SAN FRANCISCO, CA (November 30, 2017) — The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) announces new presentations of work from the famed Doris and Donald Fisher Collection for the 2017–18 season. Inspired by the Fisher Collection’s distinctive concentrations of work by individual artists, this series of focused solo exhibitions draws from SFMOMA’s and the Fishers’ collections, along with select outside loans, to present new perspectives on artists whose work the museum holds in depth, and to create lively dialogues among complementary works that have never been presented together before. The Doris and Donald Fisher Collection Galleries will feature large-scale sculptures by Louise Bourgeois and Christopher Wilmarth, rarely-seen handmade models by Alexander Calder, kinetic installations by Rebecca Horn, genre-defying paintings and sculptures by Richard Artschwager and influential, cross-disciplinary work by Sol LeWitt. These presentations demonstrate the shared strengths of the combined holdings of the SFMOMA and Fisher Collections.
Louise Bourgeois Spiders explores the representation and symbolism of spiders within Bourgeois’ 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’ conception of the spider with six wall and floor spiders in a range of materials and scales from intimate to monumental.
The second exhibition in SFMOMA’s dedicated Calder gallery, Scaling Up takes a close look at the small-scale and surprisingly tactile beginnings of the artist’s most sizable works. While best known for his hanging mobiles, Calder also created an astounding assortment of standing sculptures that delight the eye and engage the mind with dynamic contours, soaring lines and, in some cases, moving components. With more than a dozen loans drawn from the Fisher Collection and the Calder Foundation, the exhibition introduces visitors to the multistep methods of enlargement that Calder developed to transform handmade models into monumental sculptures. Featuring indoor and outdoor artworks from the 1950s to the 1970s, the exhibition coincides with the 50th anniversaries of SFMOMA collection works The Kite that Never Flew (1967) and Maquette for Trois disques (1967), and includes rarely seen working models related to these and other celebrated sculptures.
Richard Artschwager’s mercurial paintings and sculptures pair strange and familiar materials to confound visual perception. This focused presentation is drawn entirely from SFMOMA and the Fisher Collection and shows the range of Artschwager’s investigations in paintings, objects, furniture and works on paper. By creating surprising overlaps between three-dimensional objects and illusionistic representation, these works collapse the categories that distinguish furniture, decoration and art. Among the highlights of this presentation are seminal early works such as Portrait of Holly (1967–68) and Table and Chair (1962–63). Also on view will be Artschwager’s Single Dinner (1988), a sculpture that resembles a modern dinette for one — except that the surfaces are covered in rubberized hair.
This presentation will feature kinetic and sound sculptures by German artist Rebecca Horn. Creating an immersive environment, the centerpiece of the exhibition is the double-gallery installation The Hydra-Forest: Performing Oscar Wilde (1988), in which random bursts of electricity occur between seven pairs of twisted copper tubes suspended from the ceiling. This work will be accompanied by three additional pieces — including a sculpture the artist made for this exhibition—which together probe the intertwinement of material, memory and bodily senses.
The conceptual geometric work of Sol LeWitt radically changed the definition of art in the 1960s. This presentation will be anchored by the artist’s monumental Incomplete Open Cubes (1974), a complex work consisting of structures, photographs and drawings that explore all the permutations of an incomplete cube. His rarely-seen, photo-based work Muybridge II (1964), made in homage to Eadweard Muybridge’s 19th-century motion studies, and a selection of the artist’s wall and floor structures will demonstrate the roots and range of his interest in serial explorations of form. Visitors also will find significant wall drawings by LeWitt nearby on Floor 5, and the 62-foot Wall Drawing 895: Loopy Doopy (white and blue) upon entering Helen and Charles Schwab Hall on Floor 2.
Drawn from the complementary holdings of SFMOMA and the Fisher Collection, this exhibition will shed light on Christopher Wilmarth’s under-recognized poetic sculptures in glass, metal and wood. This exhibition will feature the artist’s largest steel and glass sculpture, Days on Blue (1974–76); smaller scale works such as Alba Sweeps (1972), composed of etched glass and bronze; Glass Drawing (1967); and additional sculptures and works on paper from the 1960s through the 1970s.
Comprising more than 1,100 works by 185 artists, the Doris and Donald Fisher Collection is one of the greatest collections of postwar and contemporary art in the world. The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) forged a groundbreaking partnership with the Fisher Art Foundation to share this extraordinary collection with visitors from around the world for at least 100 years, presenting art from the Fishers’ holdings alongside works from the SFMOMA collection in the expanded museum, creating countless opportunities to reinterpret these works.
Doris and Donald Fisher started collecting art in the 1970s, and over several decades they amassed a museum-quality collection of works by postwar and contemporary American and European artists. The Fishers collected in depth the work of artists they especially admired, including: Georg Baselitz, Alexander Calder, Chuck Close, Ellsworth Kelly, William Kentridge, Anselm Kiefer, Roy Lichtenstein, Agnes Martin, Joan Mitchell, Gerhard Richter, Richard Serra, Cy Twombly and Andy Warhol.
Annual membership begins at $100, and members enjoy free admission. Adult general admission to SFMOMA is $25; admission for seniors 65 years and older is $22; and admission for visitors ages 19 through 24 is $19. Visitors aged 18 years and younger receive free admission to the museum, including special exhibitions.
Group discounts and private guided tours featuring works from the Fisher Collection are available through the SFMOMA Group Sales Department. Tours are one hour in length and are not included with museum admission. Tours must be booked at least two weeks in advance. For more information or to submit an inquiry, please visit sfmoma.org/groups.