Isaac Julien, Ten Thousand Waves, 2010

SFMOMA Acquires Popular Art

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) announced that it has recently acquired works by more than 65 artists.

The acquisitions include the major nine-channel video installation Ten Thousand Waves (2010), which addresses the story of 23 Chinese cockle pickers from Fujian Province who drowned off the coast of northwest England.

“With the work, Julien challenges the ‘colonial gaze’ and offers a non-Western perspective of storytelling through a kaleidoscopic cinematic experience,” state SFMOMA media relations professionals.

In doing so, he furthers his ongoing interest in examining notions of a “better life” within the context of migration and global displacement. The large-scale photograph Freedom / Diasporic Dream-Space No. 1 (2022), also added to the collection, is inspired by the artist’s latest film, Once Again . . . (Statues Never Die) (2022), about the relationship between Alain Locke, a leading Harlem Renaissance figure, and Albert E. Barnes, a pioneering art collector and philanthropist.

Among the many highlights is Yayoi Kusama’s Dreaming of Earth’s Sphericity, I Would Offer My Love (2023), the newest of the celebrated artist’s beloved Infinity Mirror Rooms. The work first premiered at David Zwirner in New York in spring 2023 to overwhelming audience enthusiasm and was recently featured in SFMOMA’s popular special exhibition Yayoi Kusama: Infinite Love, which drew over 170,000 visitors to the museum.

With the acquisition, this Infinity Mirror Room will remain on long-term view at SFMOMA from June 22, 2024 to January 2025, where visitors will now have the opportunity to experience it as part of general admission to the museum.

Among the other works acquired by SFMOMA that feature in recent or upcoming exhibitions are Amy Sherald’s For Love, and for Country (2022) and rafa esparza’s Corpo RanfLA: Terra Cruiser (2022). Sherald’s large-scale painting reinterprets the photograph V-J Day in Times Square (1945) by Alfred Eisenstaedt.

The work will hold a prominent place in the artist’s first mid-career survey, Amy Sherald: American Sublime, premiering at SFMOMA in November 2024. Esparza’s multimedia sculpture Corpo RanfLA: Terra Cruiser (2022) was featured in the acclaimed SFMOMA exhibition Sitting on Chrome (on view from August 2023 to February 2024).

To create the work, esparza transformed a 25-cent mechanical pony ride to resemble a lowrider bike. The artist further activated the work with a performance at the museum last fall. Other recently acquired works include objects by Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni, Jacob Jensen, Carlos H. Matos, Verner Panton and teenage engineering on view in the SFMOMA exhibition Art of Noise through August 18, 2024.