Spring Arts Preview: Warhol, SFFILM, Queer History, Irving Penn + More
Andy Warhol—From A to B and Back Again, coming to SFMOMA in May, will be one of the largest retrospectives of the artist to date. (Courtesy of SFMOMAA)

Spring Arts Preview: Warhol, SFFILM, Queer History, Irving Penn + More


April and May are looking to be vibrant thanks to a full and diverse to-do list for art lovers.

Look out for major exhibitions including Andy Warhol—From A to B and Back Again at SFMOMA and Queer California: Untold Stories at OMCA. Plus, the San Francisco International Film Festival returns this month with special tributes to Laura Linney and Laura Dern and an appearance by Boots Riley.

Plus, Mutek brings its avant-garde digital experiences back for its second U.S. edition; Irving Penn's Bay Area works are display at Pace; and the Shostakovich Trilogy takes the stage again at SF Ballet.

Mark your calendars and get your tix!

Bay Area Arts in April

This year's SFFILM has everything for Laura Linney fans, beginning with the premiere of Netflix's Tales of the City, and, later in the week, a special tribute to the actress.

(Courtesy of SFFILM)

Robert Therrien

Through May 11

Gagosian, 657 Howard St. (SoMa), gagosian.com

After more than 20 years, Robert Therrien returns to SF for a solo show featuring his art poetic take on everyday objects. If you've been to The Broad in Los Angeles, you probably remember Therrien's huge dining table and chairs; in this new series of work, he continues to focus on such daily necessities as pots, pans, socks, and hats, all with a surprising twist.

The Jungle

Through May 16

Curran, 445 Geary St. (TenderNob), sfcurran.com

This timely story of the inhabitants of The Jungle, a refugee camp in Calais, France, embodies the spirit of solidarity and community among people seeking a sense of belonging amid danger and strife. Over shared fresh-baked naan and sweet milky chai, they engage in conversations about life, family, and purpose.

Early Rubens

April 6 through September 8

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

This first exhibition in the United States to focus exclusively on the early works of Peter Paul Rubens, Early Rubens is a curation of 50 pieces painted between 1609 and 1621, upon the artist's return home to Antwerp, Belgium after eight years spent abroad in Italy. Created in religious style for public spaces and private collectors, the works convey the artist's eye for richness and renewed inspiration drawn from his home country.

San Francisco International Film Festival

April 10-23

Multiple locations, sffilm.org

The 2019 edition of the popular SFFILM will open with a bang: the premiere of Netflix's upcoming original series based on Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City, to be held, fittingly, at the Castro Theatre. Other highlights include tributes to Laura Linney (who also stars in Tales of the City) on the 11th and Laura Dern, who will attend a screening of her new film, Trial by Fire, on the 15th; Boots Riley's State of Cinema Address on the 13th; the Miles Davis biopic, Birth of the Cool; Raise Hell: The Life and Times of Molly Ivins; and the new Toni Morrison biopic The Pieces I Am, which tells the story of the Nobel Laureate in her own words, through interviews with Oprah Winfrey, Angela Davis, and more. // For the full schedule and tickets, go to sffilm.org.

Irving Penn

April 11 through May 26

Pace Gallery, 229 Hamilton Ave. (Palo Alto), pacegallery.com

He's one of the most famous photographers in history, known for his spare black-and-whites and strong fashion portraiture. But Irving Penn was also deeply connected to the Bay Area. In 1967, Penn rented a building in Sausalito that would become a studio for shoots with all kinds of people, from hippies to the Hell's Angels to dancers and famous actors, a portfolio that would eventually be published in Look magazine. Pace Gallery's retrospective of the photographer's time here also includes rare streetscapes from his first visit to San Francisco, in 1947. // An opening reception will be held on Weds., April 10, from 4 to 7pm.

Queer California: Untold Stories

April 13 through August 11, 2019

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

OMCA digs deep into LGBTQ+ history this spring, seeking to transcend the mainstream narrative and paint an intimate portrait of the community's history and activism through a mix of contemporary art and historic artifacts such as zines, costumes, and photographs. Look for a visual and sound installation by multidisciplinary Oakland-based artist Yetunde Olagbaju, and more original works commissioned for the exhibition. Another highlight: the original rainbow flag designed by Gilbert Baker in 1978.

The Body Electric

April 17 through May 19

41 Ross, 41 Ross Alley (Nob Hill), reriddle.com

Our body holds our memories; memory impacts the flesh. This is the topic of a comprehensive group exhibition—curated by Re-Riddle in collaboration with the Chinese Culture Center of SF and 41 Ross Alley—that includes live performances (see a 30-minute conversation with local artists ALEXANDMUSHI), a poetry reading from author JiaJing Liu, photography, installations, videos, and paintings. // Opening reception 6-8pm, April 17th.

From L.A. to San Francisco to Mexico: Jack Hooper—Women, Figures and Frida Kahlo

April 16 through May 15

Art Ventures Gallery, 888 Santa Cruz Ave. (Menlo Park), artventuresgallery.com

Influenced by Matisse, Picasso, Modigliani, Cubism, and the Bay Area Figurative movement, the works of the late California artist, traveler, and thinker Jack Hooper (1928-2014) celebrate women. This solo retrospective feature pieces from 1960 and from the artist's last 20 years spent in rural Mexico.

StARTup Fair

April 26-28

Hotel Del Sol, 3100 Webster St. (Cow Hollow), startupartfair.com

The annual roundup of Bay Area artists is transforming the quirky, colorful guest rooms of Hotel Del Sol into small galleries and art labs where more than 60 contemporary talents will showcase their creativity. The event also includes dance performances, live music, and industry talks. // Advance tickets ($10-$100) are available at eventbrite.com.

Bay Area Dance Week

April 26 through May 5

Multiple venues, bayareadance.org

Get ready to shake it at any of 400+ free dance classes, performances, workshops, and various events centering on dance in its many form. Learn to salsa, take a ballet class, give Afro-Brazilian movement a try. Don't miss Flyaway Productions's world premiere of The Wait Room, a site-specific dance that engages the ideas of waiting and weighting, April 26th and 27th.

Bay Area Arts in May

Frances Chung dances in the SF Ballet's production of Alexie Ratmansky's Shostakovich Trilogy.

(Erik Tomasson)


May 2-5

Multiple venues in San Francisco, mutek.us

The digital creativity festival makes its second U.S. return this year to SF venues including Cal Academy, Herbst Theatre, and 1015 Folsom with a lineup of both international and local artists. Look for the avant-garde audiovisual and multi-sensory works of A/Visions; Nocturne's late-night sounds and sights; and Experience, the festival's all-day genre-bending conclusion. // Festival passports ($200-$450) and event tickets ($15-$35) are available through the website.

Alexei Ratmansky's Shostakovich Trilogy

May 7-12

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

It premiered in 2014 and by popular demand Russian choreographer Alexei Ratmansky's homage to Shostakovich's music returns to the SF Ballet. Deeply moved by the composer's music as a young boy, Ratmansky's "Trilogy" reflects this long-term fascination. The ballet is made up of three distinct works in an approximately two-hour program with two intermissions. // Tickets available online.

We Have Iré

May 10-11

YBCA, 701 Mission St. (SoMa), ybca.org

Award-winning poet, performance artist, and playwright Paul S. Flores introduces his new multidisciplinary theater work, We Have Iré, the story of four artists who have immigrated from Cuba to the United States, where they strive to find their voices in a foreign land. Directed by Rosalba Rolon, the show also features performances from Grammy-nominated jazz musician/composer Yosvany Terry and his quartet; award-winning choreographer and dancer Ramon Ramos Alayo; and Oakland-based hip-hop artist DJ Leydis. // Meet the cast at a Cuban happy hour at 6pm, May 2nd with advance registration (free); show tickets are $25 at cityboxoffice.com or $30 at the door.

Andy Warhol—From A to B and Back Again

May 19 through September 2

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

The first Warhol retrospective organized in the U.S. since 1989 and the largest in terms of scope of ideas and range of works, From A to B and Back Again exhibits more than 300 works of art, many assembled together for the first time. The landmark exhibition was organized by the Whitney Museum of American Art, and unites the various media and themes from the 40-year career of one of the world's most recognizable artists.

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