Nickolas Muray "Frida with Olmeca Figurine, Coyoacán", 1939. (Courtesy of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco)

Spring Arts Preview: Frida Kahlo, Hella Feminism, Lines Ballet + More Bay Area Openings

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The arts are already in full blossom this spring. Opening in March, you won't want to miss the de Young Museum's Frida Kahlo exhibition and Midsummer Night's Dream at San Francisco Ballet.

Also look out for the spring season of Alonzo King's Lines Ballet, the San Francisco International Arts Fair, an incredible look at ancient Pompeii at Legion of Honor, and OMCA's deep dive into feminism. Mark your calendar and get tickets for this season's best arts and culture happenings around the Bay Area.


March 2020: Bay Area Arts + Culture Events

Color Checker (Pileup) 2, by Stephanie Syjuco, part of Come to Your Census at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.

(Courtesy of YBCA)

African Film Festival

Mach 4 through May 8

BAMPFA, 2155 Center Street, Berkeley, bampfa.org

This festival of screenings from emerging and established African filmmakers shines a light on the continent's culture, traditions, and social issues. The award-winning Malian director Souleymane Cissè will be on location to introduce one of his most successful films, Brightness (1987); Cameroon's Rosine Mbakam, who NPR said is "reinventing how African women are portrayed in movies," will also take the stage. // Ticket prices vary; go to bampfa.org.


Midsummer Night's Dream

March 6-10

San Francisco Ballet, War Memorial Opera House, 301 Van Ness Ave. (Civic Center), sfballet.org

Spring is in the air, and Shakespeare's enchanted forest is coming to life once again, 35 years after its debut, on the San Francisco Ballet stage. Relive the masterpiece full of adventures, magic, mischief, and fairyland foibles. // Tickets ($35-$278) are available at sfballet.org.


Frida Kahlo: Appearances Can Be Deceiving

March 21 through July 26

De Young Museum, 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr. (Golden Gate Park), deyoung.famsf.org

If you've been to Frida Kahlo's Blue House in Mexico City, you may already know that many of the artist's personal items—garments, jewelry, corsets—were sealed away for more than 50 years at the behest of her famous widower, Diego Rivera. Unsealed in the early 2000s, the veritable treasure trove is making its way to the West Coast for the first time and makes it easy to see why Frida has been such an inspiration to fashion mavens and designers. // Make a reservation for timed entry tickets ($28/adults, free for members) at deyoung.famsf.org.


Come to your Census: Who Counts in America?

March 27 through July 31

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

Come to Your Census is part of a citywide arts-driven campaign led by Art+Action, a special coalition commissioned by the city that is mobilizing around the 2020 Census. The idea: Art can move people to take action. The show will feature more than 25 Bay Area artists whose work "investigates identity, public life, and belonging to educate and inspire the Bay Area's diverse communities about what's at stake in this critical population count." Are you ready to count? // Register for a free ticket at ybca.org.

April 2020: Bay Area Arts + Culture Events

Cauleen Smith's Sojourner (2018) is part of SFMOMA's Future Histories exhibit.

(Courtesy of the artist, via SFMOMA)

Alonzo King Lines Ballet's Spring Season

April 10-19

Blue Shield of California Theater at YBCA, 700 Howard St. (SoMa)

Four Decades of Creation is a unique opportunity to delve into the 40-year career of visionary choreographer Alonzo King. This season's show features Lines Ballet dancers in a series of archival collaborations with artists including Zakir Hussain, Sabir Khan, Jason Moran, Etta James, and Pharoah Sanders. Ticketholders will also be treated to an exclusive encore performance of Grace, King's recent commission for Grace Cathedral inspired by sacred music from a diverse range of spiritual traditions. // For more information, go to linesballet.org; tickets ($35-$95) are available at cityboxoffice.com.


Hella Feminist: An Exhibition

April 25 through August 23

Oakland Museum of California, 1000 Oak St., Oakland, museumca.org

Catalyzed by the #MeToo movement, this exhibit explores the complexity of feminism through lesser-known stories of feminism in Oakland and in the greater Bay Area. Historical artifacts, contemporary artwork, and interactive elements serve to highlight everyday acts of resistance as well as historical flash points. // Tickets ($16) are available at tickets.museumca.org.


Future Histories: Theaster Gates and Cauleen Smith

April 25 through November 1

SFMOMA, 151 Third St. (SoMa), sfmoma.org

Archival magazine photography and video projections are the common mediums of two artists on display here: Theaster Gates and Cauleen Smith each pay homage to the power of women through images culled from Ebony and Jet magazines that explore the idea of the Black Madonna (Gates) and a feminist reimagining of an unpublished photograph from a 1966 Life assignment (Smith). // Entry is included with general admission to the museum, tickets.sfmoma.org.


Last Supper in Pompeii: From the Table to the Grave

April 18 through August 30

Legion of Honor, 100 34th Ave. (Sea Cliff), legionofhonor.famsf.org

Journey back to AD 79, when Pompeii was a vibrant and wealthy city of the Roman Empire until it was destroyed and buried in volcanic ash after the eruption of nearby Mount Vesuvius. This exhibition highlights what the ruins of the famed UNESCO World Heritage site reveal about the the lifestyles of ancient Romans, who particularly enjoyed the pleasure of eating. See artifacts including pots, pans, and other paraphernalia that reflect the splendor and luxury of the once-posh vacation town. // Tickets ($28/adults, free for members) are available at tickets.famsf.org.

​​May 2020​:​ ​Bay Area Arts + Culture Events

2 Deep Time

(Josè Figueroa, courtesy of SFIAF)

San Francisco International Arts Festival

May 19-31

Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture, 2 Marina Blvd. (Marina)

In Diaspora: I.D. for the New Majority, the 2020 edition of SFIAF, will be an eclectic festival featuring dance performances, plays, and visual storytelling by ground-breaking artists, from the Bay Area and around the world, as they reflect on changing demographics of the U.S., and the conditions of minorities, migrants, and disenfranchised people. // Early bird tickets are available through March 31; go to sfiaf.org.

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