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 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: August 14, 2017

Special Exhibitions


Walker Evans

On view September 30, 2017–February 4, 2018
Floor 3

A major photographer of the 20th century, Walker Evans’s iconic images of the Depression, his photo essays published during the 1940s and 50s and his definition of the “documentary style” influenced generations of photographers and other artists. Organized by the Musée National d’Art Moderne of the Centre Pompidou in Paris and conceived as a complete retrospective of Evans’s work, this exhibition examines the photographer’s fascination with vernacular culture. Through 300 prints assembled from major international collections, many of which have never before been exhibited, the exhibition presents a wide range of Evans’s photographs and his many sources of inspiration. Walker Evans includes documentation of the major subjects that Evans photographed during his career, as well as nearly 100 documents and objects, including many from the photographer’s personal collection of postcards, enameled plates, cut images and graphic ephemera. SFMOMA will be the only U.S. venue for this exhibition.

Walker Evans is organized by the Centre Pompidou, Paris, in collaboration with the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Lead support is provided by Randi and Bob Fisher. Major support is provided by Diana and Steve Strandberg. Generous support is provided by Joni Binder and Robert Shwarts. Additional support is provided by Michele and Christopher Meany.

Image: Walker Evans, Sidewalk and Shopfront, New Orleans, 1935; gelatin silver print; collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, gift of Willard Van Dyke; © Walker Evans Archive, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York


Robert Rauschenberg: Erasing the Rules

On view November 18, 2017–March 25, 2018
Floor 4

From the 1940s until his passing in 2008, Rauschenberg worked with everything from photography to items scavenged from New York City streets to vats of bubbling mud. More than 150 of Rauschenberg’s artworks, including prints, sculptures, paintings and Combines (works that incorporate painting and sculpture), will be on view in the retrospective Robert Rauschenberg: Erasing the Rules, celebrating the artist’s continual experimentation with materials and collaborative working processes. The exhibition demonstrates how, with razor-sharp humor and intelligence, Rauschenberg broke down boundaries between disciplines, anticipated many of the defining cultural and social issues of our time and redefined what art could be for the generations of artists who followed.

Image: Robert Rauschenberg, Persimmon, 1964; oil and silkscreen ink on canvas; private collection; © Robert Rauschenberg Foundation


René Magritte: The Fifth Season

On view May 19–October 28, 2018
Floor 4

This exhibition presents René Magritte’s late paintings (1943–1967) in nine tightly focused immersive galleries each keyed to a major series or pictorial theme. René Magritte: The Fifth Season opens with the artist questioning the modernism of his youth, experimenting with elements of Impressionism, Fauvism and Expressionism, and follows Magritte’s developing strategies for illuminating the ways that pictures both create and expose confusions between appearance and reality.

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


Temporary Exhibitions


Julie Mehretu

On view September 2, 2017–ongoing
Floor 1

Opening Labor Day weekend, a commission from Julie Mehretu will be on view in SFMOMA’s free public space. Consisting of two large-scale paintings, each measuring 27 by 32 feet, the commission will cover the expansive, angled walls of the museum’s Evelyn and Walter Haas Jr. Atrium. Mehretu is known for her densely layered abstract paintings and works on paper, which often incorporate the dynamic visual vocabulary of maps, urban planning grids and architectural forms. The installation is part of SFMOMA’s art commissioning program, a vital part of the museum’s commitment to sharing the art for our time with the Bay Area and beyond.


Designed in California

On view January 27–May 27, 2018
Floor 6

California has become a magnet for those seeking to change the wider world through design. Focusing on collaborative, human-centered, ecologically conscious, technology-driven designers, this exhibition explores developing directions in California design, including the wide adoption of personal computers, environmental initiatives, the rise of the internet of things and the lure and threat of Artificial Intelligence. Designed in California features installations by Ant Farm, Charles and Ray Eames and Futurefarmers, as well as works by Espenet, Heath Ceramics, IDEO and fuseproject, among others. Through experiments in science, engineering, business and the social sphere, designers negotiate tensions between craft and technology, connection and personal freedom, authenticity and innovation. As these projects make clear, California has embraced the tremendous potential of design to reshape the future.


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

On view March 24–October 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.


The Train: RFKs Last Journey

On view March 24–June 24, 2018
Floor 3

On June 8, 1968, three days after the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy, his body was carried by a funeral train from New York City to Washington D.C. for burial at Arlington Cemetery. The Train looks at this historical event through three distinct works. The first is a group of color photographs by commissioned photographer Paul Fusco. Taken from the funeral train, the images capture mourners who lined the railway tracks to pay their final respects. Looking from the opposite perspective, the second work features photographs and home movies by the spectators themselves, collected by Dutch artist Rein Jelle Terpstra in his project The People’s View (2014–18). The third, a work by French artist Philippe Parreno, is a 70mm film reenactment of the funeral train’s journey, inspired by Fusco’s original photographs. Bringing historical and contemporary works together in dialogue, this powerful, multidisciplinary exhibition sheds new light on this pivotal moment in American history.


Single-Gallery Presentations


Louise Bourgeois Spiders

On view October 7, 2017–September 4, 2018
Floor 5

Louise Bourgeois Spiders explores the representation and symbolism of spiders within Bourgeois’s body of work. For Bourgeois, the spider embodied an intricate and sometimes contradictory mix of psychological and biographical allusions. Part reference to her mother, part to herself, the spider represents cleverness, industriousness and protectiveness. Bourgeois directly associated the weaving of a web to her mother’s tapestry needlework. She also referred to spiders as both fierce and fragile, capable of being protectors and predators. Filling the museum’s sculpture gallery on Floor 5, this exhibition illustrates the compelling complexity of Bourgeois’s conception of the spider with a selection of wall and floor spiders in a range of materials and scales from intimate to monumental.

Image: Louise Bourgeois, The Nest, 1994; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, purchase through the Agnes E. Meyer and Elise S. Haas Fund and the gifts of Doris and Donald Fisher, Helen and Charles Schwab, and Vicki and Kent Logan; © The Easton Foundation/Licensed by VAGA, NY; photo: Ben Blackwell


New Work: Kerry Tribe

On view October 7, 2017–February 25, 2018
Floor 4

This solo exhibition premieres an SFMOMA commission by Kerry Tribe, foregrounding questions around empathy, communication and performance. On view in the New Work gallery on Floor 4, the Los Angeles–based artist’s immersive video installation will offer insight into the world of Standardized Patients — professional actors trained to portray real patients in a simulated clinical environment as part of medical student training. Working closely with Standardized Patients in California, Tribe’s project builds upon central themes of her practice including language, perception, consciousness and the willing suspension of disbelief in documentary and narrative contexts.

Generous support for the New Work series is provided by Alka and Ravin Agrawal, Adriane Iann and Christian Stolz and Robin Wright and Ian Reeves.

Image: Kerry Tribe, production still from Standardized Patient, 2017; commissioned by SFMOMA, courtesy the artist and 1301PE, Los Angeles; © Kerry Tribe; photo: courtesy the artist and 1301 PE, Los Angeles