer and subject. The exhibition highlights her unique working method, combining photography, video, sound and installation to explore different scales of time and conflict, ranging from the personal to the geopolitical. Susan Meiselas: Mediations is organized by the Jeu de Paume (Paris) and the Fundació Antoni Tàpies (Barcelona), and SFMOMA is the exclusive U.S. venue for this exhibition.

Image: Susan Meiselas, Traditional Indian dance mask from the town of Monimbo, used by the rebels during the fight against Somoza to conceal identity. Nicaragua, 1978; courtesy Susan Meiselas / Magnum Photos

Donald Judd: Specific Furniture

On view July 14–November 4, 2018
Floor 6

This exhibition examines Donald Judd’s furniture design as its own practice, independent from his artworks and motivated by entirely different criteria. While formally resonant with Judd’s sculpture, the furniture work — distilled pieces originating from an idealized utilitarian form — emerged out of a desire for functional specificity, developed pragmatically in response to what Judd saw as an absence of good, available and affordable furniture. Beyond his roles as artist, designer and critic, Judd was also a passionate collector inspired by the iconic furniture designs of Alvar Alto, Gerrit Rietveld, Mies Van Der Rohe and Rudolph Schindler, among others. This presentation brings together Judd’s furniture with examples by others that he revered and owned himself, as well as newly fabricated Judd pieces that visitors may experience as they were intended.

Support for Donald Judd: Specific Furniture is provided by Dudley and Michael Del Balso.

Image: Donald Judd, Armchair, designed 1984, fabricated 1998; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, gift of Byron R. Meyer; photo: Katherine Du Tiel

Single-Gallery Presentations

New Work: LANZA Atelier

On view March 31–July 29, 2018
Floor 4

The latest installment of SFMOMA’s New Work series features the architecture and furniture design of LANZA Atelier. Based in Mexico City, LANZA is an architecture studio founded in 2015 by Isabel Abascal and Alessandro Arienzo, and this marks their first solo museum exhibition in the U.S. The centerpiece of the exhibition is Steps Table (2017), a 25-foot-long table comprised of 13 tiered sections paired with 26 chairs. Steps Table grows in height incrementally from one section to the next. Viewed from the lower end, the table seems to float gradually upwards, while from the upper end the structure appears to lower toward the ground. The New Work series is an integral part of SFMOMA’s commitment to highlighting work by living artists.

Generous support for New Work: LANZA Atelier is provided by Alka and Ravin Agrawal, SFMOMA’s Contemporaries, Adriane Iann and Christian Stolz, Robin Wright and Ian Reeves, and Helen and Charles Schwab.

Image: LANZA Atelier, Steps Table, 2017 (installation view, Labor Gallery, Mexico City); photo: Camila Cossio