Projects + Perspectives

These are the people and stories that make up SFMOMA. We love what we do and we want to share it with you.

Robert Rauschenberg Erases the Rules

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. These stories celebrate the artist’s razor-sharp humor and intelligence and his continual experimentation with materials and collaborative working processes.

Digital Publication

Rauschenberg Research Project

The Rauschenberg Research Project provides free worldwide access to a wealth of scholarly research and documentation related to artworks by Robert Rauschenberg in SFMOMA’s collection.

Walker Evans and the American Vernacular

Walker Evans photographed the American vernacular, revealing the language of everyday life found in roadside attractions, postcards, storefronts, and signage across the country. These stories provide deeper insight into the photographer’s uncanny understanding of twentieth-century America.

Walker Evans and the Great Depression

Walker Evans’s powerful images of the Great Depression responded to and reflected the spirit, suffering, and fortitude of a nation. His iconic images defined a new documentary style that continues to influence generations of artists. Learn more about the Farm Security Administration and the photographers whose images represented a generation.

A Place for Artists: Commissioning a New SFMOMA

Curator Gary Garrels discusses the history of the Atrium as a space for new art commissions and the impact that Julie Mehretu’s monumental works, HOWL, eon (I, II), will have on the museum and its community.

Raw Material Season 3: Landfall

Craving a West Coast road trip? Season 3 of Raw Material follows hosts Jessica Placzek and Madeline Gobbo as they explore hidden gems of California, including land-based art, immersive art environments, and even the little-known art history of Disneyland.

The Art of Raging Against the Machine

The art of the political poster is enduring, empowering, giving voice to the marginalized. It is meant to inform, to stir an emotional reaction, to call attention to the potential for catastrophe, to elicit empathy and even fear. In this story, we get to the heart the political poster, a selection of which are now on view in Get with the Action: Political Posters from the 1960s to Now.

Explore Nam June Paik’s Notebooks

In conjunction with the exhibition Nam June Paik: In Character, SFMOMA has made available here three notebooks from the SFMOMA collection that Paik used in 1980, 1987, and 1996. Offering intimate access to the process of this renowned and prolific artist, the newly digitized notebooks foreground Paik's wide-ranging experimentation with drawing, a medium in which he developed a distinctive and playful pictorial vocabulary. His works on paper incorporate Chinese, Japanese, and Korean characters as well as symbols of his own devising, including hieroglyphs of frequent subjects such as televisions, birds, and Buddhas.

DIGITAL PUBLICATION

Soundtracks

Dive deeper into Soundtracks with the free online exhibition catalogue, edited by co-curators Rudolf Frieling and Tanya Zimbardo, featuring an artist project by Brandon LaBelle, Dena Beard and Frank Smigiel discussing sound and performance, and writings on exhibition artists and artworks.

Artists Respond to History

Working from both personal experience and deep research, artists around the globe seek answers—or at least solace—in their responses to turbulent historical conditions such as war, apartheid, censorship, and totalitarianism.

Art and the African American Experience

Artists of color have not traditionally been recognized in Western art history. Today, museums still struggle to make Blackness visible — these artists and their stories explore and challenge ideas of agency, representation, and what it means to be a contemporary artist and a person of color.

Picturing the Environment

Whether expressing their love for nature or dismay over its degradation at the hands of humans, these artists use their art practices to preserve what may soon be destroyed, or to call attention to something that may yet be saved. Journey with them through the Pacific Northwest, postindustrial Germany, suburban Mexico, and beyond as we examine how artists picture the environment.

Pioneers of Photography

What was photography before film and photographic paper? Before shutters and adjustable apertures? The pioneers of the medium had to experiment and invent. They had to build their own precision equipment and mix reactive chemicals. This series explores the intrepid personalities who toiled in the dark to bring the nascent art of photography to light.

DIGITAL PUBLICATION

Focus on Japanese Photography

Centered on SFMOMA’s large, diverse collection of Japanese photography from the postwar years to the present, this digital publication examines the development of the country’s distinctive and innovative photographic culture through the work of key practitioners of the last six decades.

How To Vol. 3 by Sadie Barnette

How To Vol. 3 continues the artist's series of absurdist “How To” manuals which ask all the right questions, but leave the answers floating just beyond the images included, all taken from the artist's daily life.

Living Room

Over the next several months, Open Space will be reissuing recordings from SFMOMA's Living Room gathering in 2011, at which artists, writers, and others shared personal recollections of Bay Area art histories that shaped their lives.

Advocate for Federal Arts Funding

SFMOMA’s pioneering digital experiences and exhibitions such as Matisse/Diebenkorn and Edvard Munch: Between the Clock and the Bed would not be possible without vital federal funds provided by the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Raise your voice now to protect the arts.

Notes on Border Crossing

Immigration has defined this country since its inception. The debate about this issue is not new, but the tone of the latest political rhetoric has been particularly vitriolic. It’s good to remember how many different perspectives exist. Here are a few thoughtful and considered takes on the immigrant experience and the concept of home.

Activism + Aesthetics

As #blacklivesmatter protests continue to sweep the streets and gentrification radically remakes our cities, art can feel like a wan bystander. But can art make room for debate, resistance, subversion—and maybe even hope? Explore these poetic and powerful meditations on how art can help us along the way as our communities strive for social justice and equality.

The Female Gaze

The practitioners featured here work in and around issues that define and affect what it means to be a woman, from Ishiuchi Miyako’s photographic forays into areas of Yokosuka deemed unsafe for women; to Helène Aylon’s “midwifing” and “birthing” of painted pieces; to Tomoko Sawada’s photo investigations of Japanese womanhood and girls’ schools; to Judy Chicago’s dangerous female content that revolutionized the art world in the 1960s and 1970s.

For What It’s Worth

Labor and class issues are dominating the headlines, but what about people whose trade is creativity? The starving artist myth is an utterly unromantic reality. From writers to painters to poets to performers, hear how these artists grapple with doing what they love and getting paid to do it.

On Digital Experience

At SFMOMA, we don't view our “digital strategy” as distinct from an analog or a human-to-human strategy. Rather, we believe that the ultimate goal of every museum activity is to help foster a rewarding in-person encounter with art. In these stories, we share how experiments with new technologies can open up new ways of thinking and seeing within the museum context.

PlaySFMOMA

PlaySFMOMA is a museum initiative that encourages the development of avant-garde and artist-made games. By providing an arena for artists working in this medium, PlaySFMOMA introduces museum audiences to the expressive potential of games.