One of the first museums to recognize photography as a legitimate art form and establish a photography collection, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) continues to spearhead the scholarship and presentation of photography with three upcoming exhibitions. The first comprehensive survey of Francesca Woodman's career in the United States, Francesca Woodman will span the artist's entire career, from her earliest student work to her later blueprint studies and fashion photographs, many of which have never before been exhibited or published. Rineke Djikstra, coorganized by SFMOMA and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, is the artist's first midcareer retrospective in the United States and will include some 70 photographs and five video works. Cindy Sherman, the first comprehensive U.S. retrospective of the artist's work in over a decade will bring together more than 170 key photographs from a range of Sherman's acclaimed bodies of work, in which she created myriad constructed characters and tableaus.
In addition to celebrating the careers of these three important women in photography, SFMOMA will present The Air We Breathe, an exhibition focusing on the cause to legalize same-sex marriage, as well as an exhibition exploring Buckminster Fuller's design legacy in the Bay Area.
Selected Highlights from SFMOMA's Exhibition Calendar
September 2011–July 2012
View Full Schedule Here
The Air We Breathe
September 5, 2011–February 20, 2012
"Equality is in the air we breathe," wrote Langston Hughes in Let America be America Again, a poem from 1938 that resonates even still. Over the last decade, equal rights for same-sex couples—including the right to legally wed—has proven one of the country's most pressing civil rights issues. Conceived by SFMOMA Assistant Curator of Painting and Sculpture Apsara DiQunizio as a catalyst for public dialogue about this inequality, The Air We Breathe will debut commissioned works by some 30 artists and eight poets that address the many issues surrounding the cause to legalize same-sex marriage. Many of the artists—including Nicole Eisenman, Robert Gober, Ann Hamilton, Raymond Pettibon, and Amy Sillman—employ drawing as a primary means of expression. Poems by Will Alexander, John Ashbery, Anne Waldman and others will be interspersed among the works on paper, lending a dynamic voice and rhythm to the presentation. The exhibition springs out of DiQuinzio's related large-format book project, which will be published by SFMOMA in November 2011. Catalogue.
November 5, 2011–February 20, 2012
This is the first comprehensive retrospective of Francesca Woodman's brief but extraordinary career to be seen in the United States. Woodman's oeuvre represents a remarkably rich and singular exploration of the human body in space and of the genre of self-portraiture, in particular. Her interest in feminist theory, conceptualist practice, and photography's relationship to both literature and performance are also the hallmarks of the fertile moment in American photography during which she came of age. This retrospective offers an occasion to examine more closely the maturation and expression of a highly subjective and coherent artistic vision. It also presents an important and timely opportunity to reassess this critical juncture in American photographic history. The exhibition will feature approximately 140 vintage photographs—including many that have never been on view before—drawn primarily from the Woodman family's private collection, as well as video work by the artist. Catalogue.
February 18, 2012–May 20, 2012
Rineke Dijkstra, coorganized by SFMOMA and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, presents the artist's first midcareer retrospective in the United States. Over the past 20 years Dijkstra has revived and reexamined portraiture in contemporary art. Most often she photographs people in transition, such as adolescents, new mothers and army recruits, during formative periods in their lives when change is perceivable. The extraordinary complexity and presence of her work is evident from her earliest sustained series, in which she photographed adolescents on the beach in front of a nearly abstracted space of sea and sky, to her most recent videos of young people dancing in front of a minimal backdrop at European clubs. This intense scrutiny permitted her not only to record the outward appearance of her subjects, the kinds of clothes they wear, and the way they present themselves to the photographer but also to suggest their internal selves. This exhibition features nearly 70 photographs alongside five video works.
Buckminster Fuller and the Bay Area
The Bay Area attracts dreamers, progressives, nonconformists, and designers. Buckminster Fuller was all of these, and though he never lived in San Francisco, his ideas spawned many local experiments (some more successful than others) in the realms of technology, engineering, and sustainability. This exhibition, the first to consider Fuller's Bay Area design legacy, features some of his most iconic projects, primarily drawn from SFMOMA's recently acquired print portfolio Inventions: Twelve Around One. The 13 works in the portfolio date from the late 1920s through the mid-1970s and include Fuller's 4D House, Geodesic Dome, World Game, and Dymaxion car, among other important inventions. The other half of the exhibition presents Bay Area endeavors inspired by Fuller's commingling of technology, ecology, and social responsibility, specifically projects concerned with improved living systems such as dwellings (temporary inflatable structures by Ant Farm and tents by The North Face and Sierra Designs); transportation (the Plastiki sailboat); and better access to information (Stewart Brand's Whole Earth Catalog and smart phones by Apple and Google). Fuller's radical idealism kept him from realizing most of his projects, and he never achieved the success he would have liked. Paradoxically, the view of Fuller as a nonconformist is exactly what links him to the many successful Bay Area innovators who aspire to the kind of visionary thinking the designer has come to embody.
This retrospective, organized by the Museum of Modern Art in New York, will trace the groundbreaking artist's career from the mid-1970s to the present. Bringing together more than 170 key photographs from a variety of the artist's acclaimed bodies of work, the presentation is the first comprehensive overview of Sherman's career in the United States since 1997 and will draw widely from both public and private collections. Sherman is recognized as one of the most important contemporary artists of the last 40 years and arguably the most influential artist working exclusively with photography. Serving as her own model for more than 30 years, she has generated a range of guises and personas that are by turns amusing and disturbing, distasteful and affecting. The exhibition will showcase Sherman's greatest achievements to date through the extraordinary range and evolution of her work, from her early experiments as a student in Buffalo in the 1970s to her recent large-scale photographic murals. The exhibition will premiere in New York in winter of 2012 before traveling to SFMOMA and then to the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. Catalogue.