The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) may have closed its doors on June 3rd earlier this year as a new 235,000-square-foot expansion is seamlessly being added to the existing Mario Botta-designed building in the South of Market museum district. But in some ways, it’s more open than ever.
This is because while the building itself is shuttered, the museum has been coordinating an impressive series of traveling shows, including outdoor and site-specific installations around the Bay Area ranging from a year-long presentation of sculptures to newly-commissioned works by leading contemporary artists.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the exhibits currently on view. With so many options, now may be the best time to enjoy several rare treats before we welcome the reopening of the new museum in 2016.
Matisse from SFMOMA
SFMOMA's internationally-acclaimed collection of the works of Henri Matisse joins four additional paintings and drawings from the collection of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco at the Legion of Honor for a tidy exhibition featuring a total of 23 paintings, drawings, and bronzes from the French master.
The exhibition, spanning four decades of the artist’s career, includes important works from what is considered Matisse's Fauve (wild beast) period, along with a Cézanne-inspired still life as well as decorative interiors dating from the 1920s and 1930s.
On display are works such as Sketch from “The Joy of Life” (1905‒1906), The Girl with Green Eyes (1908), and portraits of Michael and Sarah Stein (1916), early patrons of the artist. Matisse’s work arrived in San Francisco shortly after the 1906 earthquake, creating an immediate and lasting impression that has resulted in the rich collection currently in the SFMOMA holdings.
Legion of Honor
100 34th Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94121
November 9, 2013 - September 7, 2014
Admission: Regular Legion of Honor admission
Hours: Tuesday - Sunday 9:30 a.m. - 5:15 p.m.
Flesh and Metal: Body and Machine in Early 20th-Century Art
The Cantor Arts Center on the campus of Stanford University plays host to Flesh and Metal, an exhibition that examines the attempt of early 20th century painters, photographers, and sculptors to reconcile the aesthetics of the mechanical with the more accidental creativity of the unconscious.
Influenced by the perceived speed and efficiency of modern machinery at the beginning of the twentieth century, art movements such as Futurism (Italy), Purism (France), and Constructivism (Russia) adopted essential qualities of mechanization for both subject matter and customs. In opposition, particularly after the devastation of World War I, were the Dada and Surrealist movements (France, Switzerland, and Germany) which championed inspiration derived from dreams and accidents over the robotic and automatic.
Organized into four thematic sections exploring the human figure, the imagination, the urban landscape, and the object, the exhibit features works by Giorgio de Chirico, Alexander Rodchenko, Salvador Dali, Marcel Duchamp, Fernand Léger, Piet Mondrian, Man Ray, and others.
Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University
Lomita Drive at Museum Way
Stanford, CA 94305
November 13, 2013 - March 16, 2014
Hours: Wednesday 11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., Thursday 11:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m., Friday - Sunday 11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Photography in Mexico from the Collection of SFMOMA
The Sonoma County Museum hosts an exhibition of Mexican photography that highlights the rich and diverse tradition of the medium as seen through the eyes of some of the countries’ leading practitioners. Drawn directly from SFMOMA's collection, the works range from the time of the Mexican Revolution in the early twentieth century to present-day examinations of contemporary urban life and globalization.
Works on display include Cristo en Cuajimalpa (Christ in Cuajimalpa) by Lola Álvarez Bravo, El ensueño (The Daydream) by Manuel Álvarez Bravo, México, D.F. (Mexico City) by Manuel Carrillo, as well as Frida Kahlo, 1949 by Héctor García.
Other works include photographs by Graciela Iturbide, Elsa Medina, Tina Modotti, Pablo Ortiz Monasterio, Edward Weston, and Mariana Yampolsky, among others.
Sonoma County Museum
425 Seventh Street
Santa Rosa, CA 95401
September 28, 2013 - January 12, 2014
Admission: $7 general; $5 students and seniors; free for children under 12 and Sonoma County Museum members
Hours: Tuesday - Sunday 11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Project Los Altos: SFMOMA in Silicon Valley
Los Altos, in the heart of Silicon Valley, hosts a series of exhibitions featuring national and international artists, presented engagingly in a range of indoor and outdoor locations throughout the downtown core. Featuring newly-commissioned art, the exhibit includes both locally-inspired works as well as pieces drawing from a wider cultural perspective.
On display, for instance, is Jeremy Blake's Winchester video trilogy, exploring the mythologies of the American West through digitally synthesized and manipulated source material, inspired by the Winchester Mystery House just a few miles south in San Jose.
Spencer Finch, in comparison, addresses questions related to the perception of color and fading light in Back to Kansas, a painting based on Technicolor scenes from The Wizard of Oz. In another example, Christian Jankowski taps a group of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and thinkers in a video installation that explores the relationship between art and communication.
Downtown Los Altos
November 09, 2013 - March 02, 2014
Hours: Indoor exhibition spaces are open Wednesday - Sunday (hours vary; visit individual artist pages for details). Outdoor works are on view daily.
Mark di Suvero at Crissy Field
In partnership with the National Park Service and the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, SFMOMA is presenting eight “monumentally-scaled” sculptures by Mark di Suvero as part of a free year-long exhibition at Crissy Field.
An American abstract expressionist sculptor, di Suvero began his career by incorporating wooden timbers from demolished buildings along with tires and scrap metal. Today di Suvero primarily employs steel H-beams and assorted heavy plates to create dynamic sculptures that often interact with the surrounding environment in unexpected ways.
Exhibited widely in the United States, the exhibit at Crissy Field showcases works of di Suvero drawn from across the country dating from 1967 to 2012.
1199 East Beach
San Francisco, CA 94129
May 22, 2013 - May 26, 2014
Hours: Crissy Field is open to visitors from dawn to dusk seven days a week