Museum exhibits to see around the Bay Area in the coming months


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With the whirl of the spring semester imminent on the horizon, it’s never too soon to start thinking of ways to decompress and get away from the hustle and bustle of campus. As an antidote to the papers, exams and projects, consider checking out one of the Bay Area’s many museums, which feature a wide range of exhibits opening this semester. Also, there’s nothing more satisfying for a chilly winter afternoon than checking out a new museum. Here’s some of the top picks for upcoming exhibits around the Bay this semester.

Let’s start local: BAMPFA is located on the edge of campus, and with free admission for students with ID, it’s a great option to take in some art. The museum has a number of intriguing art exhibits on display now, spanning both medium and subject matter.

Arthur Jafa’s “The White Album” (showing until March 24) is currently on exhibit in the Matrix 272 room and is an exploration of the white experience. The work is a 40-minute video consisting of clips from a number of sources in an examination of race relations in the United States. Also on view at the museum in Matrix 273, is an exhibition of the work of Masako Miki (showing through April 28). This exhibit is an immersive sculptural installation, with a variety of felt-covered forms representing yokai, or shape-shifters.

BAMPFA has a number of other exhibits already open that will be showing during the semester, including “Harvey
Quaytman: Against the Static” (showing until Jan. 27, so check it out soon!); “Dimensionism: Modern Art in the Age of Einstein” (showing until March 3); “Get Dancin’: Selections from the Collection” (showing until March 31); “Ink, Paper, Silk: One Hundred Years of Collecting Japanese Art” (showing until April 14) and “Boundless: Contemporary Tibetan Artists at Home and Abroad” (showing until May 26).

In upcoming exhibitions, “Hans Hofmann: The Nature of Abstraction” will open on Feb. 27, featuring the artist’s work of colorful, abstract paintings and works on paper that bridged different styles of avant-garde. This exhibit will run until July 21, so there’s plenty of time to check it out. While you’re at the museum, be sure to see the current piece installed on BAMPFA’s art wall — Barbara Stauffacher Soloman’s “Land(e)scape, 2018” is on display until March 3.

The Oakland Museum of California is a multi-faceted institution, featuring exhibits that bridge history, art and science — it’s also just a few BART stops away from campus near the Lake Merritt station. The museum currently has three exhibits on display: “Cruisin’ the Fossil Coastline” (open until March 17), which reimagines what California looked like eons in the past; “The World of Charles and Ray Eames” (open until Feb. 18), highlighting the work of the prolific husband and wife design duo and “Take Root: Oakland Grows Food” (open through November), a hands-on exhibit on local food systems.

Upcoming at the museum is the exhibit “Mildred Howard’s TAP: Investigation of Memory” (Feb. 2 through Sept. 1), a multimedia installation exploring a number of themes, including Howard’s activist lineage, church culture and relationship to tap dance. “Queer California: Untold Stories” (April 13 through Aug. 11) will open this spring, exploring both the milestones and untold narratives of LGBTQ+ history and culture in California through archives, photographs and other artifacts. “Pushing West: The Photography of Andrew J. Russell” (May 4 through Sept. 1) will be opening at the end of this semester, featuring work from the early photographer who captured the Transcontinental Railroad’s western expansion.

The SFMOMA is another Bay Area bastion of art, and has a number of exhibits opening in the coming months in addition to its permanent collections and other exhibitions. “New Work: Rodney McMillian” (Feb. 9 through June 9) will be showing the Los Angeles-based artist’s work exploring class, race and gender in McMillian’s first solo West Coast exhibit. Opening Feb. 16 is “Elemental Calder” which will explore American sculptor
Alexander Calder’s iconic mobiles and on March 30 the museum will be opening “snap+share,” looking at various forms of media to trace the role of social networks on images and vice versa. From Feb. 23 to April 28, SFMOMA will also be exhibiting the work of Barbara Stauffacher Solomon in a nice BAMPFA/SFMOMA crossover moment.

With the wide range of museum options around the Bay, there’s plenty of opportunities to make a weekend getaway to check out an exhibit or two.

Camryn Bell is the special issues editor. at [email protected] .