Thought-Provoking New Presentations Throughout the Museum Inspire Dialogue About Culture, Nature and History
A wide range of exhibitions debut at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) this summer, sparking discussion and exploring the way we view and engage with our surroundings.
Diego Rivera’s America is the most in-depth examination of the artist’s work in more than 20 years, bringing light to the central themes and subjects the artist explored during the course of two decades when he worked in both Mexico and the United States. In a two-part exhibition, artist Amalia Mesa-Bains transforms a gallery with her installation Venus Envy, Chapter I and presents an accompanying selection of works from SFMOMA’s permanent collection. Influenced by the artist’s expeditions to various glacial regions, the immersive presentation Julian Charrière: Erratic explores humankind’s interconnection with extreme environments and underscores the precariousness of human interference in our natural world.
Sightlines: Photographs from the Collection features over 200 works from SFMOMA’s holdings and explores various themes, from studio portraiture to camera-less photography, and the relationship between the body and the landscape. Bringing together chairs and lamps by over 35 designers, Conversation Pieces: Contemporary Furniture in Dialogue creates an inviting setting for discourse on the cultural relevance of domestic design. New Work: Toyin Ojih Odutola features a new series of drawings that meld storytelling forms to consider African and other global futures.
Diego Rivera’s America
July 16, 2022–January 2, 2023
The most in-depth examination of the artist’s work in more than 20 years, Diego Rivera’s America will provide a new critical and contemporary understanding of one of the most aesthetically, socially and politically ambitious artists of the 20th century. Through a careful selection of some 160 objects, the exhibition will explore central themes of Rivera’s work in Mexico and the United States from the early 1920s through the early 1940s. During these two key decades in a prolific career, Rivera created a new vision for North America, informed by his travels in Mexico and the United States.
Featuring extraordinary easel paintings, drawings, and portable frescoes, as well as filmed projections of murals, the exhibition will highlight the close relationship between Rivera’s mural and studio practices. Diego Rivera’s America will revisit a historical moment when Rivera, more than any other artist of his time, was instrumental not only in forging Mexican national identity, but also in imagining a shared American past and future.
Venus Envy I
Madrinas y Hermanas
June 18, 2022–November 6, 2022
Amalia Mesa-Bains presents a two-part exhibition featuring the autobiographical installation Venus Envy, Chapter I: The First Holy Communion Moments Before the End and Madrinas y Hermanas (Godmothers and Sisters), a selection of works from SFMOMA’s permanent collection curated by the artist.
Presented for the first time since it was originally realized in 1993, Venus Envy, Chapter I is the first of a series of autobiographical installations Mesa-Bains created over several decades. Starting from the artist’s childhood experience of her first Holy Communion, the installation displays objects, images, mementos and clothing and examines codes of gender in Catholic rituals and ceremonial rites of passage.
Spanning two adjacent galleries is Madrinas y Hermanas (Godmothers and Sisters), featuring works drawn from the museum’s collections. Accompanied by texts written by Mesa-Bains, the selection includes the works of artists by whom she was inspired, such as Frida Kahlo, as well as by friends and peers Yolanda López, Mildred Howard and Hung Liu, among others.
74.52.12 01_b01, 5/29/07, 2:35 PM, 8C, 5946×7935 (24+60), 100%, Custom, 1/30 s, R85.9, G61.7, B71.2
Sightlines: Photographs from the Collection
August 6, 2022–May 7, 2023
Sightlines: Photographs from the Collection illuminates some of the myriad ways that SFMOMA’s expanding contemporary holdings intersect with and diverge from earlier photographic traditions. Spanning the history of the medium, this dynamic presentation of over 200 photographs examines various themes, including studio portraiture and the relationship between the body and the landscape.
One gallery is devoted to Louis Carlos Bernal’s vibrant color photographs of the Southwest from the late 1970s. A suite of galleries considers the question of what constitutes a photograph through a selection of works made without a camera, from Man Ray’s humorous and irreverent photograms to a large-scale cyanotype installation by Meghann Riepenhoff.
Julian Charrière: Erratic
August 6, 2022–May 14, 2023
The fascinations of the Arctic and Antarctic have captured our collective imagination for centuries. For the last decade, French-Swiss artist Julian Charrière has traveled to remote and hostile polar regions to explore humankind’s interconnection with these otherworldly environments that have come to represent the precariousness of our future.
The artist’s first solo exhibition on the West Coast, Julian Charrière: Erratic presents works across media that revolve around the artist’s poetic engagement with ice landscapes challenging our constructs of different temporalities, while bringing attention to the traces and longstanding effects of human interferences in nature. The central work of this cinematic and sensory filled exhibition is Towards No Earthly Pole (2019), a panoramic film combining haunting footage of glaciers taken at night during the artist’s expeditions to various glacial regions.
Through immersive encounters with Charrière’s work in this timely exhibition, visitors are invited to approach an environmentally, culturally and politically charged geography with a heightened sense of ecological awareness.
Julian Charrière: Erratic is supported by Etant donnés Contemporary Art, a program from Villa Albertine and FACE Foundation, in partnership with the French Embassy in the United States, with support from the French Ministry of Culture, Institut français, Ford Foundation, Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, CHANEL, and ADAGP.
Conversation Pieces: Contemporary Furniture in Dialogue
August 20, 2022–June 25, 2023
Conversation Pieces brings together over 40 works of contemporary design, each beginning a dialogue, emphasizing intellectual and emotional connection, and at times, shifting to a complex and imperative demand for broader cultural attention.
Mid-20th century modern design became a symbol of social progression, an outward expression of shaking off a post-war historical weight and an opportunity to start anew. Industrial fabricators were enthusiastically venturing into mass-produced consumer goods production as military demands were dwindling. Many decades later, the popularity of mid-century modern design still has a firm hold on the consumer market; however, 21st century contemporary designers are shifting the conversation, and reintroducing cultural meaning into furniture. By drawing attention to domestic material culture, the works on view engage with issues of purpose, representation and sustainable fabrication.
Organized in collaboration with Los Angeles-based interior designer Alexandra Loew, the exhibition is designed to be welcoming and informal, with benches for visitors at the same height as the works on view and including audio from several designers. In keeping with the larger collection mission to recognize thought-provoking critical works of architecture and design, the works on view are sometimes jarring, often bold and always conversation starters.
New Work: Toyin Ojih Odutola
September 3, 2022–January 22, 2023
Toyin Ojih Odutola’s New Work exhibition is set in the year 2050 in Eko, the Yoruba name for today’s Lagos. Inspired by the speculative fiction of Octavia E. Butler and the poetry of Dionne Brand, this new body of work contemplates how bodies, psyches and architectures might respond to an overpopulated, mutated world. Conceived during the pandemic lockdown and following Ojih Odutola’s A Countervailing Theory exhibition at the Barbican Centre, London (2020); Kunsten Museum of Modern Art Aalborg, Denmark (2021); and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C. (2021–2022), New Work: Toyin Ojih Odutola melds storytelling forms to consider African and other global futures.
Born in 1985 in Ile-Ife, Nigeria and based in New York, Ojih Odutola is known for her drawings of figures, interior architectures and landscapes that call on references ranging from art history to the artist’s own upbringing. Often produced in narrative series, her drawings describe scenes or chapters of overarching universes. The artist’s distinctively layered method of mark-making highlights topographies of skin and surface.
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The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is one of the largest museums of modern and contemporary art in the United States and a thriving cultural center for the Bay Area. Our remarkable collection of painting, sculpture, photography, architecture, design and media arts is housed in a LEED Gold-certified building designed by the global architects Snøhetta and Mario Botta. In addition to our seven gallery floors, SFMOMA offers 45,000 square feet of free, art-filled public space open to all.
Visit sfmoma.org or call 415.357.4000 for more information.
Julian Charrière, The Blue Fossil Entropic Stories III, 2013; collection of LAB Partners LP, Salt Lake City; Julian Charrière/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, Germany
Diego Rivera, Flower Seller, 1926; Honolulu Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Philip E. Spalding, 1932; © Bancode México Diego Rivera & Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, Mexico, D.F. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; photo: courtesy Honolulu Museum of Art
Amalia Mesa-Bains, Venus Envy I (or The First Holy Communion Moments Before the End) (detail), 1993/2022; courtesy the artist and the Rena Bransten Gallery; photo: Amalia Mesa-Bains; © Amalia Mesa-Bains
Julian Charrière, Towards No Earthly Pole, (installation view, MASI Lugano); Julian Charrière/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, Germany; photo: Jens Ziehe
Seydou Keïta, Untitled, 1952–1955, printed 1996; collection SFMOMA, Foto Forum purchase; © Seydou Keïta / SKPEAC
Germane Barnes, Uneasy Lies the Head that Wears the Crown, 2020; collection SFMOMA, Accessions Committee Fund purchase; © Germane Barnes
Toyin Ojih Odutola, Local News, 2021; © Toyin Ojih Odutola; courtesy the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York