Winter Arts Preview: 16 Bay Area Exhibitions, Performances + Festivals
(Ansel Adams, Owens Valley California, 1943; Courtesy of Library of Congress)

Winter Arts Preview: 16 Bay Area Exhibitions, Performances + Festivals


Spend the first few months of 2019 getting cultured—after the spendy holiday season, it's an affordable way to get out and have some fun.

Look for the opening of the magnificent Kimono Refashioned at Asian Art Museum; Björk Ballet at the San Francisco Ballet; the return of Fog Design + Art; paintings from Claude Monet's final years; a selfie-conscious photo exhibit at SFMOMA; a photographic journey through the Japanese-American internment of WWII; Kid Koala's live graphic novel at SFJazz; and much more.

Bay Area Arts in January

Masako Miki, Kuchisake-onna (Mouth Tear Woman)

(Courtesy of CULT Aimee Friberg Exhibitions)

Masako Miki / Matrix 273

When: Jan. 9 through April 28

Where: BAMPFA, 2120 Oxford Street (Berkeley),

As part of BAMPFA's Matrix series highlighting contemporary local artists, Berkeley-based Masako Miki gives her Japanese roots a modern interpretation in a dozen large-scale, felt-covered sculptures—think bright red lips, a polka-dotted umbrella, and various quirky monsters—all of which explore her interest in Shinto, Buddhist, and traditional Japanese culture. Her Berkeley show coincides with another exhibition, Masako Miki: Shapeshifters (Jan. 12 through Feb. 23), at San Francisco gallery CULT Aimee Friberg Exhibitions.

Fog Design + Art

When: Jan. 17-20

Where: Fort Mason Festival Pavillon, 2 Marina Blvd. (Marina)

It's the most celebrated modern design event each year. This year, Fog will bring together more than 53 leading international design and visual art gallery exhibitors, as well as a riveting line-up of talks with industry luminaries. // Tickets ($25) can be purchased at;

Untitled Art Fair

When: Jan. 18-20

Where: Pier 35 (The Embarcadero)

For its third SF edition, the international Untitled Art Fair looked to local curator Juana Berrío to organize anew section of artist books, publications, and limited editions, as well as a series of projects based on the theme of intimacy, crafted with domestic materials. In-situ installations include a large-scale sculptural collage by London-based artist Marc Camille Chaimowicz and a video installation by American visual artist Ann Hamilton. // Tickets ($35) are available at

Then They Came For Me

When: Jan. 18 through Mar. 19

Where: Futures Without Violence, 100 Montgomery St. (Presidio),

A series of photos taken by noted Americans including Dorothea Lange, Clem Albers, and Ansel Adams—as well as photographers commissioned by the U.S. government's War Relocation Authority—tell the story of the forced removal, without due process or other constitutional protections, of 120,000 Japanese-American residents and U.S. citizens from their homes during WWII. The exhibition also presents images of daily life in the internment camps by artists and inmates including Paul Kitagaki Jr., whose work was recently published in National Geographic.

"Edge of See: Twilight Engines"

When: Jan. 20 through March 3

Where: Headlands Center for the Arts, 944 Fort Barry (Sausalito),

Art and technology meet in new project by Headlands Center artist-in-residence Vishal K. Dar, who has created augmented reality light sculptures that responds to defunct military installations in the surrounding Marin Headlands. By downloading the corresponding app, developed in collaboration with Bay Area firm Okaynokay, visitors can see dynamic, abstract light designs overlaid on the landscape. // Project opening in 2-4pm Jan. 20 with an artist talk at 5:30pm.

The Art of Trash

When: Jan. 25-29

Where: Recology Art Studio, 503 Tunnel Ave., and Environmental Learning Center, 401 Tunnel Ave. (Visitacion Valley),

Did you know Leah Rosenberg (yes, of the Color Factory) is currently an artist in residence at Recology? She joins fellow AiRs Mark Baugh-Sasaki and Sophia Cook in an exhibition that marks the culmination of their four months of scavenging materials from the dump, for the purpose of making art that promotes recycling and reuse. // Artist reception 5-8pm Friday, Jan. 25 and 1-3pm Saturday, Jan. 26; for more info, go to

SF Indie Fest

When: Jan. 30 through Feb. 14

Where: Victoria Theater, 2961 16th St., and Roxie Theater, 3117 16th St. (Mission),

The freshest independent films and digital programs from around the world arrive in SF this month with SF Indie Fest, which will highlight Little Woods, about life in North Dakota, by New York director Nia DaCosta; Waterlily Jaguar, starring James Le Gros and Mira Sorvino; and projects by local filmmakers including Cameron Mullenneaux (Exit Music) and Laura Vanzee Taylor (I Am Maris).

Bay Area Arts in February

Asian Art Museum's Kimono Refashioned examines how the traditional Japanese dress has inspired designers—including Christian Louboutin, whose ankle boots are seen here—for more than 150 years.

(Courtesy of Asian Art Museum)

Kimono Refashioned

When: Feb. 8 through May 5

Where: Asian Art Museum, 200 Larkin St. (Civic Center),

Besides the fact that kimonos are just simply fabulous, the evolution of Japan's traditional dress tells a visual and tactile narrative of haute couture for over 150 years. Here 40-plus pieces—including dresses and accessoriesare collected from designers including Paul Poiret, Coco Chanel, Issey Miyake, Yohji Yamamoto, Christian Louboutin, and Tom Ford. Chic!

Kid Koala: Nufonia Must Fall

When: Five shows, Feb. 7-10

Where: SFJazz Center, 201 Franklin St. (Hayes Valley),

Montreal DJ/composer Kid Koala conjures a truly original concept at SFJazz. In nearly a week's worth of shows, Koala will bring his graphic novel, Nufonia Must Fall, to life with the help of live puppeteering and a real-time video projection, directed by Oscar nominated K.K. Barrett (Her, Marie Antoinette), that dynamically interacts with Koala's ensemble of strings, piano, and electronic instruments. It promises to be a little kooky, totally cinematic, and deeply cool. // Tickets ($25-$70) are available online.

New Work: Rodney McMillian

When: Feb. 9th through June 9

Where: SFMOMA, 151 Third St. (SoMa),

Los Angeles–based artist Rodney McMillian explores the way in which American political and social histories shape issues of class, race, and gender. In his first solo museum presentation on the West Coast, McMillian will pair a painted abstract panorama with a soundscape interweaving iconic 1980s songs overlaid with the language of social advocacy. The immersive installation will question the political systems that promise freedom and equality for all and highlight the power of the individual to affect hope and create change.

Monet: The Late Years

When: Feb. 16 through May 27

Where: De Young Museum, 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr. (Golden Gate Park),

With a breath of classical fresh air comes this exhibition of 50 paintings by Claude Monet from 1913 to 1926—the final phase of his long career, during which time the flowers, willows, and footpaths around his home became the artist's daily muses.

At Your Service

When: 8pm, Feb. 21-23

Where: ODC Theater, 3153 17th St. (Mission),

The typically under-appreciated characters in our everyday drama—think teachers, nurses, firefighters, caregivers, and restaurant waitstaff—get the spotlight in this world premiere that questions how do we all serve one another? from Risa Jaroslow & Dancers. It's a collaboration with vocalist and composer Amy X Neuburg, five core dancers, and 16 additional performers including an IRL nurse midwife, a math teacher, and more. // Tickets ($30) are available online.

Bay Area Arts in March

The stylish Björk Ballet returns as part of San Francisco Ballet's Program 6.

(Erik Tomasson, courtesy of SF Ballet)

Close Encounters of the Third Kind

When: 8pm, Mar. 1-2

Where: San Francisco Symphony, 201 Van Ness Ave. (Civic Center),

Steven Spielberg's OG science fiction epic gets the grand orchestral treatment in this two-night performance of the film and its score by the SF Symphony and Chorus, with Joshua Gersen conducting. // Tickets ($50 and up) are available online.

Davina Semo

When: Mar. 4 through May 4

Where: Jessica Silverman Gallery, 488 Ellis St. (Tenderloin),

Jessica Silverman has a knack for discovering the next big thing. According to the well-known gallerist, the works of SF artist Davina Semo works "are created from a place of strength, starting with real historical contexts and industrial materials that evolve into personal narratives and fantastical worlds." See her multidisciplinary explorations—including steel chain and bronze sculptures and acrylic mirror compositions—on view this month.

Snap + Share: Transmitting photographs from mail art to social networks

When: Mar. 30 through Aug. 4

Where: SFMOMA, 151 Third St. (SoMa),

Attention Instagrammers and selfie snappers: This show explores the ubiquity of pictures, and of sharing them, in a society where social media has become an environment for making art and affirming one's place in the world. SFMOMA will be the first institution to look at this phenomenon in a historical context.

"Space Between"

When: Mar. 29 through Apr. 6

Where: San Francisco Ballet, The War Memorial Opera House, 301 Van Ness Ave. (Civic Center),

SF Ballet's Program 6, "Space Between," is a two-hour journey featuring three distinct performances, including Rodeo: Four Dance Episodes, choreographed by recent Tony Award winner Justin Peck (Carousel), and the world premiere
of a new work from choreographer Liam Scarlett (Frankenstein). But we're holding onto our seats for the return of Björk Ballet, a sassy performance with animated choreography by Arthur Pita set to the music of the one-of-a-kind Icelandic singer-songwriter Björk. // Tickets are available online.

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