Fall Arts Preview: 69 Exhibits, Films, Dance Festivals, Musicals, Plays, Lit Events + More Bay Area Performances
Jesse Hewit and Embodiment Project, Transform Fest. (Courtesy of YBCA)

Fall Arts Preview: 69 Exhibits, Films, Dance Festivals, Musicals, Plays, Lit Events + More Bay Area Performances


Autumn is for the arts, and there's absolutely no shortage of ways to get your culture fix in the Bay Area. We've plucked 69 creative events from a seemingly endless roster of options; we hope you enjoy the show.


Gottfried Lindauer, "Pare Watene," 1878. Oil on canvas.

(Courtesy of de Young Museum)


De Young Museum

During the fall season, the de Young will take viewers on historical journeys to explore two ancient cultures. In the first, the museum showcases the stunning portraits of 31 Māori leaders of the 19th Century painted by Bohemian ex-pat Gottfried Lindauer during the colonization of New Zealand. It's the first U.S. retrospective for Lindauer, highlighting his fascination with the indigenous Polynesian people. The second (and larger) show takes us to Mexico, specifically to Teotihuacan, the ancient Mesoamerican city located just outside Mexico City. The exhibition features 200 recently discovered pieces including ritual objects, mural paintings, ceramics, sculptures, and more from this ancient mega-city founded around 100 B.C. // The Māori Portraits: Gottfried Lindauer's New Zealand (Sept. 9, 2017–April 1, 2018); Teotihuacan: City of Water, City of Fire (Sep. 30 2017–Feb. 11, 2018); De Young Museum, 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive, (Golden Gate Park) deyoung.famsf.org

Legion of Honor

Starting in October, The Legion of Honor will host two major exhibitions. Painter Gustav Klimt and sculptor August Rodin met only once, in 1902 during the 14th Vienna Secessionist exhibition, but that meeting started an inspiring and prolific correspondence. The show gathers together 33 Klimt pieces—including his popular "The Virgin" and the "Beethoven Frieze"—to display them alongside the Legion's own Rodin sculptures. From human gods to spiritual divinity, Gods in Color: Polychromy in the Ancient Worldwill showcase 40 reproductions of classical sculptures from Egypt, Greece, and Egypt. If you thought ancient sculptures were either white or terra cotta, you're in for a Technicolor surprise. // Klimt & Rodin: An Artistic Encounter (Oct.14, 2017–Jan 28, 2018); Gods in Color: Polychromy in the Ancient World (Oct. 28, 2017–Jan. 7, 2018); Legion of Honor, Lincoln Park, 100 34th Avenue, legionofhonor.famsf.org

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

SFMOMA will debut three separate solo exhibitions that celebrate the careers of three contemporary American artists. Opening the season is a massive retrospective of photographer Walker Evans, hanging 300 prints that capture his documentation of American popular culture and the greater world. The season continues with a SFMOMA-commission work by the LA-based artist Kerry Tribe—a video installation explores questions of empathy, communication, and performance in hospitals. The final show is all about Robert Rauschenberg, the first retrospective of the artist's work in nearly 20 years. The exhibition will sew together all stages of his prolific career and his unconventional and disruptive approach to materials. There will be paintings, sculptures, drawings, photos, prints, and the iconic "Automobile Tire Print" created when Rauschenberg asked composer John Cage to drive his model A Ford through a pool of paint and across 20 sheets of paper. // Walker Evans (Sep. 30, 2017–Feb. 4, 2018); New Work: Kerry Tribe (Oct. 7, 2017–Feb 25 2018); Robert Rauschenberg: Erasing the Rules (Nov 18, 2017–March 25, 2018) SFMOMA, 51 Third Street, sfmoma.org

Asian Art Museum

The Japanese are known for possessing a certain attention to detail, and this can easily be seen in the pottery of The Sculptural Turn (Nov. 9-26), a collection of works by four pre-World-War-II artists that highlight regional craftsmanship and cultural significance. Couture Korea (Nov. 3 through Feb. 4), dips into the long and ever-changing history of Korean fashion, investigating its modernization and popularization among a broader global audience. Look for the elaborate, corseted couture of the Joseon Dynasty (1392–1910) alongside modern offerings by Jin Teok, who answers the country's affinity for high waistlines and flared sleeves. // 200 Larkin St. (Civic Center); for more information and tickets, go to asianarts.org.

The Contemporary Jewish Museum

There may not be monsters under our beds but—plot twist—they surely exist in the realm of Jewish storytelling. Stop by the Contemporary Jewish Museum for Jewish Folktales Retold: Artist as Maggid(Sept. 28 – Jan. 28, 2018), a commission of 16 new works by creatives including the world-renowned mixed media artist Elisabeth Higgins O'Connor. Also peruse the for-sale works at Sabbath: The2017Dorothy Saxe Invitational(Nov. 12 – Feb. 25, 2018), a shoppable gallery of works that relate to ceremonial objects. // 736 Mission St. (SoMa), thecjm.org

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

Leave it to YBCA to keep us constantly surprised and engaged. This month, the museum introduces an art installation by local visual artist Ana Teresa Fernandez. Head to the Alemany Farmers' Market on September 22nd and look up: You'll see Fernandez's 10-foot-high shimmering block letters spelling out the word DREAM. // Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission St. (SoMa); For more fall programming and ticket information, go to ybca.org.

UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive

BAM/PFA has a diverse program ready for the fall. From September to January, dive into the development of lettering and calligraphy from drawing into textual communications in To The Letter, a showcase of prints, paintings, textiles, and photography from Africa, Asia and Europe. BAMPFA's second show, Flesh, takes an unflinching look at the human body and what it endures during times of violence and war. Its investigative nature brings awareness on how the body has been abused, brutalized, and sexualized. Expect Botero's Abu Ghraib drawings and works by Goya among others. Also in September, the museum will exhibit a look behind the sometimes fraught editorial processes that went into African-American photographer Gordon Parks 1948 Life magazine photo essay, "Harlem Gang Leader." // To The Letter: Regarding the Written Word (Sep. 13, 2017–Jan. 2, 2018); Flesh: Art for Human Rights (Sep. 13–Oct. 01, 2017); Gordon Parks: The Making of an Argument (Sep. 27–Dec. 17, 2017); BAMPFA, 2155 Center Street, Berkeley, bampfa.org

Oakland Museum of California

OMCA will explore the essence of humanity and the importance of honest connections with three unexpected exhibitions. Opening September 29, Question Bridge is a huge video installation, arranged as a face-to-face conversation, featuring 150 different African American men from across the United States sharing their stories, their beliefs and their experiences about what it means to black in America. Nature's Gift is a large lighting installation whose primary purpose is to bring joy to participants. It is an homage to the importance of friendships and good social connections, designed by FriendswithYou, an L.A.-based fine art collaborative. October sees the kick-off of the museum's biennial Día de los Muertos group exhibition, and this year it's inspired by the migration of monarch butterflies, whose return to Mexico symbolize the returning of loved ones who have passed away. Keep your eye out for local artists Chris Treggiani and Peter Foucalt's tribute to their friend Alex Ghassan, who died in the Ghost Ship fire. // Question Bridge: Black males (Sep. 29, 2017–Feb. 25, 2018); Nature's Gift: Human, Friends & the Unknown (Oct. 7, 2017–Jan. 21, 2018); Metamorphosis & Migration: Days of the Dead (Oct. 18, 2017–Jan. 14, 2018); OMCA, 1000 Oak Street; (Oakland) museumca.org

San Jose Museum

In the age of selfies, it's nice to see a "real portrait" from time to time. Put together in partnership with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), This is Not a Selfie: Photographic Self-Portraitsfrom the Audrey and Sydney Irmas Collection made its Bay Area debut earlier this summer. View the incredible self-portraits of artists including Diane Arbus, Robert Mapplethorpe, Catherine Opie, and Cindy Sherman through the new year. While you're there, also check out an installation on Vietnam's past and present by The Propeller Group. // 110 S Market St. (San Jose), sjmusart.org

Headlands Center for The Arts

Gloriously situated in the hills of Marin, Headlands Center for the Arts is giving us fresh reason to visit with The Commons, a new 3,000-square-foot outdoor space and ampitheater dedicated to hosting dynamic art programs. Here the center will also unveil three original commissions: a long, colorful promenade—inspired by Kintsugi, the Japanese art of mending broken pottery with lacquer and powdered metals—by Los Angeles-based Ball-Nogues Studio; Wall Space, a sculptural installation of transparent metal mesh on the building's facade, by Rotterdam designer Chris Kabel; and Doubledrink, a particularly intimate two-person ceramic drinking fountain designed by SF artist Nathan Lynch. // Opens Sept. 17 (launch party noon to 5pm); Headlands Center for the Arts, 944 Fort Barry (Sausalito), headlands.org


Decades in the Making, Hackett | Mill

Brand new gallery Hackett | Mill celebrates its first fall season with a series of rotating shows built as a dialogue between artsy geniuses, bringing together 20th century creators from past and present. For example, you can see David Park, member of the Bay Area Figurative movement, "in conversation" with Milton Avery, an abstract painter who was called the "American Matisse." // Oct. 26, 2017–March 29, 2018; Hacket | Mill; 145 Natoma Street; (SoMa); hackettmill.com

An Idea of a Boundary, San Francisco Arts Commission

Ten great local and international women artists dig into, investigate, and consider the concept of boundaries at the SF Arts Commission this fall. Inspired by Ursula K. Le Guin' s novel The Dispossessed, these women question and break the existence of boundaries in our lives. On view is New York–based artist Park McArthur with a sequence of small photographs of various thresholds and corridors that highlight how architecture and placement can complicate and block the accessibility of a place. Press and Outline, a movie by Gina Osterloh, unveils the artist's attempts to trace her own shadow on a wall. Blown glass works by Bay Area artist Mildred Howard reveal the boundary between speech and musical notes. Among the artists there will be work by Patricia L. Boyd, Davina Semo, Hannah Ireland, Nicole Wermers, A.K. Burns, Dionne Lee, and Diane Simpson. // An Idea of Boundary (Sep. 22, 2017–Jan. 20, 2018); San Francisco Arts Commission main gallery, 410 Van Ness Avenue, Suite 126; (Civic Center); sfartscommission.org

May Wilson: Felt, Fiber and Cement, Minnesota Street Project

This is the first solo exhibition for the winner of the 2017 San Francisco Artist Award (SFAA). In this new adventure, sculptor May Wilson will show a series of sculptures made of vinyl, industrial felt, nylon strapping, sand, and concrete that tell a story of past memories and imagination. As an abstract artist, Wilson is known for her deep research on different kinds of materials that once together can give a shape to unexpected objects and constructions. // Sep. 9-20, 2017; Atrium @ Minnesota Street Project, 1275 Minnesota Street (Dogpatch); minnesotastreetproject.com

The Leader Is Present @ The McLoughlin Gallery

Italian photographer Max Papeschi brings part of his Welcome to North Korea project to the McLoughlin Gallery in a timely exhibition of The Leader Is Present, whose Kim Jong-un renderings cast a tongue-and-cheek light on the propagandic messaging of the dictatorial nation state. Through his expressive and irreverent style, Papeschi discredits the very cult-like narrative that shrouds the country by pushing his work to laughable extremes. // Sept. 15 – Oct. 14; 49 Geary St. Suite #200 (Union Square), mgart.com

Parallel Spaces @ Haines Gallery

When it comes to minimalist paintings, there's little to impede individual interpretation. Parallel Spaces, a stimulating collection from Mike Henderson—a Bay Area artist and filmmaker whose work with acrylics spans four decades—is currently on display at Haines Gallery. Henderson's geometric paintings of scalpel-sharp line works and shapes are rendered in both primary and polychromatic hues, and encourage viewers to question the parallels between their own lives and those of other human beings. // Sept. 7 – Oct. 28; 49 Geary St. Suite #540 (SoMa), hainesgallery.com

SF Open Studios

Whether you're a budding or seasoned art collector, there's no better way to get a handle on the local scene than by jumping on ArtSpan's Open Studios circuit. For five weekend, more than 800 Bay Area artists of all kinds will open their doors to your perusal. // Oct. 14 through Nov. 12 at venues citywide; for schedule and info, go to artspan.org.

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