2016 Bay Area Art Scene Highlights: Present and Upcoming

January 24, 2016

2016 has thus far and will continue to be a hugely successful year for art in the Bay Area. Museums that have been closed for remodeling are finally reopening; galleries are putting on some of their best shows yet complete with stellar programming to guide us through the spring, summer and fall; and a new art building, Minnesota Street Projects, has been designed with the intention of housing veteran and emergent galleries as well as artist studios and is slated to open this March. There are tons of current and upcoming art happenings to be excited about in the San Francisco Bay Area and we would like to share a few of them with you. You will not want to miss out!

Minnesota Street Projects


SFMOMA has been closed for over two and a half years and is now finally reopening to the public this May. The freshly renovated 460,000-square-foot space, designed by the Norwegian and New York based design firm Snøhetta, has an exterior that is sure to be just as beautiful as the art housed inside the building. An upcoming exhibition to get particularly excited about is “Bruce Conner: It’s All True,” opening October 29, 2016  through January 22, 2017. 

The new SFMOMA

The Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, which has also been closed for remodeling, reopens January 31 to the public. Check the website for their 2016 programming. Martin Wong’s exhibition does not open at the museum until fall 2017 but is already garnering press due to his recent success at the Bronx Museum in late 2015.

Martin Wong In the Studio, 1992 Wong’s show at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive will open in the fall of 2017.

There are several upcoming exhibitions at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco that we are eager to view. At The Legion of Honor, famous French modernist painter Pierre Bonnard will have an exhibition opening February 6 that will run until May 12. Additionally, an Ed Ruscha retrospective opens at the de Young Museum this summer, from July 16 through October 9th. Immediately following this show will be a Frank Stella exhibition with works traveling from the Whitney. 

Pierre Bonnard Woman with Cat, 1912 Bonnard’s show opens at The Legion of Honor museum February 6.

In celebration of The Asian Art Museum‘s 50th anniversary, “Emperors Treasures: Chinese Art from the National Palace Museum, Taipei” will open this summer – June 17 through September 18. Currently on view is a beautiful and fascinating exhibition about how Japan inspired artists like Monet, Van Gogh, and many other world-famous Western artists. 

Ed Ruscha A Particular Kind of Heaven, 1983 Ruscha’s retrospective opens at the de Young Museum this July.

Far in the future but worth noting is Yerba Buena Center for the Arts‘ Tom Sachs exhibition, entitled “Mission to Europa: Tea Ceremony,” which will open in September.

Edvard Munch Summer Night’s Dream, 1893 “Looking East: How Japan Inspired Monet, Van Gogh, and other Western Artists” will be up through February 7.

Oakland Museum (OMCA), which focuses on art about California often made by California-based artists, has an exciting Dorothea Lange exhibition entitled “The Politics of Seeing” which will also be opening in the fall and will serve as a 100 work survey of her career.

Tom Sachs Landing Excursion Model Sachs’ exhibition opens at YBCA in September.

Evergold [Projects] just opened “Satan Ceramics,” a recurring collaborative project of ceramic making by Tom Sachs, JJ Peet, Mary Frey, and Pat McCarthy. The exhibition will be up through late March. 
Jessica Silverman Gallery currently has a group show on view with all works having traveled from kurimanzutto in Mexico City. There are works available to view by 16 of the famed kurimanzutto artists. The show will be up through early March. Opening in April at the gallery is a selection of works by famed installation artist and filmmaker Isaac Julien. This exhibition will be up at the gallery through June.
Ratio 3‘s Noam Rappaport exhibition, which opened earlier this month, features a new body of the artist’s work and is up through February 27. Not to be missed.
Fraenkel Gallery‘s owner Jeffrey Fraenkel and his longtime work partner Frish Brandt have opened a second space on Market next to Zuni Cafe called FraenkelLAB. Unlike how historic Fraenkel Gallery focuses solely on photography, FraenkelLAB will show works of all mediums. The inaugural exhibition, which opens on April 14, will be a group show curated by John Waters featuring works by Martin Creed, Moyra Davey, Vincent Fecteau, Paul Gabrielli, gelitin, Paul Lee, Tony Matelli, Doug Padgett, Karin Sander, Gedi Sibony, Lily van der Stokker, and George Stoll. Fraenkel Gallery will also open a show of works by Christian Marclay this April. Bay Area residents will fondly remember Marclay’s The Clock that was on view at SFMOMA right before its closing in 2013. 

Jessica Silverman Gallery Installation view, kurimanzutto travels to Jessica Silverman Gallery currently on view through late February.


Dorothea Lange Migratory Cotton Picker, Eloy, Arizona, 1940 Lange’s work from the permanent collection at Oakland Museum. Lange will have a solo show of 100 works opening at OMCA in November.


Mary Frey Trophy Wife (detail), 2015 on view at Evergold Projects through late March.


Noam Rappaport Untitled, 2015 currently on view at Ratio 3.


FraenkelLAB FraenkelLAB’s inaugural exhibition is this April.


Christian Marclay The Clock, 2010 installation view from Marclay’s 2013 exhibition at SFMOMA. Marclay has a solo show opening at Fraenkel Gallery this April.