Outside of the fairs this week in San Francisco, make sure you set aside time to see the must-see shows listed below at the city’s top museums, collections and galleries.
Mike Kelley: Pushing and pulling, pulling and pushing
500 Capp Street Foundation
In “Pushing and pulling, pulling and pushing,” visitors at the David Ireland House will find Mike Kelley’s contemporary work merging with the historic voice of the structure to create undeniable feedback that echoes throughout the walls of the house. Featuring pieces from the artist’s Educational Complex (1995) and Day is Done (2004—2005) series, the exhibition brings to life the environment of 500 Capp Street through the varied themes found in the Kelley’s work, including punk politics, repressed memory, social class, and religious rituals. At the center of the show, Mechanical Toy Guts takes over the floor of the upstairs Parlor Room, accompanied by works like Day Is Done, Extracurricular Activity Projective Reconstructions—a series of 31 carnivalesque videos based on high school yearbook photographs. Also featured in the exhibition are four of David Ireland’s most iconic works—Harp, Untitled (Capillary Action), Irish Headache, and Flag of Spain.
Ranu Mukherjee: A Bright Stage
The de Young Museum
Part of de Young Museum’s Contemporary Projects series, Ranu Mukherjee has transformed the museum’s atrium into a banyan tree grove with a site-specific project titled A Bright Stage. Known for multimedia work that includes painting, drawing, animation, and choreography, Mukherjee’s installation blurs the lines between the moving and the still image, invoking a metaphorical grove of banyans, which are known for killing out all other trees around them, eventually growing to such significant scale that their canopies can define social gathering spaces.
Claudia Wieser: Forum
Jessica Silverman Gallery
“Forum,” a solo exhibition of Claudia Wieser’s latest sculpture, drawings, wallpaper, and multifaceted mirrors, was inspired by the ancient Roman forum as a meeting place, site of public debate, and nascent location of democracy. Influenced by the history of art, design, and architecture, Wieser is often considered a devotee of formal experiment, as she creates in a diverse selection of materials like gold, ceramics, ink, photographs, wood, and acrylics.
Anat Ebgi Presents “The Conversation”
Minnesota Street Project
An initiation of a long-term connection between Los Angeles and San Francisco, “The Conversation” is Anat Ebgi’s way of laying the gallery’s own tracks for the ever-promised Hyperloop (a means of transportation that would bridge the 350 mile stretch between the two cities into a 35 minute commute), which never came to be. The group exhibition features the works of artists like Martin Basher, Amie Dicke, An Te Liu, Jason Bailer Losh, Sara Berman, Samantha Thomas, and Gideon Rubin.
John Gossage: Hey Fuckface
Conceived and produced in the 1980s, John Gossage’s “Hey Fuckface” is a visual narration of the concerning toxicity of several pre-Superfund sites in Staten Island and Syracuse, New York. During the production of the project, Gossage visited several points of hazardous contamination (as listed on the 103c of hazardous waste sites issued by the EPA), photographing each location as he found it. Now presented by Casemore Kirkeby, the first presentation of “Hey Fuckface” since 1990 has been edited by the artist to feature his personal favorites.
K.r.m. Mooney: Näcre
January 15—February 16
K.r.m Mooney’s debut solo show at Altman Siegel, “Näcre,” features a new body of work that interacts with the gallery’s physical location and the ambient and sediment information it holds. In the exhibition, Mooney’s sculptures are installed around the surfaces of the gallery, engaging with the site based on how the topography of Potrero Hill relaxes into salt water. The works include Channel in C. and Accretion I, which lies on the floor, reflecting the height of the gallery’s ceiling.
“A Cure for Everything”
January 5—March 2
Named for Isak Dinesen’s short story The Deluge at Nordemey, “A Cure for Everything” is centered around the idea that the sea is a place for healing and regeneration, as well as a place for leisure and the implications of class. Each employing experimental or alternative techniques, the artists in the exhibition—including Roy Lichtenstein, David Maisel, Johanna Billing, John Chiara, Linda Connor, Meghann Riepenhoff, Chris McCaw, Bin Danh, and Kota Ezawa—push the boundaries and possibilities of how their viewers picture the landscape. Included in the exhibition are works like Maisel’s Mining the Atacama, Danh’s silver plate daguerreotype Spiral Jetty, Utah, and Billing’s video work This is How we Walk on the Moon.
Joan Jonas: They Come to Us without a Word
Fort Mason Center
January 17—March 10
Originally commissioned for the U.S. Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2015, Joan Jonas’s major multi-media installation incorporates her blend of performance, drawing, sculpture, and video art, to address the fragility of the natural world through an immersive, multipart journey. Visitors at the Fort Mason Center will also have two opportunities to view live performances of the artist’s poetic tribute to the power of the ocean, Moving Off the Land.
Wardell Milan: Parisian Landscapes: Blue in Green
Wardell Milan’s first West Coast exhibition, “Parisian Landscapes: Blue in Green,” incorporates collage, drawing, painting, and photography as a means of introducing the artist’s figurative works. Often named for songs (like Miles Davis’s Kind of Blue) and featuring the color blue, Milan’s works depict fractured bodies in ambiguous spaces within scenes of freedom and desire, or conflict and violence. Other influences for the exhibition include the historical use of lapis lazuli and the 17th-century Dutch tulip craze, which can be seen in the artist’s obsession with the flower’s form and layered symbolism.
“The World of Charles and Ray Eames”
Oakland Museum of California
Celebrating two of the most influential designers of the 20th century, “The World of Charles and Ray Eames” makes its final stop at the Oakland Museum of California. Visitors will have the chance to look beyond the most well-known designs of the husband and wife design duo, getting a glimpse into their personal lives and the playful spirit behind their work. Containing four thematic sections, the exhibition encompasses over 380 works—including rare prototypes, photography, toys, personal letters, drawings, artworks, multimedia installations, products, and furniture. The installation also presents visitors with the opportunity to interact with the Eamse’s designs and creations, like a chance to sit in Herman Miller’s Magis Spun chairs while viewing the Eames film, Tops.
“Bay Area Now 8”
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
In the eighth iteration of Yerba Buena Center for the Arts’ (YBCA) signature triennial, “Bay Area Now 8” (BAN8), YBCA has presented an exhibition of works by 25 artists, designers, and architects local to the bay area. For the first time this year, the presentation includes the works of six architects and designers whose practices explore place, identity, climate change, and the future. Creators featured in the exhibition include Darell Fields, Cate White, Sadie Barnette, Sita Bhaumic, modern, Marcela Pardo Ariza, Urban Works Agency, and Nicki Green.
Vija Celmins: To Fix the Image in Memory
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
The artist’s first retrospective in a quarter of a century, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) has presented nearly 150 works spanning the life of Vija Celmins’s career from the 1960s to the present. Organized by subject, the show includes a variety of paintings, drawings in graphite and charcoal, and sculpture, arranged in loose chronological order. After beginning her career in Los Angeles, Celmins became one of the few female artists in the 1960s to be recognized by her male peers.
“Laws of Motion”
January 14—March 9
Named for Karl Marx’s application of scientific laws to systems of capital, “Laws of Motion” begins with key artworks from the 1980s, highlighting a time that was saturated in the language and aesthetics of advertising. Exploiting advertising techniques while also making clear their latent and subconscious tug, visitors will find works like Jeff Koons’s series The New and Cady Noland’s Trashed Mailbox. Other artists featured include Josh Kline, Rosemarie Trockel, Jeff Wall, and Anicka Yi.