SFMOMA's 75th Anniversary Show: What to See



It's finally here! The SFMOMA's highly anticipated 75th Anniversary Show kicked off last weekend. We checked out the media preview and are here to distill all the great artwork into 30 must-sees for your initial visit. Without further ado...



1. Andy Warhol, National Velvet

2. Jackson Pollock, Guardians of the Secret

3. Matthew Barney, Transexualis

4. Matmos at the Jan. 16 opening party. Expect the former longtime Bay Area experimental music-makers (who once functioned as Bjork’s backup band) to startle and surprise, accompanied by live projections by SF video artist Nate Boyce. 6 p.m.

5. Paul Klee, Fast getroffen (Nearly Hit)

6. Sigmar Polke, The Spirits That Lend Strength Are Invisible III

7. Filmmaker Craig Baldwin, artists Renee Green and Kamau Patton, composer Pamela Z, writers B. Ruby Rich and Glen Helfand, and many, many others -- 75 actually -- give 75 7.5-minute gallery talks on their favorite works from Jan. 16-18.

8. Diane Arbus’ Retired man and his wife at home in a nudist camp one morning, N.J. 1963

9. Phillip Guston, For M

10. Barry McGee’s Untitled

11. Hans Bellmer’s La Mitrailleuse en etat de grace

12. Bruce Conner’s Three Screen Ray and Breakaway

13. Jeff Wall’s Tattoos and Shadows

14. The sound installation by Bill Fontana, Sound Sculptures Through the Golden Gate. The work captures a live duet -- complete with fog horns, bird cries, and metallic groans -- between the Golden Gate Bridge and the Farallon Islands. Jan. 16, 11 a.m.-6 p.m., Phyllis Wattis Theater.

15. Gerhard Richter, Lesende (Reading)

16. Richard Serra, Gutter Corner Splash: Night Shift

17. Kara Walker, No Mere Words Can Adequately Reflect The Remorse This Negress Feels...

18. Alfred Stieglitz’s Georgia O’Keefe -- Neck

19. Jeff Koons, Michael Jackson and Bubbles

20. Marilyn Minter, Strut

21. Artist Allison Smith’s SMITHS presents Arts & Skills Service, a piece that delves into SFMOMA’s WWII collaboration with the Red Cross concerning art therapy and wounded veterans. Quilts and quilters are the theme on Jan. 17 when Smith instigates crazy-quilting activities for the entire family, and Renee Dolores plays the musical saw. Noon-1:30 p.m.

22. Michael Bell-Smith, Chapters 1-12 of R. Kelly's Trapped in the Closet Synced and Played Simultaneously

23. Imogen Cunningham, False Hellebore

24. Brice Marden, Cold Mountain 6

25. Early cartoon fare -- the likes of which were screened at SFMOMA at the inception of its film program -- are reeled out at the Phyllis Wattis Theater. Winsor McCay’s Gertie the Dinosaur (1914) and Walt Disney’s The Skeleton Dance (1929) qualify as film classics. Jan. 17, 11:30 a.m. and 12:30, 1:30, and 2:30 p.m.

26. Ewan Gibbs, San Francisco series

27. Cory Arcangel, All the Parts from Simon and Garfunkel's 1984 Central Park Performance Where Garfunkel Sings With His Hands in His Pockets

28. Nicholas Nixon, photographs from the series The Brown Sisters

29. Ellsworth Kelly, Spectrum I

30. Chris Johanson, Untitled (Figures with black presence)

Other newsbits:

The Anniversary Show” (through Jan. 16, 2011), on the second floor, draws primarily from the museum’s collection (additional pieces on loan were added to evoke the original debut exhibition of, say, Jackson Pollock) and includes intriguing correspondence, paper ephemera and wall text that reveal some of the backstories and figures behind the acquisitions.

On the third floor “The View from Here” (Jan. 16-June 27) foregrounds photography in California and in particular San Francisco, while “Ewan Gibbs: San Francisco” (Jan. 16-June 27) sees the British artist capturing the city with slashes and dots that binary-code jocks would relate to.

Focus on the Artists” (Through May 23) on the fourth floor divides the space into 18 galleries devoted to 18 modern and contemporary artists SFMOMA has cultivated long-term relationships with, such as Matthew Barney, Gerhard Richter, Kara Walker, Jeff Wall, Diane Arbus, Andy Warhol, and Sigmar Polke. Expect works to rotate in and out of some of the rooms showcasing artists from whom the museum has acquired many pieces (namely Clyford Still, Ellsworth Kelly, Phillip Guston, Richard Diebenkorn, etc.). Last but not least is “Long Play: Bruce Conner and the Singles Collection” (Jan. 16-May 23), also on the fourth floor. The show pivots on the premiere of the late local artist’s Three Screen Ray, a new acquisition and triple-screen re-envisioning of his influential 1961 Cosmic Ray. In the adjacent space, playing off a music motif and the idea of the single-channel video form, are video “singles” like Conner’s Breakaway, and a rotating array of videos by Cory Arcangel, Michael Bell-Smith, and others.

The SFMOMA plans to expand as it becomes the home for the wide-ranging abstract and figurative works in the renowned collection of Doris and the late Donald Fisher. And director Neal Benezra whetted our appetite for even more with glances at upcoming exhibitions on the Fisher Collection (June 25-Sept. 19), as well as Luc Tuymans (Feb. 6-May 2), Henri Cartier-Bresson (Oct. 30-Jan. 30, 2011), “Exposed: Voyeurism, Surveillance and the Camera Since 1870” (Oct. 30-April 17, 2011), and “How Wine Became Modern” (Nov. 20-April 17, 2011).

San Francisco Museum of Art, 151 Third St., SF. (415) 357-4000.

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