Find out how to experience culture in San Francisco this season.

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September 27, 2021
Diego Rivera's "Pan American Unity". Image courtesy of SFMOMA

Your San Francisco Summer Arts Guide

Summer has arrived in San Francisco and the city’s art scene is ready to make up for lost time. Feeling overwhelmed by the wealth of options? Fear not. We’ve rounded up the very best that the city has to offer, well into fall. In fact, some of the city’s best weather tends to roll in around September and October. The best really is yet to come!

Open Now

Nam June Paik at SFMoMA

SFMOMA describes Nam June Paik’s retrospective as “a mesmerizing riot of sights and sounds.” The exhibition features more than 200 works by the legendary experimental artist, melding performance, music, art, and technology. Tickets for Nam June Paik range from free to $25. On display through Oct. 3.

SFWednesdays

Downtown San Francisco will come alive this summer with free live events in public places. SFWednesdays promises music, dancing, and more in places like Union Square and Transbay Plaza.

WOMEN我們: From Her to Here at the Chinese Cultural Center

Now in its third iteration, this exhibition explores ideas of feminism and gender through film, photography, paintings, and more. The show brings together a group of gender-diverse artists from the Bay Area, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and beyond to embody the non-binary experience. This show is available online and in person, but reservations are recommended. 

Diego Rivera’s Pan American Unity at SFMOMA

Diego Rivera’s massive Pan American Unity fresco was recently transferred from City College of San Francisco to the free Roberts Family Gallery space on the museum’s first floor. Weighing in at over 60,000 pounds, this mammoth work of art is a stunning homage to our fair city.

San Francisco Symphony's 2021-2022 Season

Treat yourself—and your ears—to something special with the San Francisco Symphony’s current season. Enjoy the orchestral series with Esa-Pekka Salonen, who leads live and digital projects exploring the music of Igor Stravinsky, including semi-staged performances of "Oedipus Rex" and "Symphony of Psalms", directed by Peter Sellars. And do not miss "The Matrix," directed by the Wachowskis and featuring Don Davis conducting his own score.

teamLab: Continuity at the Asian Art Museum

This special exhibition at San Francisco's Asian Art Museum invites audiences to experience the immersive digital marvels of teamLab, an international art collective based in Tokyo whose exhibitions have achieved record-breaking global popularity. Immersed in teeming wonderlands, visitors to the exhibition are encouraged to roam freely through digitally projected environments of vibrant color and sound that dissolve into one another. Advance reservations are required.

Edith Heath: a Life in Clay at Oakland Museum of California

The Oakland Museum of California will celebrate quintessential California designer Edith Heath with an exhibition of her stoneware creations that changed dinnerware forever. Learn the history of Heath Ceramics and how they embraced California’s native clays and glazes. There is a $5 charge for this special exhibition in addition to regular Museum admission.

Judy Chicago: A Retrospective at de Young Museum

Catch nearly 150 pieces by feminist art icon Judy Chicago in this engaging retrospective at the de Young museum. The show celebrates the 40th anniversary of her legendary sculpture “The Dinner Party” and its debut in San Francisco, as well as the 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote.

Mode Brut at Museum of Craft and Design

The Museum of Craft and Design partnered with more than 50 Creativity Explored artists to reconceptualize fashion. The exhibition features four collections dreamt up by design teams working alongside local artists with developmental disabilities that utilize strange materials and recycled fabrics to reconsider everything we know about fashion. General admission tickets are $10. 

ArtSpan's SF Open Studios

View incredible art during SF Open Studios this fall from ArtSpan. The annual tradition offers visitors a close look at hundreds of artists’ work. Engage with the people who give San Francisco its unique creative culture and take home a special reminder of your time in our beloved city. Through Nov. 21.

New Time: Art and Feminisms in the 21st Century

This major survey at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive explores recent practices in contemporary art that are neither a style or a movement, but a value system, a way of life, and a revolutionary strategy. Don't miss this incredible opportunity to experience a kaleidoscopic view of feminist artistic practice and though, from local legends like Tammy Rae Carland and Michele Pred to Kiki Smith and Kara Walker. On display now through Jan. 30, 2022.

"Dear San Francisco" at Club Fugazi

Club Fugazi, one of San Francisco's oldest and most iconic theaters, is now home to an all-new resident production from the acclaimed circus group, The 7 Fingers. "Dear San Francisco: A High-Flying Love Story" is an intimate, immersive experience that celebrates everything people love about San Francisco. The story will be told told through original music, breathtaking choreography, and death-defying acrobatics. Preview performances are happening now, with the world premiere scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 12. To purchase tickets, visit www.clubfugazisf.com or call 415-273-0600.

Summer 2021

September

Paper Chase: Ten Years of Collecting Prints, Drawings, and Photographs at the Cantor

If you find yourself at Stanford, swing by the Cantor Arts Center for a free showing of Paper Chase. The exhibition features over 100 acquisitions to the center and takes a closer look at issues of nature, social justice, and identity. Opens Sept. 29.

Fall 2021

October

Outside Lands in Golden Gate Park

One of San Francisco’s biggest music festivals returns with Tame Impala, Lizzo, and The Strokes headlining stages in gorgeous Golden Gate Park. Normally in August, this year’s festival will be Halloween weekend, so expect a few tricks and a whole lot of treats. General admission and VIP tickets are sold out, but a few exclusive ticket packages are still available. Oct. 29-31.

SF Dance Film Festival

Now in their 11th year, Dance Film SF’s main goal is to bring the art of movement to new audiences via dance-based media. In addition to film screens, the San Francisco Dance Film Festival also presents panels, workshops, and various other programs. The festival will run Oct. 15-24. Full lineup to be announced.  

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