Please note that this schedule is subject to change. To confirm dates and information, call the SFMOMA Communications Department at 415.357.4170.
Between Art and Life: The Contemporary Painting and Sculpture Collection
May 10, 2009–January 3, 2010
This exhibition presents paintings and sculptures made in the past three decades, concluding with works by artists working today. More specifically, Between Art and Life explores the concept of the crossover (as well as the gap) between art and life. As a whole, the exhibition acts as a reflection on the pluralistic landscape of contemporary art—one in which artists are driven less by an overriding art movement or medium and more by the investigation of personal visions, with reverberations both poetic and political. In a similar spirit of experimentation, the galleries will be used as a laboratory, or testing ground, for new ideas within contemporary art, highlighting unexpected connections among artists of multiple generations and across various media while focusing on key movements and debates within recent art history. Featured artists include Franz Ackermann, Damien Hirst, Zhang Huan, Dinh Q. Lê, Chris Johanson, Glenn Ligon, Beatriz Milhazes, Chris Ofili, Robert Rauschenberg, Matthew Ritchie, and Andrea Zittel.
The Studio Sessions
July 3 through September 13, 2009
This group exhibition showcases conceptually-driven video works by five contemporary artists: Kevin Atherton, General Idea, Christian Jankowski, Mads Lynnerup, and Joe Sola. Taking a behind-the-scenes look at art production, The Studio Sessions explores the theme of the artist in conversation, turning the dialogue about one’s own art into the subject of the work itself. Professional situations in which artists introduce their ideas and answer questions about their practice—studio visits, artist talks, press interviews—are usually considered secondary to art-making and the final exhibited result. In these humorous, yet poignantly human works, the artists adapt or subvert these forms of presentation in order to test out a concept or reflect on their working process. In doing so, they stage a larger discussion of how art is promoted to and received by different audiences.
Richard Avedon: Photographs 1946–2004
July 11–November 29, 2009
Widely considered one of the greatest American photographers, Richard Avedon was among the first to challenge the conventional boundaries between studio photography and reportage. This exhibition presents more than 200 of his photographs, ranging from street scenes taken after World War II and images of the glamorous fashion world of 1950s Paris to a selection of his more recent and best-known works: portraits of statesmen, artists, and celebrities. Avedon revolutionized celebrity portraiture by casting aside the stiffness and conventional poses typical of formal portraits in order to represent his often famous subjects as people with distinctive personalities. This presentation, the first major retrospective since Avedon’s death in 2004, celebrates his unique vision and integral place in the history of photography. Catalogue.
Not New Work: Vincent Fecteau Selects from the Collection
July 25–November 8, 2009
In a marked departure from past New Work shows at SFMOMA, this exhibition presents drawings, paintings, and sculptures from the museum’s holdings selected by the San Francisco-based artist Vincent Fecteau. Over the past year, Fecteau has mined the thousands of objects in SFMOMA’s holdings, gradually narrowing his selections down to approximately 25 works that have rarely, if ever, been on display at the museum. The resulting exhibition—composed entirely of undiscovered, idioscyncratic gems—is unlike any other in the history of the museum. Featured artists range from familiar names such as Judy Chicago, Max Ernst, and Jess to the lesser known Richard Feralla, Charles Howard, and Dorothy Reid. SFMOMA also has commissioned Fecteau to create an artist’s book in conjunction with the exhibition.
Sensate: Bodies and Design
August 7, 2009–November 8, 2009
Mutant bodies, fictional bodies, animate architecture: these are among the provocations offered by Sensate, an exhibition that reflects recent debates about what bodies are and how they are met and mirrored by design. Works from the SFMOMA collection are joined by two large-scale installations fabricated especially for the exhibition. Andrew Kudless’s cast plaster P_Wall covers a 45-foot-long gallery wall, its bulbous, creased texture replacing the smooth surface with a decidedly different kind of skin. Alex Schweder’s A Sac of Rooms All Day Long is a massive, inflatable sculpture that begins as a heap of clear vinyl and, over the course of a day, slowly rises to assume the shape of two houses, one inside the belly of the other. The installations, alongside other works by artists, architects, and designers, replace traditional references to the body with approaches that admit greater complexity, nuance, and uncertainty.
The Provoke Era: Postwar Japanese Photography
September 12–December 20, 2009
This exhibition traces Japanese photography from the 1960s through the 1980s, focusing on postwar society, especially changing national identity and societal upheaval during Japan’s rapid transition from empire to democratic government. The exhibition also examines the history of SFMOMA’s collection of photographs from Japan, which includies works by artists Eikoh Hosoe, Masahisa Fukase, Kikuji Kawada, Daido Moriyama, Takuma Nakahira, Nobuyoshi Araki, and Shomei Tomatsu, to name a few.
Photography Now: China, Japan, Korea
September 12–December 20, 2009
Photography Now: China, Japan, Korea showcases SFMOMA’s most recent acquisitions of work examining the three countries. Subjects range from the construction of the Three Gorges Dam to urban renewal and cultural identity. Artists include Naoya Hatakeyama, Tomoko Sawada, Yasumasa Morimura, LiJie Liu, Luo Dan, Chen Nong, Sze Tsung Leong, and Bohnchang Koo, among others.
October 1–December 20, 2009
Berlin-based South African artist Candice Breitz has produced a number of video installations that deal with the impact of pop culture on contemporary consciousness—especially our obsession with celebrity. Working Class Hero (A Portrait of John Lennon) (2006) is the fourth installment in a series that focuses on pop-music icons (previous works focus on Bob Marley, Michael Jackson, and Madonna). For Working Class Hero, Breitz invited a diverse community of Lennon fans to pay tribute to the late musician by performing his first solo album, Plastic Ono Band, from beginning to end. In addition to offering intimate portraits of each participant, the resulting twenty-five–channel video installation forms a survey of fan culture and reflects on the complex threads of identification that often characterize the relationship between celebrities and their public. On view in an adjacent gallery is a second work by Breitz, entitled Mother (2005). For this work, the artist took famous film performances by actresses in the role of a mother and edited them into composite monologues, creating an exploration of Hollywood’s representation of the maternal.
Focus on Artists: Selections from the Collection
October 22, 2009–January 15, 2010
From its early days, SFMOMA has been devoted to fostering close relationships with artists, and these ties have often lead to in-depth holdings of their works. This exhibition looks at SFMOMA’s long-term relationships with several modern masters whose iconic artworks were influential in defining movements from Abstract Expressionism to post-minimalism and beyond. To illustrate the depth of these relationships, one gallery apiece will be devoted to works by Richard Diebenkorn, Philip Guston, Ellsworth Kelly, Brice Marden, Robert Ryman, Richard Serra, and Clyfford Still. In January, the exhibition will be transformed, doubling in size to showcase a diverse group of contemporary artists in honor of the museum’s seventy-fifth anniversary (see 75 Years of Looking Forward: Focus on Artists below).
75 Years of Looking Forward: The Anniversary Show
December 19, 2009–July 6, 2010; anniversary celebration January 16–18, 2010
In celebration of the museum’s seventy-fifth anniversary, SFMOMA: 75 Years of Looking Forward showcases the moments when SFMOMA helped to shape both the history and future of modern and contemporary art through groundbreaking acquisitions, exhibitions, and public programming. From 1935 to the present, the exhibition brings together some two hundred and fifty permanent collection works, including painting, sculpture, media arts, photography, architecture and design, as well as interpretive and archival materials, and will occupy the museum’s entire second floor. Artists whose work has been collected in depth, including Bruce Conner, Sol LeWitt, and Robert Rauschenberg, will be featured.
75 Years of Looking Forward: Focus on Artists
January 16–June 6, 2010; anniversary celebration January 16–18, 2010
In celebration of SFMOMA’s seventy-fifth anniversary, this exhibition highlights the museum’s long-term relationships with artists whose work has been collected in depth and shown in important exhibitions throughout SFMOMA’s history. Organized by Gary Garrels, SFMOMA Elise S. Haas Senior Curator of Painting and Sculpture, the exhibition dedicates a gallery to each of nineteen artists whose iconic works were influential in defining movements from Abstract Expressionism to international contemporary art, including Diane Arbus, Matthew Barney, Richard Diebenkorn, Robert Gober, Dan Graham, Philip Guston, Ellsworth Kelly, Brice Marden, Sigmar Polke, Gerhard Richter, Robert Ryman, Doris Salcedo, Richard Serra, Frank Stella, Clyfford Still, Kara Walker, Jeff Wall, and Andy Warhol. This exhibition will also celebrate the stories behind SFMOMA’s collection—specifically, human stories about how the museum came to acquire particular objects, why people collect and donate to museums, and how relationships between collectors and museums form over time.
75 Years of Looking Forward: The View from Here
January 16–June 20, 2010; anniversary celebration January 16–18, 2010
The View From Here presents a history of West Coast photography through the lens of the SFMOMA collection. The exhibition explores the variety and vitality of the West Coast photographic tradition, beginning with the origins of Western photography in the 1840s and continuing to the present day. Highlights include Carleton Watkins’s dramatic views of Yosemite; shocking panoramas of the devastation of San Francisco after the 1906 earthquake; pictures by local Modernists, including Edward Weston, Dorothea Lange, Minor White, and John Gutmann; and conceptual photography from the 1970s by artists such as Lew Thomas, Robert H. Cumming, and Dennis Oppenheim. The exhibition also includes work by photographers whose primary subject has been the changing western landscape, such as Robert Adams, Lewis Baltz, and Joe Deal, as well as recent photographs by Larry Sultan, Henry Wessel, Anthony L. Hernandez, and Ed Ruscha, to name a few.
January 16–June 20, 2010; anniversary celebration January 16–18, 2010
For the museum’s seventy-fifth anniversary, the Department of Architecture and Design has commissioned artist Ewan Gibbs to create a series of eighteen drawings of the city of San Francisco. The drawings are inspired by photographs the artist took with a digital camera while visiting San Francisco in the spring of 2008. Gibbs depicts city landmarks, sporting events, and common streetscapes in his work. He begins with a recognizable image and then systematically reduces the image to a grid of pencil marks. Using knitting pattern symbols—slashes and circles—on graph paper, he creates an image that is almost recognizable from a distance but breaks down to the two characters when viewed in close proximity. His way of working appears, on the surface, to be a kind of pointillism or impressionism, but in fact his interests and the visual effects his work yields owe more to the legacies of Minimalism, Conceptualism, and process art.
Long Play: Bruce Conner and Singles from the Collection
January 16–June 6, 2010
For SFMOMA’s 75th anniversary, the Department of Media Arts will premiere the film THREE SCREEN RAY (2006) by the late San Francisco–based artist Bruce Conner. A master of diverse art forms from assemblage to photograms, Conner’s experimental, non-narrative short films of the 1960s established him as a leading figure in avant-garde film. THREE SCREEN RAY is an extended version of the artist’s second film, COSMIC RAY (1961), reedited into three projections. Like the original single-screen version, THREE SCREEN RAY features Ray Charles’s 1959 hit song “What’d I Say” set to an ecstatic, fast-paced collage of found imagery including newsreel footage of atomic bomb explosions, striptease dancing, comic strips, flashing lights, and Conner’s signature countdown leader. The work will be accompanied by a selection of videos from the museum’s collection.
February 6–May 2, 2010
SFMOMA and Wexner Center for the Arts have jointly organized Luc Tuymans, the contemporary Belgian artist’s first major museum retrospective in the United States and the most comprehensive presentation of his work to date. This touring exhibition spans every phase of the artist’s career and features approximately eighty key paintings from 1985 to the present. Tuymans is considered by many to be the most significant painter working today, and his distinctive visual style and approach to historical topics have influenced an entire generation of younger artists. Interested in the aftereffects of traumatic events of the last century—the Holocaust, the postcolonial history of the Congo, the American response to 9/11, institutional religion in an increasingly secular world—and their representation in the mass media, Tuymans uses a muted palette to transform images from film, television, and print into canvases that are at once sumptuous and subtle, enigmatic and disarmingly stark. At the nexus of history and memory, his paintings oscillate between coherence and illegibility, challenging our certainty about not only what we are looking at but also how we should be looking. Catalogue.
How Wine Became Modern: Design + Wine 1976 to Now
July 3, 2010 – January 9, 2011
Organized by Henry Urbach, SFMOMA’s Helen Hilton Raiser Curator of Architecture and Design, this exhibition will explore the relationship between design, architecture, and wine in modern culture. How Wine Became Modern looks at the material and visual culture of wine over the past three decades and offers a fresh way of understanding the contemporary culture of wine and the role that architecture and design have played in its transformation. It marks the first time that modern, global wine culture has been considered as an integrated, expansive, and rich set of cultural phenomena. The presentation will combine original artifacts and commissioned artworks with multimedia presentations to engage multiple senses, including taste and smell. The exhibition will include aerial photographs of wine-growing regions as well as winery architecture, wine labels, and glassware.
July 17–October 3, 2010 (dates tentative)
The exhibition New Topographics: Photographs of a Man-altered Landscape, held in 1975 at George Eastman House, signaled the emergence of a novel approach to landscape photography. The photographers of the New Topographics movement strove to show the rapidly increasing imprint that man was imparting on the landscape. A new version of this seminal exhibition reexamines more than a hundred works from the 1975 show, as well as some thirty prints and books by other relevant artists to provide additional historical and contemporary context. This reconsideration demonstrates both the historical significance of these pictures and their continued relevance today.
Exposed: Voyeurism, Surveillance, and the Camera
October 23, 2010–January 8, 2011
Co-organized by SFMOMA and the Tate, Exposed looks at voyeurism in nineteenth century photography and its relationship to street photography in the twentieth century. The exhibition will explore the history, breadth, and pervasiveness of voyeurism as it relates to everyday life and culture. Moving beyond typical notions of voyeurism as a predatory or sexual act, this exhibition will explore voyeurism in the broadest sense and examine how new technologies, global intelligence and surveillance, celebrity culture, and an evolving media environment have fueled a growing interest in the subject. Catalogue.
Henri Cartier-Bresson: A Retrospective
November 6, 2010–January 30, 2011 (dates tentative)
This retrospective exhibition, the first in the United States in three decades, surveys Henri Cartier-Bresson’s entire career with a presentation of about three hundred photographs, mostly arranged thematically and supplemented with periodicals and books. One of the most original, accomplished, influential, and beloved figures in the history of photography, Cartier-Bresson’s inventive work of the early 1930s helped define the creative potential of modern photography, and his uncanny ability to capture life on the run made his work synonymous with “the decisive moment”—the title of his first major book. He joined Robert Capa and others in founding the Magnum photo agency, which enabled photojournalists to reach a broad audience through magazines such as LIFE while retaining control over their work. Cartier-Bresson produced major bodies of photographic reportage on India and Indonesia at the time of independence, China during the revolution, the Soviet Union after Stalin’s death, the United States during the postwar boom, and Europe as its old cultures confronted modern realities.
February 26–June 7, 2011 (dates tentative)
The Stein Collection
May 21–September 6, 2011
Coorganized by SFMOMA, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and the Réunion des Musées Nationaux, Paris, this major touring exhibition of paintings, drawings, and sculptures reunites the collections of author Gertrude Stein, her brothers Leo and Michael Stein, and Michael’s wife, Sarah Stein. As American expatriates, the Steins were part of the vibrant cultural life of Paris in the early twentieth century, where they hosted prestigious salons and developed close friendships with leading artists of the day, most notably Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso, whose works they collected in depth and which form the core of this presentation. The exhibition will demonstrate not only the importance of the Steins’ patronage but also how they developed a new international standard of taste for modern art internationally, acquiring works by Pierre Bonnard, Paul Cézanne, Juan Gris, Marie Laurencin, Matisse, Francis Picabia, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir, among others. Sarah and Michael Stein’s return to Palo Alto, California, in 1935, the same year SFMOMA was founded, was instrumental in the making of the museum’s collection, and SFMOMA’s presentation will underscore Bay Area connections to the Steins.
Matisse and Beyond: The Painting and Sculpture Collection
Representing movements ranging from Fauvism and Cubism to Pop art and Minimalism, SFMOMA’s modern art holdings include paintings, sculptures, and works on paper by some of the twentieth and twenty-first century’s most revered artists. The rotating selection features works by a changing lineup of artists, including Bruce Conner, Marcel Duchamp, Ann Hamilton, Frida Kahlo, Yves Klein, Joan Mitchell, Piet Mondrian, Georgia O’Keeffe, Jackson Pollock, Robert Rauschenberg, Gerhard Richter, and Diego Rivera. Works on paper by Paul Klee from the Djerassi Collection are featured in changing thematic presentations in the Djerassi gallery on an ongoing basis.
Picturing Modernity: The Photography Collection
Among the first museums in the United States to recognize photography as a legitimate art form, SFMOMA possesses one of the oldest and most distinguished photography collections in the world. The more than 12,000 pictures in the museum’s collection date from the advent of photography in the 1830s to the present day. Highlights include photographs by Ansel Adams, Imogen Cunningham, Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange, and Alfred Stieglitz. SFMOMA is also known for its rich holdings of photographs by European avant-garde artists of the 1920s and 1930s, with an emphasis on Constructivism and Surrealism, as well as a growing selection of vernacular photography—anonymous snapshots, documentary evidence, and other photographic images never intended to be viewed as art. This exhibition comprises a changing selection from the museum’s collection.