7th Floor Sculpture Terrace at SFMOMA; photo: Beth LaBerge; courtesy SFMOMA 

SFMOMA Presents Exceptional Array of Exhibitions This Spring

A thought-provoking range of exhibitions will debut at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) this spring, inspiring new ways to see and engage with the world.

The role of an architect in the age of climate change is examined in the exclusive exhibition Nature × Humanity: Oxman Architects, with works that upend the architectural legacy of a human-centered built environment and reprioritize nature. Shifting the Silence highlights dynamic juxtapositions of works from 32 women artists that explore visual culture and enhance our understanding of the art of our time.

Drawing from scientific research and technology, Speculative Portraits expands on ideas of portraiture, identity and human presence from the viewpoints of several contemporary artists. For the full reopening of SFMOMA’s Floor 7 outdoor terrace, SFMOMA presents the U.S. debut of Susan Philipsz’s Songs Sung in the First Person on Themes of Longing, Sympathy and Release, an inviting sound-based work from the collection that can awaken listeners’ sense of self and connect them to their environment.

Nature × Humanity: Oxman Architects 

February 19–May 15, 2022
Floor 4

 What is the role of an architect in the age of climate change? Since 2010, OXMAN studio founder, Neri Oxman, has asked whether the materials and construction of architecture are sustainable moving forward.

Bringing together knowledge, principles and tools from four disciplines — art, architecture and design, engineering and science — Nature × Humanity: Oxman Architects spans Oxman’s career from 2007 to the present. In this SFMOMA exhibition, 40 profound artworks and installations rethink how we build and design with a singular objective: to transition from valuing human material wealth that stakes claim to land and resources to a focus on environmental health that restores and advances natural balance to mutually benefit all. With nature as the primary client, the design practice upends the architectural legacy of a human-centered built environment and imagines a radically transformed future.

Shifting the Silence

April 9–September 5, 2022

Floor 7

Opening this spring, Shifting the Silence features works by 32 women artists who use the radical, experimental and powerful language of abstraction to explore the world we inhabit. Named after artist Etel Adnan’s 2020 book about history and existence, Shifting the Silence embraces experimentation, impermanence and subjectivity—bold yet poetic characteristics that mark the art of our time.

The exhibition highlights recently acquired works by Firelei Báez, Nairy Baghramian, Liz Hernández, Cinthia Marcelle, Tania Pérez Córdova, Lorna Simpson and Haegue Yang and harnesses their defiant, yet enlightened energy to explore visual culture, the motivations of its practitioners and its varied influences. This experiential exhibition of art produced over the past quarter century includes sculpture, photography, textile, video, painting and time-based installation.

Speculative Portraits

April 9–September 5, 2022

Floor 7

From analysis of DNA to emotional sentiments, the contemporary artists in Speculative Portraits draw from scientific research and technology to expand on ideas of portraiture, identity and human presence. Spanning digital animation to sculpture, the presentation brings together select loans and works from the SFMOMA media arts collection by Heather Dewey-Hagborg, Lynn Hershman Leeson, Rhonda Holberton, Mika Tajima and Gail Wight.

A key point of departure for the exhibition and a major acquisition, Lynn Hershman Leeson’s installation Room #8 (2006–18) is a culmination of the artist’s investigation into the biological nature of identity. Through a laboratory door window, a mirror box presents two vials, one featuring a custom LYNN HERSHMAN antibody and the other the artist’s works encoded in synthetic DNA. This exhibition also marks the 20th anniversary of SFMOMA’s launch of Hershman Leeson’s SFMOMA web project commission Agent Ruby (1998–2002, agentruby.sfmoma.org), which invites users to chat with a virtual AI character.

Susan Philipsz: Songs Sung in the First Person on Themes of Longing, Sympathy and Release

Opening April 9

Floor 7 Terrace

In conjunction with the full reopening of SFMOMA’s Floor 7 Terrace, a single speaker will feature the U.S. debut of Songs Sung in the First Person on Themes of Longing, Sympathy and Release by the Berlin-based, Scottish artist Susan Philipsz.

This 13-minute sound installation offers a contemplative listening experience for visitors while they enjoy panoramic views of Downtown San Francisco. In the piece, the artist is heard singing acapella versions of songs by Teenage Fanclub, Soft Cell, The Smiths and Gram Parsons, popular music used for their capacity to evoke emotional responses and collective memories.