The 6 San Francisco Museum Exhibitions You Can't Miss in 2020
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 2020.
"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.
Through 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.
Through 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.
Through 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.
"Awaken: A Tibetan Buddhist Journey Toward Enlightenment" at Asian Art Museum
Embark on a meditative journey at the Asian Art Museum in their newest exhibition, "Awaken: A Tibetan Buddhist Journey Toward Enlightenment". Your journey begins with works that represent our often chaotic and fractured everyday lives. You're then guided to meet some of Himalayan Buddhism's most interesting masters who will take you on a path of transformational awareness, or awakening. You'll be met with dozens of 17th century paintings, mandalas, and even a 500-year-old sculpture that personifies the victory of spiritual wisdom over death. At the end of your journey, you'll walk through the pillars that once flanked the entryway of a Tibetan temple where buddhists have reached enlightenment, and where you can feel interconnected with the world around you.
Through May 3, 2020
"Survival Architecture and the Art of Resilience" at Museum of Craft and Design
In "Survival Architecture and the Art of Resilience," science, technology, architecture and art converge to question survival within the context of natural disasters. Through interactive installations, models, photography and drawings, artists explore adaptable and sustainable housing, and stress the importance of social activism in the age of climate change.
Through May 3, 2020
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And here's a sneak peek at some of the other groundbreaking exhibitions coming to San Francisco museums in 2020.
Museum Exhibitions Opening February 2020
"Levi Strauss: A History of American Style" at the Contemporary Jewish Museum
Feb. 13 - Aug. 9, 2020
Learn about the history of Levi Strauss & Co., its fundamental connection to San Francisco, and the birth of the blue jean. This exhibition features over 250 rarely before seen items from the Levi Strauss & Co. Archives, including a never-before-exhibited jacket worn by Albert Einstein, a custom ensemble worn by Lauryn Hill and much more.
"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.