San Francisco art museums are reopening—here's what to see this spring
By local artist Liz Hernández (center), "Conjuro para la sanación de nuestro futuro" is the newest addition to SFMOMA's Bay Area Walls mural series. See it IRL at the museum now. (Courtesy of SFMOMA)

San Francisco art museums are reopening—here's what to see this spring


With Bay Area counties officially in the red tier, local museums are opening their doors with a current maximum capacity of 25 percent.

Expect to book timed tickets in advance and wear your mask to view much-anticipated exhibits such as the de Young's Calder-Picasso and SFMOMA's Close to Home: Creativity in Crisis. Here's the lowdown on which museums are open, what's showing, and which hallowed art halls are expected to reopen soon.


de Young Museum

Visit the de Young to view Frida Kahlo: Appearances Can Be Deceiving, now extended through May 2nd; Uncanny Valley: Being Human in the Age of AI, which explores issues raised by AI through an artistic lens; and the United States debut of Calder-Picasso. Curated by the grandsons of Alexander Calder and Pablo Picasso, Calder-Picasso (through May 23rd) highlights both the parallels and distinctions between the influential twentieth-century artists' works through more than 100 sculptures, paintings, drawings, and graphics. Bay Area resident get free general admission on Saturdays; essential workers will also receive free GA and a $15 discount on tickets to special exhibits through the end of the year.

// 9:30am to 5:15pm Tuesday through Sunday; de Young Museum, 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr. (Golden Gate Park); tickets on


On Sunday, March 7th—100 days since its last closure—SFMOMA reopened its doors with multiple new exhibits. In Close to Home: Creativity in Crisis, seven Bay Area artists offer their emotional, political, and artistic responses to the COVID-19 pandemic and the social upheaval of times. See more local works in mural form in Bay Area Walls, which includes Liz Hernández's new "Conjuro para la sanación de nuestro futuro" (or "A spell for the healing of our future"). Additionally, don't miss two works that explore the United States' history of racism in New Work: Charles Gaines and photography-based installations by contemporary artists from around the globe in Off the Wall.

Coming later in March, Contemporary Optics: Olafur Eliasson, Teresita Fernández, and Anish Kapoor will transport you to captivating landscapes; in May, SFMOMA will house Nam June Paik, a retrospective with Tate Modern, London that features more than 200 radical and experimental works.

// 1pm to 8pm Thursdays and 10am to 5pm Friday through Monday; SFMOMA, 151 Third St. (SoMa); timed tickets (advance reservation is recommended) are available on

Asian Art Museum

After looking at Chanel Miller: I was, I am, I will be from outside on Hyde Street, head inside the now-open Asian Art Museum to wander the galleries. New exhibits include After Hope: Videos of Resistance, a collection of more than 50 short videos exploring hope in art and activism; Memento: Jayashree Chakravarty and Lam Tung Pang, which transports viewers to Kolkata and Hong Kong through contemporary works; and Zheng Chongbin: I Look for the Sky, a collection of the Bay Area artist's site-specific installations.

// Open Thursday through Monday; Asian Art Museum, 200 Larkin St. (Civic Center); timed tickets are required with advance reservations or limited walk-up, purchase on

California Academy of Sciences

Reservations go on sale March 10th for CalAcademy's March 17th reopening. Members may visit as soon as March 15th, with specially designated hours (Tuesday from 8:30am to 9:30am and Sunday from 10am to 11am). The Morrison Planetarium will remain closed, but you can still pay Claude and the penguins a visit, meander around the aquarium, and make free reservations to see the Osher Rainforest and the Shake House. You'll be sure to stay busy.

// Open 9:30am to 5pm Monday through Saturday, 11am to 5pm Sunday; California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Dr. (Golden Gate Park); advance reservations are required,


The Contemporary Jewish Museum

The CJM reopens to members on April 15th and the public on the 17th. When it does, visitors will be able to finally see (or revisit) Levi Strauss: A History of American Style; Threads of Jewish Life: Ritual and Other Textiles from the San Francisco Bay Area; and Predicting the Past: Zohar Studios, The Lost Years. But first, watch for the first installment of the CFM's three-part digital exhibit, Golem: A Call to Action, which focuses on artist Julie Weitz's expression of a folkloric Jewish humanoid, to be released on Instagram March 28th (through April 4th). The unfolding narrative is inspired by the struggle between tyranny and freedom in the Passover story. The two remaining multimedia works will open online on Earth Day and the Summer Solstice (and in person on June 24th).

// Contemporary Jewish Museum, 736 Mission St. (SoMa); timed tickets are required;

Museum of Craft and Design

Museum of Craft and Design will welcome members on March 31st and the public on April 1st for two new exhibits. Design by Timefeatures 22 artists from eight different countries—think Dutch designer Maarten Baas and fashion designer Hussein Chalayan—and highlights how design objects can embody the passage of time. Encoded Holidays: Gary Hutton x Tom Bonaurooffers insight into the two Bay Area designers' 30 years of sending out "sculptures-in-a-box"—or innovative multi-media holiday cards.

// Open hours will be 10am to 5pm Wednesday through Saturday (10am to 10:45 reserved for visitors at high risk for Covid-19); Museum of Craft and Design, 2569 Third St. (Dogpatch); purchase timed tickets at


Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

At press time, a reopening date here is still TBA, but YBCA's outdoor space offers various public are works for free, non-ticketed viewing. On view through the end of the month, The Monument as Living Memoryis an evolving 18-week collaboration by Bay Area artists. Additionally, YBCA and SF Urban Film Festival's joint installation, Mourning Is An Act of Love, uses video, glass painting, poetry, projections, and non-traditional forms of documentary to consider memorials and grief.

// Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission St. (SoMa),

Museum of the African Diaspora

MoAD is still closed for in-person visits but you'll find a calendar of engaging virtual events—including a monthly film club, open mic nights with special guests, and a Women's History Month celebration on March 25th—online. View Meet Us Quickly: Painting for Justice from Prison, featuring works by 12 artists currently or formerly incarcerated at San Quentin State Prison (through March 31st).

// Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD), 685 Mission St. (SoMa); check for updates on

Oakland Museum of California

While OMCA is still closed for now, you can access the Dorothea Lange: Photography as Activismarchive online anytime. Upcoming exhibits include Mothership: Voyage Into Afrofuturism, which celebrates Black imagination and and features contemporary works such as a Dora Milaje costume from the film Black Panther; Hella Feminist, highighting lesser-known tales of local feminism; Edith Heath: A Life in Clay, sure to please fans and collectors of Sausalito's famed Heath Ceramics.

// OMCA, 1000 Oak St. (Oakland); check for updates on


The Legion of Honor

Though the de Young has reopened, its sister museum, the Legion of Honor, remains closed until further notice. Stay tuned for two future exhibits: Wangechi Mutu: I Am Speaking, Are You Listening?, which challenges colonialist, racist, and sexist world views; and Last Supper in Pompeii: From the Table to the Grave, showcasing food, drink, and daily life in the ancient Roman city that was buried by an eruption at Mount Vesuvius.

// Legion of Honor, 100 34th Ave. (Sea Cliff), check for updates on

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