Joan Brown, The Night Before the Alcatraz Swim, 1975; G.U.C. Collection; © Estate of Joan Brown; photo: Michael Tropea

SFMOMA to Feature Joan Brown in Upcoming Exhibit

Contemplating Alcatraz from her bedroom window, the avid swimmer prepares herself for a spiritual journey about to take place the next day.

Born in San Francisco in 1938, artist Joan Brown created colorful, expansive paintings and lively sculptures inspired by her life experiences in the city—where she lived and worked for much of her life—as well as her influential international travels.

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) has announced that the most in-depth examination of the artist’s work in over two decades will soon be on view.

“We are thrilled to present Joan Brown, a reassessment of the unabashedly personal, defiantly independent and enduringly relevant career of one of San Francisco’s most important local heroes,” said Janet Bishop, Thomas Weisel Family Chief Curator and Curator of Painting and Sculpture at SFMOMA.

The exhibit at SFMOMA from November 19, 2022 through March 12, 2023 brings together approximately 80 works in a variety of media, Joan Brown charts the breadth and depth of the artist’s career, once dismissed by critics as unserious but rooted in impassioned curiosity and research.

Deeply embedded in the Bay Area art scene, Brown drew inspiration from many sources to create a charmingly offbeat body of work that embraces autobiography, fantasy and whimsy as well as weightier metaphysical themes.