Avoid the crowds at the malls and spend your weekend enjoying San Francisco’s artistic bounty. Planning a Thanksgiving weekend visit to visit our museums? On Friday they are all yours, so bring the family this weekend! The Bay Area museums are full of splendid exhibits, something for every taste.
“Jewel City: Art from San Francisco’s Panama-Pacific International Exposition” which just opened at the de Young Museum recreates a portion of the art exhibition at the Panama-Pacific Exposition held in San Francisco in 1915. San Francisco’s Francisco’s Panama-Pacific International Exposition (PPIE) of 1915 represented one of the largest art exhibitions ever shown within the context of a world’s fair, arguably the most successful and the last of its kind.
James Ganz, curator of both “Jewel City” and the Auchenbach Foundation for the Graphic Arts at the Legion of Honor and his team at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco pulled together about 200 works from museums and private collections — paintings, prints, sculptures, murals and photographs — that reflect the range of American and European art shown circa 1915.
If photography is your thing, check out the exquisite photographs of Willard Worden. Willard Worden, like Carleton Watkins, was one of the Bay Area’s forgotten photographers. But that will change with the current exhibit at the de Young Museum, “Portals of the Past.” His images are part of the larger exhibit, “Jewel City: Art From San Francisco’s Panama-Pacific International Exposition”, which features 250 works from American and European artists from the 1915 World’s Fair.
The de Young Museum is also presenting “Royal Hawaiian Featherwork: Nā Hulu Ali‘i,“ an exhibition featuring more than 75 examples of feather work including long cloaks and short capes (‘ahu ‘ula), royal staffs of feathers (kāhili), feathered lei (lei hulu manu) and helmets (mahiole), alongside related 18th- and 19th-century paintings and works on paper.
The de Young Museum is open today. Regular hours Tuesdays–Sundays 9:30 a.m.–5:15 p.m.
If Roman silver, exquisite watches and masterful watercolors are to your taste, check out the shows at the Legion of Honor. Sometimes what glitters is gold – and in the case of the Berthouville treasure, silver and cameos as well. The opulent cache is presented in its entirety for the first time in the Bay Area at the Legion of Honor. The exhibit displays precious gems, jewelry, and other Roman luxury objects from the royal collections of the Cabinet des Médailles at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France.
“Luminous Worlds: British Works on Paper, 1760-1900,” also at the Legion of Honor is more than an addendum to the de Young’s major exhibition, “J.M.W. Turner: Painting Set Free.” By culling relevant works from the holdings of the Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts and private S.F. collections, the show shines a spotlight on the drawings, watercolors and oil sketches of Turner and his contemporaries such as William Blake, John Constable and Thomas Gainsborough.
The Legion of Honor open today. Regular hours Tuesdays–Sundays 9:30 a.m.–.5:15 p.m.
The Contemporary Jewish Museum has two thoughtful exhibits on view: “NEAT: New Experiments in Art and Technology,” inspired by the 1960s program Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T.). It was a turning point in art’s relationship with science as artists and scientists worked together on new, creative projects. The CJM’s Chief Curator Renny Pritikin with consultation from Paolo Salvagione, curate NEAT: New Experiments in Art and Technology, acknowledging that seminal event and celebrating the Bay Area’s leading role in bringing digital innovation into the fine arts.
The exhibition “Chasing Justice” is inspired by the biblical exhortation of Deuteronomy (16:20) to “pursue justice.” Featuring the work of Arnold Mesches, Johanna Barron, and Robbin Henderson, three artists of Jewish heritage who have, through activism, research, and engagement with the government, produced bodies of work that explore different approaches to this Jewish commitment. From surveillance to arrest, the three artists shine a light on controversial government practices that often remain hidden, unseen, or forgotten.
The stand out part of the exhibit is the powerful and touching black and white graphic pieces by Berkeley-based Robbin Henderson. Fifty-five artworks are based on the story of her grandmother, Matilda Robbins, a Russian immigrant, Wobbly, and feminist (2013–15). She became an itinerant labor activist throughout the Northeast in the years before WWII. Through the creation of a sort of “graphic memoir” representing her grandmother’s story, “Matilda Robbins: Immigrant, Wobbly, Feminist” provides a contemporary interpretation of what pursuing justice in the early twentieth century looked like.
The Asian Art Museum is also open with one of the most mesmerizing shows in the city, “Looking East. How Japanese Art inspired Western Artists” In 1853, Commander Perry forced Japan to end two centuries of self-imposed isolation and sign treaties opening its ports to trade with the Western powers. As Japanese prints, albums, and objects began to arrive in Europe and North America in unprecedented quantities, a craze for all things Japanese set in among collectors, artists, and designers. this in-depth and richly rewarding traveling show is a loan from the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, which drew on its incredible collection of both Asian and Western art. The exhibition traces the West’s growing fascination with Japan, the collecting of Japanese objects, and the exploration of Japanese subject matter and styles.
The Asian Art Museum: Open today. Regular hours Tuesday through Sunday 10 a.m.. – 5 p.m.