Your Arts & Culture Guide to San Francisco
Brighten your calendar with art, movies, and music in and around the Bay.
The San Francisco art scene is vibrant and dynamic with a rich history of artistic innovation, from the Beat poets of the 1950s to the psychedelic posters of the 1960s. Today, the city is home to a thriving community of contemporary artists who work in a wide range of media, from painting and sculpture to video and performance art. Overall, the San Francisco art scene is a testament to the city's creative energy and cultural diversity.
Want to experience it for yourself? Here's our round-up of the latest and most exciting cultural happenings around the city.
Note: Schedules and protocols may change, so be sure to confirm details ahead of time. All locations in San Francisco unless otherwise noted.
Art & Experiences
An Archaeology of Silence: Kahinde Wiley at The de Young Museum50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr.
Kehinde Wiley's latest work, "An Archaeology of Silence," is set to make its debut in the US. Created during the COVID-19 pandemic, amidst the global rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, and following the murder of George Floyd, this monumental body of work builds upon the artist's "Down" series from 2008. With a focus on the tragic deaths of young Black people around the world, the 26 pieces in this collection serve as both elegies and monuments, highlighting the difficulties inherent in rendering Black lives visible, particularly in the face of systemic violence.. Buy tickets. March 18 through October 15, 2023.
Ann Hamilton at the David Ireland House and Headlands500 Capp St.
Explore new site-specific works by artist Ann Hamilton here • there •then•now,
For "here • there • then • now," Hamilton revisits both locations to establish a dialogue that spans time and space, creating an opportunity for interaction, contemplation, and reaction. In November 2022, during a research residency at 500 Capp Street, Hamilton examined objects from Ireland's work, exploring their shapes and materials, and scanned them to produce radiant images that will be exhibited, along with a newspaper print available as a free takeaway, at both Headlands and 500 Capp Street.
In addition to this, to bridge the gap between the domestic scale of 500 Capp Street and the institutional scale of Headlands' studio buildings, Hamilton is designing a sculptural audio component that will beckon across the distance, forging a connection between the nearby and faraway.
Plan your visit. Through April 29.
NightLife at the California Academy of Sciences55 Music Concourse Dr.
Thursdays in Golden Gate Park can only mean one thing: NightLife at the Academy! Enjoy drinks with the fishes and say hi to Claude the albino alligator while learning about a new theme each week. 21+. Buy tickets. Ongoing.
Art & Design Intertwined at Children’s Creativity Museum221 Fourth St.
Art can connect us in many ways. Help your kids get a better understanding of art and design in our everyday lives while finding ways to use it as a communicator and problem solver in this thoughtful exhibition. Buy tickets. Ongoing.
The New Black Vanguard at the Museum of African Diaspora685 Mission St.
The New Black Vanguard is an absolute must for all fashion fanatics. Featuring over 100 select works by an array of renowned artists, the photography exhibition explores themes of gender, power, race, and beauty. Buy tickets. Through March 5, 2023.
Bull.Miletic: Proxistant Vision at the Museum of Craft and Design2569 Third St.
Proxistant Vision is an ambitious and innovative study that examines aerial imaging technologies, their influence, and their potential. Plan Your visit. Through March 19, 2023.
Brett Cook & Liz Lerman: Reflection & Action at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts701 Mission St.
Spend fall exploring the creative worlds of visual artist Brett Cook and choreographer Liz Lerman. Together, they’ll transform YBCA’s galleries into an inspirational space through collaborative art and a vast array of related programming. Plan your visit. Through April 2, 2023.
Gillian Laub: Family Matters at The Contemporary Jewish Museum736 Mission St.
Photographer Gillian Laub chronicles her family—for better or worse—with poignant storytelling and vivid imagery. Buy tickets. Through April 9, 2023.
Looking Forward at Pier 24Pier 24
A lot has changed for San Francisco in the last decade. This exhibition highlights local work by photographers over the last ten years, showcasing evolving landscapes, technologies, and even people. Plan your visit. Through May 31.
Sargent and Spain at The Legion of Honor100 34th Ave.
The Legion of Honor presents Sargent and Spain, an exhibition that delves into the impact of Spanish culture on the vibrant artistic practice of John Singer Sargent (1856-1925), an American expatriate. Sargent's intrigue with Spain, which grew throughout seven trips taken between 1879 and 1912, yielded a striking collection of work. The exhibition will showcase a stunning array of Sargent's oils, watercolors, drawings, and previously unseen photographs from his personal archive that explore Spain's rich heritage, both past and present, its people, and its stunning urban and rural landscapes. Sargent and Spain is the only exhibition of its kind on the West Coast.
Angela Davis—Seize The Time at Oakland Museum of California1000 Oak St., Oakland
Get to know more about Oakland legend and activist icon Angela Davis through art, rare archive pieces, media, and more—all in the heart of where she’s been igniting change for decades. Buy tickets. Through June 11, 2023.
SPACE/TIME at SFMOMA151 3rd St.
In a site-specific commission, Oakland-based artist Sadie Barnette ruminates on her family’s history through large-scale images and items from her studio. Buy tickets. Through June 2023.
Stories of Change at ExploratoriumPier 15
Over the past few years, the world has faced numerous challenges and changes that have had a profound impact on individuals and communities. From protests for racial justice to devastating wildfires and the ongoing pandemic, these events have brought about significant and often unwanted alterations to our daily lives.
Despite these challenges, humans have proven to be resilient and adaptable, finding ways to cope with and even embrace change. Some changes, such as increased awareness and efforts towards social justice, have been welcomed and long overdue.The Exploratorium invites you to share your stories of how you have personally adapted and changed, as well as how you have witnessed others doing the same. Original mural paintings by Bianca Marie Rivera and Mark Harris.
Performing Arts, Theatre & Cinema
The Headlands at A.C.T.415 Geary St.
The Headlands is a complicated love letter to our city. Obie Award–winning playwright Christopher Chen dives deep into his San Francisco roots to tell the story of true crime fan Henry Wong. For Henry, his father’s unexplained death is the ultimate cold case. But as he digs into the SFPD evidence, he’s haunted by the myths and misdirections of his own family history. How did his parents really meet? What’s behind the detective’s warnings about the case? And what is hidden in the Marin Headlands? Experience the West Coast Premiere of the shadowy and compelling mystery of The Headlands at A.C.T., directed by Tony Award winner Pam MacKinnon—you’ll never look at San Francisco the same way again.
SF Ballet - GiselleWar Memorial Opera House 301 Van Ness Ave.
Giselle, considered one of the most exceptional Romantic ballets, narrates the touching story of a kind-hearted peasant girl with a profound love for dancing. As she experiences first love and an earth-shattering truth, the central character, Giselle, reaches a tour de force moment in the form of a mad scene. This magnificent production promises to take audiences on an unforgettable journey, from joyous festivities in a Rhineland village to a forest glade occupied by ghostly spirits of maidens condemned to dance in the darkness for eternity, from a grievous betrayal to a compassionate pardon. Feb. 24 - March 5.
Audium1616 Bush St.
Audium's popular NEW VOICES artist-in-residence show has returned with its second edition, showcasing live performances by Sharmi Basu, Alex Abalos, and Ronald Peabody. This time, the show will use the theater's 176-speaker environment to narrate the tales of Bay Area Filipino culture, African immigrant origins, and a sci-fi story where the world's caregivers have vanished.
Over a period of three months, these residency artists have explored sound movement, texture, and spatialization within Audium's unique pitch-black 176-speaker space. The theater has been transformed into an otherworldly experience with its roots deeply grounded in Bay Area culture. The resident artists have crafted their own distinctive spatial works and will perform their sound movement live. Additionally, the show expands beyond the speaker space, spilling out into the lobby with a blend of sound, electronics, poetry, graffiti, and projection enveloping the audience from the moment they enter the building.
Performances at Davies Symphony Hall201 Van Ness Ave.
Enjoy Tchikovsky conducted by Elim Chan, Itzhak Perlman, "Jurassic Park", Dvorak conducted by Blomstedt and Mahler's 4th conducted by Robin Ticciati. Buy tickets.
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