Home Land Security
A year after its wildly successful Ai Weiwei exhibit on Alcatraz, which flooded the former prison complex with artwork that raised global human-rights issues, the FOR-SITE Foundation brings another politically astute exhibit to a federal space on the edge of San Francisco Bay. “Home Land Security” will spread out amongst the former military buildings in the Presidio, but instead of a single artist, the foundation will showcase a multitude. Sixteen artists and collectives — including video artist Bill Viola, investigative specialist Trevor Paglen, Syrian painter Tammam Azzam, and Iranian multimedia artist Shahpour Pouyan — address the implications of government monitoring, war, forced migration, and other outgrowths of “home land security” that have a very human cost.
Sept. 10-Dec. 18 in the Presidio, S.F.
It’s 1970, and two older women are sleeping side by side on the sands of a Santa Monica beach. They’re not on towels. They aren’t in bathing suits. They’re wearing dresses and sweaters and are stretched out like drunks. Anthony Hernandez took that photo. He’s taken lots of memorable photos of public scenes from his base in Los Angeles, and SFMOMA is giving Hernandez the retrospective treatment — the first in a 45-year career that, of late, includes photography from the Mojave Desert. Whether it’s in the desert or crowded urban spaces, Hernadez likes, he told SFMOMA, to focus on “places that people are not looking at.”
Sept. 24-Jan. 1, SFMOMA, 151 Third St., S.F. 415-357-4000 or sfmoma.org
Comics in America
The history of American animation can be traced from Family Guy and The Boondocks to early 20th-century comic strips like Terry and the Pirates and Little Orphan Annie. The artistry that went into these early comics still holds up, which is why Stanford’s exhibit is a formidable window into the ways animated depictions have always captured the attention of children and adults alike. “Comics in America” goes back more than 100 years, to the original sources of this country’s funny bone. The exhibit fills a bit of the void left by the transition of San Francisco’s Cartoon Art Museum, which is still trying to find another home after losing its Mission Street digs in 2015.
Oct. 5-Jan. 30, Cantor Arts Center,
328 Lomita Drive at Museum Way
(Stanford University). 650-723-4177 or
All Power to the People: Black Panthers at 50
When they began in the mid-1960s, the Black Panthers flaunted weapons during protests at government buildings and also during their monitoring of police patrols. Stopping police brutality required unorthodox tactics, and the Panthers — led by Huey Newton and Bobby Seale — were anything but orthodox. Violence shadowed the group from its origins, but the Panthers were about much more than gun-toting, as detailed in this exhibit, which will display artifacts and documentation from party members, scholars, and other independent observers. “All Power to the People” promises to be as much a seminar as an art exhibit.
Oct. 8-Feb. 12 at the Oakland Museum of California, 1000 Oak St., Oakland.
415-318-8400 or museumca.org
The Brothers Le Nain: Painters of 17th-Century France
To first see the Le Nain Brothers’ panoramic religious paintings, you might think they were done by Peter Paul Rubens, George de La Tour, or another well-known French or Flemish painter. You’d be wrong. The Le Nain Brothers — Antoine, Louis, and Matheiu — were 17th-century painters commissioned by Paris’ Notre-Dame Cathedral and other Catholic institutions to draw scenes of Christ, Mary, and their attendants. Collected by the Louvre, the brothers’ output gets its own exhibit — the first major display of their work in the United States, which first traveled to the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas. It’s not just religious paintings but works depicting everyday life that give “The Brothers Le Nain: Painters of 17th-Century France” its broad appeal.
Oct. 8-Jan. 29 at the Legion of Honor, 100 34th Ave. (Lincoln Park), S.F. 415-750-3600 or legionofhonor.famsf.org
Frank Stella: A Retrospective
When SFMOMA reopened this year, Frank Stella was one of the many stalwart artists given a separate space — on a fourth-floor wall that features a collection of his trademark colored shapes. His work is also on the fifth floor, but for Stella fanatics, that’s still not enough. Now comes the de Young’s retrospective, which is billed as the first comprehensive U.S. exhibition of Stella’s work in almost 50 years. Hard to believe he hasn’t been so honored in all that time, but better late than never. Co-organized with the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, where it ended its run in February, the retrospective will feature more than 50 pieces by the 80-year-old New York icon.
Nov. 5-Feb. 26, de Young Museum,
50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive
(Golden Gate Park), S.F. 415-750-3600 or deyoung.famsf.org
Ian Kimmerly: As We Wander, We Are Closer
Once every several years, painter Ian Kimmerly exhibits his work at Dolby Chadwick Gallery, and this is that year — a chance to see the work of an artist who creates canvases that distill distinct elements of abstraction and figuration. This time, the digital world and media — social and otherwise — are a subtext of his work. Kimmerly’s work is purposefully (and beautifully) fragmented. As he told SF Weekly the last time he exhibited at Dolby Chadwick, “Big picture, I’m always very interested in the urban experience versus the natural world, and the conflicts there.”
Dec. 8-Jan. 28, Dolby Chadwick Gallery, 210 Post St., S.F. 415-956-3560 or dolbychadwickgallery.com