Citizen Museum

Museums are places of dialogue and diversity, reflection and solace — but they can also be places of historical exclusion, cultural and economic homogeneity, and even protest. How can cultural institutions support art and artists that respond to or amplify dissent? What is the role of the "citizen museum" in a climate as charged as the one we currently find ourselves in? The stories and artists below tackle these and other questions as we think about the United States and the world beyond January 20.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Projects + Perspectives

Find out more about the people and stories that make up SFMOMA. We love what we do and want to share it with you!