SF MOMA Temporary Exhibitions - Winter 2018

Temporary Exhibitions on View November & December 2018 Sourced by SF MOMA

General admission and special exhibition tickets are available online. Advance purchase is highly recommended.

Wayne Thiebaud

Artist’s Choice: September 29, 2018–March 10, 2019 Paintings and Drawings: September 29, 2018–April 28, 2019

Floor 2

In two side-by-side exhibitions, Northern California–based artist Wayne Thiebaud’s own work is featured alongside paintings by others that he personally selected from SFMOMA’s collection.

Thiebaud (b. 1920) first visited SFMOMA in 1942, when he was just 22 years old, and has had a close relationship with the museum ever since. For Wayne Thiebaud: Artist’s Choice, he delved deep into the museum’s storage vault. His choices include both old friends and new discoveries by European Modernists Henri Matisse and Joan Miró, American painters George Ault and Georgia O’Keeffe, California peers Richard Diebenkorn and John McLaughlin, and more recent canvases by Katherine Porter and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye.

Drawn from SFMOMA’s collection, the selection of works in Wayne Thiebaud: Paintings and Drawings spans 50 years of the artist’s career, from his classic still life Confections (1962) to his grand landscape Canyon Mountains (2011–12). Get a firsthand look at the creative process behind Thiebaud’s lushly painted, richly hued works, from beginning sketch to finished painting.

Lead support for Wayne Thiebaud: Artist’s Choice and Wayne Thiebaud: Paintings and Drawings is provided by an anonymous donor. Major support is provided by Jean and James E. Douglas, Jr., Burt and Deedee McMurtry, Eileen and Peter Michael, Susan and Bill Oberndorf, the Thomas Weisel Family, and an anonymous donor.

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Header image: Louis Stettner, Lake, New York State, 1952; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, purchase through a gift of Randi and Bob Fisher, Rusty O’Kelley and John Haskins, Champagne Louis Roederer, Sarah Wigglesworth and Asiff Hirji, The Sondra and Charles Gilman, Jr. Foundation, and the Accessions Committee Fund; © Estate of Louis Stettner, all rights reserved

Louis Stettner

Traveling Light

October 27, 2018–May 27, 2019

Floor 3

Over the course of his eight-decade career, Louis Stettner created a singular approach to photographing everyday life. Born in Brooklyn in 1922, Stettner began working as a photographer in the 1930s and served in the U.S. Army in World War II before moving to Paris in 1947. There, he studied at the Institut des Hautes Études Cinématographiques, became friends with the influential photographer Brassaï (whose work will be on view on Floor 3 from November 17, 2018–February 18, 2019), and developed a unique point of view that melded the boldness of American street photography with the softer humanism more characteristic of his Paris contemporaries. For the rest of his life, he traveled between New York and Paris — his “two loves,” as he called them — constantly finding new inspiration in that geographical duality. From thoughtful images of rush-hour commuters to tranquil observations of daily routines, this thematic retrospective displays the remarkable breadth of Stettner’s work.

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Header image: Louise Bourgeois Spiders (installation view, SFMOMA), 2017; photo: Katherine Du Tiel

Louise Bourgeois Spiders

October 7, 2017–July 14, 2019

Floor 5

Louise Bourgeois created the first of her darkly compelling spider sculptures in the mid-1990s, when she was in her eighties. The artist saw spiders as both fierce and fragile, capable of being protectors as well as predators. For Bourgeois, the spider embodied an intricate and sometimes contradictory mix of psychological and biographical allusions. Partly a reference to her mother, partly to herself, spiders for her represented cleverness, industriousness, and protectiveness. Filling the museum’s sculpture gallery on Floor 5, Louise Bourgeois Spiders explores the captivating complexity of the artist’s conception of these elegant and fearsome creatures, with works sculpted in a range of materials and scales, from the intimate to the monumental.

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Header image: Etel Adnan, Explosion Florale, 1968/2018 (detail); courtesy the artist and Sfeir-Semler Gallery Hamburg / Beirut; © Etel Adnan

New Work: Etel Adnan

September 1, 2018–January 6, 2019

Floor 4

Born in Beirut, Lebanon, in 1925, visual artist, poet, and essayist Etel Adnan writes what must be communicated through language, and paints what cannot. While her earliest paintings favored pure abstraction, she is perhaps best known for her landscape works inspired by her long obsession with Mount Tamalpais. Adnan’s recent works once again return to abstraction, most specifically, color and its possibilities. A student of philosophy, Adnan came to Berkeley in 1955. As an active participant in Ann O’Hanlon’s Perception Workshops in Mill Valley in the 1960s, she developed her practice in dialogue with poets, experimental musicians, playwrights, and SFMOMA, at its original location in the War Memorial Veteran’s Building. Though she now resides in Paris, the Bay Area remained her home for more than fifty years, and was long the impetus behind her work. New Work: Etel Adnan presents new paintings and tapestries in SFMOMA’s first presentation of the artist’s work.

Generous support for New Work: Etel Adnan is provided by Alka and Ravin Agrawal, SFMOMA's Contemporaries, The Fund for Contemporary Art, Adriane Iann and Christian Stolz, and Robin Wright and Ian Reeves. Additional support is provided by Dolly and George Chammas.

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Header image: Johannes Brus, André Beton, 1974 (detail); collection SFMOMA, Accessions Committee Fund purchase; © Johannes Brus

Johannes Brus

New to the Collection

October 27, 2018–May 27, 2019

Floor 3

On the occasion of an important acquisition to the photography collection, SFMOMA presents the first U.S. solo exhibition of German artist Johannes Brus. In addition to his photographic works, which vary in size from small to monumental, a selection of three of Brus’s sculptural works are on view, illuminating the breadth of his oeuvre. Known mainly as a sculptor, he studied at the Kunstakademie in Dusseldorf while Joseph Beuys was an instructor, with Anna and Bernhard Blume, Sigmar Polke, and Gerhard Richter among Brus’s peers. In the 1970s, he made photographic experiments that often involved mixing chemicals and painting on his photographs. In an alchemic way, he plays with the medium of photography, reversing its rules by embracing everything that is not supposed to be done in the darkroom. In his works, Brus creates a strange setup with flying objects levitating mysteriously through space. His works suggest a relation to the occult and are often infused with humor.

The exhibition is presented in the New to the Collection gallery, a space dedicated to uncovering new or unacknowledged work by an artist.

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Header image: Alexander Calder: Scaling Up (installation view, SFMOMA), 2017; photo: Katherine Du Tiel

Alexander Calder

Scaling Up

October 21, 2017–January 13, 2019

Floor 3

The second exhibition in SFMOMA’s Calder gallery, Scaling Up takes a close look at the small-scale and surprisingly tactile beginnings of the artist’s most sizable works. While best known for his hanging mobiles, Calder also created an astounding assortment of standing sculptures that delight the eye and engage the mind with dynamic contours, soaring lines, and, in some cases, moving components. With more than a dozen loans drawn from the Fisher Collection and the Calder Foundation, the exhibition introduces visitors to the multi-step methods of enlargement that Calder developed to transform handmade models into monumental sculptures. Featuring indoor and outdoor artworks from the 1950s to the 1970s, the exhibition coincides with the fiftieth anniversaries of The Kite that Never Flew (1967) and Intermediate maquette for Trois disques (1967), and includes rarely seen working models related to these and other celebrated sculptures.

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Upcoming Exhibitions

Art and China after 1989

Theater of the World
November 10, 2018–February 24, 2019


November 17, 2018–February 18, 2019

Vija Celmins
To Fix the Image in Memory
December 15, 2018–March 31, 2019

The Sea Ranch

Architecture, Environment, and Idealism
December 22, 2018–April 28, 2019


The Chronicles of San Francisco
Opens April 25, 2019