The 6 San Francisco Museum Exhibitions You Can't Miss in 2019
San Francisco has a prized collection of must-see museums, exihibitions and arts & culture events. Each is worth a visit (and sometimes, it's free); but to make planning your cultural experience a little easier, we've singled out the six can't-miss exhibitions that will be on display in San Francisco in 2019—and if you're planning further ahead, some of 2020's top exhibitions, as well.
"Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power 1963-1983" at de Young Museum
Celebrate art made by Black artists that shed light on the issues of race and identity in the de Young Museum's newest exhibition, "Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power 1963-1983". This internationally acclaimed exhibition honors the incredible legacy of Black Power in the San Francisco Bay Area through more than 150 works by over 60 artists.
Nov. 9, 2019 - Mar. 15, 2020
"SOFT POWER" at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)
Explore the ways in which artists use art to explore their roles as citizens and social actors. "SOFT POWER" contemplates the potential of art and demonstrates the complexity of our differences, touching on topics like culture, political values, and foreign policies.
Oct. 26, 2019 - Feb. 17, 2020
"Black is Beautiful: The Photography of Kwame Brathwaite" at Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD)
MoAD's newest exhibition presents more than 40 images that illuminate how the power of art, music, and fashion popularized the term "Black is Beautiful". In addition to Brathwaite's photographs, this exhibition will display garments worn during fashion shows, as well as a selection of ephemeral materials from the Harlem Rennaissance.
Dec. 4, 2019 - Mar. 1, 2020
"Cells to Self" at The Exploratorium
The Exploratorium's newest permanent exhibition, "Cells to Self," considers the interplay of cells, genetics, and the environment. Museum visitors will see how cells move and respond to their surroundings through engagement with living tissues, microscopes, and digital models. Use your own pulse to control live, beating heart cells, and bring home a color image "cell-fie" of your own check cells.
"Mickey Mouse: From Walt to the World" at The Walt Disney Family Museum
The Walt Disney Family Museum presents “Mickey Mouse: From Walt to the World,” a celebration of animation’s most beloved and recognizable character. This special exhibition chronicles Mickey’s impact and influence on art and entertainment over the past nine decades, and tells the story of his origin, rise to fame, and enduring world-wide appeal, juxtaposed with Walt Disney’s inspiring and parallel story.
May 16, 2019 - Jan. 6, 2020
"Annabeth Rosen: Fired, Broken, Gathered, Heaped" at The Contemporary Jewish Museum
Discover Annabeth Rosen's first major museum chronicle in over twenty years of her work in ceramics, "Fired, Broken, Gathered, Heaped," which artfully displays more than 120 of Rosen's dynamic works. This exhibition was brought to life by the artist's inspirations of resurrecting broken ceramic fragments that evoke ecosystems, life cycles, and traditional objects.
Jul. 25 - Jan. 19, 2020
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And here's a sneak peek at some of the groundbreaking exhibitions coming to San Francisco museums in 2020.
Museum Exhibitions Opening January 2020
"Awaken: A Tibetan Buddhist Journey Toward Enlightenment" at Asian Art Museum
Jan. 17 – May 3, 2020
Start on a path to awakening. This exhibition displays artwork from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and the Asian Art Museum, two of the country’s most important collections of Himalayan art. Paintings, sculptures, and textiles made between 800 and 2016 chart a transformative journey from the ordinary world to enlightenment.
Museum Exhibitions Opening February 2020
"Dawoud Bey: An American Project" at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)
Feb. 15 – May 25, 2020
Dawoud Bey was born in New York City in 1953 and started his photography career in 1975. This exhibit shows 80 pieces spanning from 1970s Harlem to his most recent exploration of the Underground Railroad. Bey’s works range from black-and-white to color, across an evolution of cameras being used.
Uncanny Valley: Being Human in the Age of AI at the de Young Museum
Feb. 22 – Oct. 25, 2020
This exhibition explores the relationship between the human race and the ever-growing world of AI. This collection of artists and activists create pieces to showcase the complicated relationship between humans and machines through, philosophical, political, and poetic themes.
Museum Exhibitions Opening March 2020
"Frida Kahlo: Appearances Can Be Deceiving" at the de Young Museum
March 21 – July 26, 2020
This exhibit includes artifacts from the Frida Kahlo Museum in Mexico City, including photographs, clothing, jewelry, drawings, and paintings. Kahlo’s work is mostly based around politics, gender, and sexuality. She is most iconic for creating pieces that showcase herself.
Museum Exhibitions Opening April 2020
"David Park: A Retrospective" at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)
Apr. 11 - Sept. 7, 2020
Bay Area pioneer of figurative art, David Park, will be celebrated at SFMOMA with 127 works displayed in chronological order, ranging from Park's early social realist paintings in the 1930s to his final works on paper in 1960. This exhibition features a selection of the 1950s canvases of Bay Area figurines for which Park is best known.
Museum Exhibitions Opening May 2020
"Judy Chicago: A Retrospective" at the de Young Museum
May 9 – Sept. 5, 2020
This exhibition showcases Judy Chicago’s long career as a feminist artist. This exhibit shows more than 150 paintings, drawings, ceramic sculptures, prints, and performance art. This will be the first time a complete overview of Chicago's extensive career shall be displayed.
"The Walt Disney Studios and World War II" at the Walt Disney Family Museum
May 13, 2020 - Jan. 11, 2021
As the anchor attraction in the Presidio of San Francisco, The Walt Disney Family Museum is an ideal location for "The Walt Disney Studios and World War II," having served as an active U.S. Army base from 1846 to 1994. Commemorating the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II, this exhibition will showcase rarely-seen artwork, film clips, photos, and other historical ephemera from this unique period in animation history.