The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) is one of the largest museums of modern and contemporary art in the United States and a thriving cultural center for the Bay Area. Our remarkable collection of painting, sculpture, photography, architecture, design and media arts is housed in an LEED Gold-certified building designed by the global architects Snøhetta and Mario Botta. In addition to our seven gallery floors, SFMOMA offers 45,000 square feet of free, art-filled public space open to all.
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.
**Please note, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, these dates are subject to change.**Download the Advance Exhibition Schedule
Updated: February 24, 2021
Opening Spring 2021
SFMOMA will be 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 will offer an in-depth understanding of the artist’s trailblazing practice and his vision of a multidisciplinary, interconnected future.
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.
Image: 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
Opening Summer 2021
Floor 1, Roberts Family Gallery
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 Diego Rivera’s America. 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.
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 México Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, Mexico D.F. / Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York; image: courtesy City College of San Francisco
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.
The Presenting Sponsors for Diego Rivera’s America are Bank of America, 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, Nancy and Alan Schatzberg, and Margaret V. B. Wurtele. 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 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 México Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, Mexico, D.F. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; photo: Katherine Du Tiel
Opening September 2021
The painter Joan Mitchell has long been hailed as a formidable creative force. She first attained critical acclaim and success in the male-dominated art circles of 1950s New York, then spent nearly four decades in France creating distinctive, vibrant abstract paintings that draw on landscape, memory, poetry and music. With its world premiere at SFMOMA and co-organized with the Baltimore Museum of Art, Joan Mitchell will be a comprehensive retrospective featuring approximately 80 distinguished works. This exhibition will include rarely seen early paintings that established the artist’s career and colorful large-scale multi-panel masterpieces from her later years. With suites of major paintings, sketchbooks and drawings as well as an illuminating selection of the artist’s letters and photographs, the exhibition will open a new window into the richness and range of Mitchell’s practice.
Presenting support for Joan Mitchell is provided by the Henry Luce Foundation. Leadership support is provided by Helen and Charles Schwab. Major support is provided by Richard and Mary Jo Kovacevich, Sanford Robertson, and the Terra Foundation for American Art. Generous support is provided by Richard and Mary Jo Kovacevich, the Joan Mitchell Foundation, the Bernard and Barbro Osher Exhibition Fund, Komal Shah and Gaurav Garg and the Wyeth Foundation for American Art.
Image: Joan Mitchell, Untitled, 1992; collection Komal Shah and Gaurav Garg; photo: courtesy Cheim & Read, New York
Opening Winter 2021
Tauba Auerbach examines the boundaries of perception through an art and design practice grounded in math, science and craft. The artist’s multifaceted interests often focus on duality, connectedness, rhythm and form, and intersect 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—will include their prolific and varied output over the last 17 years. Included are Diagonal Press, the artist’s imprint for open-editioned publications, and Auerglass Organ (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, Fotene Demoulas and Tom Coté, Roberta and Steve Denning, the Elaine McKeon Endowed Exhibition Fund, Gina and Stuart Peterson, The Sanger Family Architecture and Design Exhibition Fund, Lydia Shorenstein, Sheri and Paul Siegel, and Sonya Yu and Zachary Lara. Meaningful support is provided by Thomas and Lily Beischer, Dolly and George Chammas, and Agnes Gund.
Image: Tauba Auerbach, Extended Object (detail), 2018; private collection; © Tauba Auerbach; photo: Steven Probert
New Commissions Opening Spring 2021
Inspired by the long history of murals in the Bay Area and their resurgence during a period of ongoing crises, SFMOMA is commissioning new large-scale wall projects by local artists as part of a series titled Bay Area Walls, an initiative that will enliven the museum’s spaces with vibrant and timely new work and deepen its connections with the local artist community. The series will continue with a mural by Liz Hernández and photo-based projects by Erina Alejo and Adrian L. Burrell that respond to the recent proliferation of exterior murals in San Francisco and Oakland.
Major support for Bay Area Walls is provided by the SFMOMA Roberta and Steve Denning Commissioning Endowed Fund. Generous support is provided by the Mary Jane Elmore West Coast Exhibition Fund, Randi and Bob Fisher, the Patricia W. Fitzpatrick Commissioning Endowed Fund, Katie Hall and Tom Knutsen, the Elaine McKeon Endowed Exhibition Fund, the Diana Nelson and John Atwater Commissioning Fund, and the Denise Littlefield Sobel Commissioning Endowed Fund. Additional support is provided by Alka and Ravin Agrawal, Oya and Bulent Eczacibasi, and Linda and Jon Gruber in memory of Gretchen Berggruen.
Image: Adrian L. Burrell, Regeneration (featuring a mural by Twin Walls Mural Company), from the series It’s After the End of the World, Don’t You Know That Yet?, 2020; courtesy the artist; © Adrian L. Burrell
Opening Spring 2021
This timely exhibition will bring together the deeply personal responses of seven Bay Area artists — Carolyn Drake, Rodney Ewing, Andres Gonzalez, James Gouldthorpe, Klea McKenna, Tucker Nichols and Woody De Othello — to the COVID-19 pandemic and the shelter-in-place order. Seen individually, the seven projects will demonstrate a startlingly wide range of artistic, emotional and political responses, a reminder of just how differently this moment of collective crisis has affected each of us. Taken together, the work will emphasize the experience of this period as a shared wound and a communal grieving, and issues a call for empathy and understanding as well as connecting through art.
Generous support for Close to Home: Creativity in Crisis is provided by Joachim and Nancy Hellman Bechtle and Kate and Wes Mitchell. Meaningful support is provided by Wayee Chu and Ethan Beard.
Image: James Gouldthorpe, COVID Artifact 20, 2020; courtesy the artist; © James Gouldthorpe
Opening Spring 2021
This spring, Olafur Eliasson’s visitor favorite One-way colour tunnel will return 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 will be 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.
Generous support for Contemporary Optics: Olafur Eliasson, Teresita Fernández, and Anish Kapoor is provided by the Barbro Osher Pro Suecia Foundation.
Image: Olafur Eliasson, One-way colour tunnel, 2007 (detail); gift of Helen and Charles Schwab through The Art Supporting Foundation; © Olafur Eliasson
Opening Spring 2021
Off the Wall will present photography-based installations that literally move the art off the wall and into the gallery space. The featured pieces, by contemporary artists Oliver Chanarin, Liz Deschenes, Lieko Shiga, Dayanita Singh and Sarah Sze, are linked in how they challenge traditional expectations of photographic display and presentation. The results of their very different approaches and practices are contemplative, intimate and provocative works that invite viewers to experience photography in fresh and engaging ways.
This group of artists from around the world expand on earlier efforts to stretch the boundaries of the medium by transforming photographs into sculpture, including them in complex installations, projecting them onto various surfaces and creating custom furniture for their display. Engaging visitors in unconventional ways, the artists’ inventive, divergent approaches speak to the incredible dynamism of the current moment in photography.
Generous support for Off the Wall is provided by Kate and Wes Mitchell. Meaningful support is provided by Fundación Botín, Takeo Obayashi, and Eleanor and Francis Shen.
Image: Sarah Sze, Images in Translation, 2019; courtesy the artist and Tanya Bonakdar Gallery New York / Los Angeles; © Sarah Sze
Opening Summer 2021
Diana Markosian’s Santa Barbara will explore the nature of family and the American dream. Through a series of staged photographs and a narrative video, the artist will reconsider 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.
Generous support for Diana Markosian: Santa Barbara is provided by The Black Dog Private Foundation Fund.
Image: Diana Markosian, The Arrival, from Santa Barbara, 2019; courtesy the artist; © Diana Markosian
Opening Summer 2021
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 vision plan 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.
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.
Image: Tatiana Bilbao, Torre Guatemala, 2015; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Accessions Committee Fund Purchase; © Tatiana Bilbao Estudio; photo: Katherine du Tiel
Opening Spring 2021
New Work: Charles Gaines will include 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 will consider trial documents for the first time. The exhibition will emerge 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 will apply 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.
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.
Image: Charles Gaines, Manifesto 3, 2018; courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth; © Charles Gaines; photo: Fredrik Nilsen