As we enter a new month, many museum exhibitions in San Francisco are getting refreshed and replaced. We’re keeping tabs on the best new temporary exhibitions from SFMOMA to the Asian Art Museum, so you’ll never miss an amazing new display.
Off the top, here are some dates to keep in mind:
- Takashi Murakami: Unfamiliar People — Swelling of Monsterized Human Ego just opened at the Asian Art Museum
- JoeSam.: Text Messagesopens Sept. 27 at the Museum of the African Diaspora
- The de Young Open 2023 opens Sept. 30, 2023 at the de Young Museum
- Designing Peace opens Oct. 7, 2023 at the Museum of Craft and Design
- Yayoi Kusama: Infinite Love opens Oct. 14, 2023 at SFMOMA
- Kehinde Wiley: An Archeology of Silence closes Oct. 15, 2023 at the de Young Museum
- The Great Animal Orchestra closes Oct. 15, 2023 at the Exploratorium
- Mika Rottenberg: Spaghetti Blockchain closes Oct. 22 at the Contemporary Jewish Museum
Some other exciting exhibitions are already turning heads even though they won’t be open for a while longer. We have our eye on this showcase of Boticelli drawings coming to the Legion of Honor in November, and a fabulous San Francisco fashion exhibition opening at the de Young in January 2024.
Read on to start planning your next museum visit, and be sure to see our list of free museum days in SF to get the most bang for your buck.
Opens Sept. 30 at the de Young Museum
The de Young’s popular community art exhibition features gorgeous artworks by local artists from all 9 Bay Area counties. See hundreds of works hung edge-to-edge, floor-to-ceiling in the museum’s storied galleries for a truly Bay Area exhibition celebrating the best of our local art community.
Through Feb. 12, 2024 at the Asian Art Museum
Legendary Japanese artist Takashi Murakami presents a wonderfully weird exhibition at SF’s Asian Art Museum starting September 15, 2023. Takashi Murakami: Unfamiliar People — Swelling of Monsterized Human Ego is a collection of over 75 of the artist’s famous and lovable monster artworks, including a dozen which have never been exhibited. In conjunction with the exhibition, the museum will host some epic cosplay activities and monster parties that you definitely don’t want to miss.
Opens Oct. 7 at the Museum of Craft and Design
Explore a collection of 30 design projects from 20 around the world that strive to promote peaceful interactions in the realms of hunger, poverty, education, health, immigration, climate change, and more. The exhibition showcases a mix of design artifacts including models, maps, full-size installations, and film.
Opens Oct. 14 at SFMOMA
San Franciscans will soon have an opportunity to step into Yayoi Kusama’s famous immersive mirror rooms at SFMOMA. This is Kusama’s first solo museum presentation in Northern California, and will be a surcharged exhibition with staggered ticket releases as the exhibition has already sold out for its first month. There will be at least 3 immersive rooms for visitors to explore including her classic Infinity Mirror Room, which features a collection of suspended, luminous dots and spheres; Dreaming of Earth’s Sphericity, I would Offer My Love, a sculptural white cube filled with transparent acrylic dots; and LOVE IS CALLING, a darkened room with inflatable luminous forms that gradually shift colors.
Through Oct. 15, 2023 at the de Young Museum
The de Young Museum is proudly displaying a fantastic collection of works by Obama’s portrait artist Kehinde Wiley, and many of the sculptures in this collection are some of the largest that the de Young has ever installed in their galleries. The exhibition consists of 25 pieces that range from billboard-sized paintings to smaller, more intimate sculptures. These works are meant to “underscore the fraught terms in which Black people are rendered visible, especially when at the hands of systemic violence.”
Through Oct 15, 2023 at the Exploratorium
See the animal kingdom rendered in an immersive audiovisual art experience using real-time streaming spectograms in the exhibition’s West Coast debut. Don’t miss the accompanying screening of Bernie Krause: A Life With The Great Animal Orchestra.
Opens Sept. 27, 2023 at the Museum of the African Diaspora
MoAD will display a collection of 20 mixed-media paintings from artist JoeSam.’s career between 1985-2020, most of which was spent in San Francisco. JoeSam. is known for creating colorful compositions using found materials, archival images, and news clippings.
Through Oct. 22, 2023 at the Contemporary Jewish Museum
Explore a large-scale exhibition of Rottenberg’s playful and absurdist artwork about contemporary societal issues. Artworks include colorful video installations, kinetic sculptures, and installations that critique mass production and consumption.
Through Dec. 3, 2023 at the de Young Museum
This solo exhibition by Lhola Amira features the site-specific spiritual portal Philisa: Zinza Mphefumlo Wami (2022), which guests may enter to cleanse wounds, honor ancestors, and foster connections. The accompanying film IRMANDADE: The Shape of Water in Pindorama documents Amira’s journey through Bahia, Brazil.
Through Jan. 2, 2024 at SFMOMA
The Visitors features nine large video screens projecting Kjartansson and eight of his friends as they present an intimate musical composition. The result is an hour-long piece in a single take, presented from nine different musical perspectives that are both highly individualized and inextricably linked.
Through Jan 14, 2024 at the Walt Disney Family Museum
A traveling exhibition that shows the evolution of Disney’s animal-inspired storytelling in conjunction with The Walt Disney Company’s 100th anniversary. Discover over 300 archival concept sketches and paintings from classics including The Aristocats, Lady and the Tramp, One Hundred and One Dalmatians, and Cinderella.
Through Jan. 21, 2024 at the California Academy of Sciences
This major exhibition is dedicated to the biology of long-necked and long-tailed sauropods, the biggest dinosaurs ever to walk the earth. Guests will learn about how sauropods actually lived and functioned on Earth for about 140 million years with exhibits that go beyond the bones; that is, with special attention to metabolic functions including heart rate, respiration and reproduction.
Aug 31 – Jan 28, 2024 at the Contemporary Jewish Museum
A collection of photographs from 1978-2008 by local photographer Jay Blakesberg, who documents San Francisco music events and concerts. Discover how legendary musicians including the Grateful Dead, Joni Mitchell, Tracy Chapman, Neil Young, Soundgarden, Carlos Santana, and more evolved local music culture.
Through February 2024 at SFMOMA
This collaborative exhibition about the visual language of lowriders is accompanied by performances from rafa esparza. Discover a collection of eye-catching lowrider cars with customized interiors and exteriors, and learn about how the vehicles transform public spaces with their designs.
Ongoing at SFMOMA
This is an ongoing series of episodes of rotating artworks that propose answers to questions about life and art. The first episode features Yoko Ono’s MEND PIECE in which visitors may sit together to mend broken ceramics together in what Ono describes as “mending the earth.” The second episode of What Matters will be installed in 2024.