The installation “Alexandre Singh: A Gothic Tale” is on view at the Legion of Honor, which reopens Oct. 30 with safety protocols in place. (Courtesy Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco)

The installation “Alexandre Singh: A Gothic Tale” is on view at the Legion of Honor, which reopens Oct. 30 with safety protocols in place. (Courtesy Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco)

Legion of Honor reopens in time for Halloween

‘A Gothic Tale’ among exhibitions on view

While some European institutions including the Louvre Museum are being shut again by the pandemic, in San Francisco, re-openings are the order of the day. The latest among them is the Legion of Honor of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

The historic Richmond District building, a replica of Palais de la Légion d’Honneur in Paris, was shuttered in March under The City’s temporary closure and shelter-in-place order.

The Legion of Honor will open to the public on Friday, just in time for the Halloween weekend, even featuring Alexandre Singh’s “A Gothic Tale,” a topical show.

The installation includes Singh’s short film “The Appointment,” a mystery inspired by 19th century European literature that pays homage to San Francisco’s place in in film noir history.

The 20-minute locally produced film, shown continuously in Gallery 1, is deliberately confusing and thrilling. It’s a saga of good and evil, transfer of identity into other bodies, and dealing with the unknown and frightening — with parallels obvious in 2020.

Conceptualized with art historian Natalie Musteata, the exhibition, with its dizzying floor design, focuses on the “fantastical and supernatural qualities of the Gothic tradition,” and includes complementary prints, sculptures and paintings drawn from the Fine Arts Museums’ collection and installed on mirrored walls.

At the newly reopened site, health and safety measures include reduction of visitor numbers to below 25 percent of capacity, admission by timed ticket to ensure social distancing and masks required for staff and adult visitors.

As a possible benefit from the reduced attendance, the traditionally difficult parking around the museum may ease up for a while.

The Legion of Honor invites visitors wearing masks back to the museum. (Courtesy Gary Sexton/Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco)

The Legion of Honor invites visitors wearing masks back to the museum. (Courtesy Gary Sexton/Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco)

All of the museum’s famed collections are on view again, including European Paintings, European Decorative Arts, European Sculpture and Ancient Art.

In the Works on Paper department, Friday also marks the opening of “The Book of Now: Dieter Roth and Ed Ruscha,” about two artists in the 1960s working in different styles, both revolutionizing the way to work in the medium of books.

Coming from Italy, the exhibition “Last Supper in Pompeii: From the Table to the Grave,” depicting life in BCE 79 as the ash from Mount Vesuvius began to rain down on Pompeii, has been postponed due to pandemic-era uncertainties. The opening date has not been announced.

Slated to open in February 2021 is Kenyan-American artist Wangechi Mutu’s “I Am Speaking, Are You Listening?” a site-specific exhibition of new sculpture, collage and film. Three years in the making, the show, curators say, “invites visitors into an alternate universe of powerful female characters, hybrid beings and fantastical landscapes, challenging traditional art histories, mythologies and conventional techniques of archiving and remembering.”

The Legion’s sister organization, the de Young museum, reopened in September. “The deYoung Open Exhibition,” “Frida Kahlo: Appearances Can Be Deceiving” and “Uncanny Valley: Being Human in the Age of AI” are on view.


Legion of Honor

Where: 100 34th Ave., S.F.

When: 9:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. Tuesdays–Sundays

Tickets: $15 general; discounts for students and seniors, free on first Saturday each month

Contact: (415) 750-3600,

Note: Tickets must be reserved for a particular time in advance; visit

museumVisual Arts

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at

Just Posted

Nicole Canedo looks at her City-issued Medical Reimbursement Account page on her computer outside her Berkeley apartment on Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020. Canedo has worked numerous retail jobs in The City and the MRA has helped her with health costs. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Millions left sitting in medical reimbursement accounts by city workers

Health officials looking at how to improve access, outreach as untapped funds reach $409M

Dr. Grant Colfax, director of the San Francisco Department of Public Health. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SF moves into purple tier, triggering curfew and business shutdowns

San Francisco moved into the state’s purple COVID-19 tier Saturday, requiring The… Continue reading

Indecline, an art activist collective in San Francisco, transformed a billboard into an editorial with a message blasting immigration policies of Donald Trump’s administration. (Screenshot, Indecline website)
Has immigration fallen off the administration’s radar? Not a chance

Enforced as executive orders, Trump’s hardline policies are proceeding, against will of the people

University of San Francisco head coach Todd Golden coaches his team on defense during a 2019 gameat War Memorial Gymnasium on the campus of the University of San Francisco. (Ryan Gorcey / S.F. Examiner)
Stunner in Bubbleville: USF upsets fourth-ranked Virginia

Less than 48 hours removed from a loss to a feeble UMass… Continue reading

A dinner at three Michelin Stars restaurant The French Laundry in Yountville, Napa Valley has highlighted Gov. Gavin Newsom’s relationship with a well-known lobbyist. (Leonard Zhukovsky/Shutterstock)
The lobbyist who led Gavin Newsom to the French Laundry has a history of controversy

Lara Korte and Sophia Bollag The Sacramento Bee When photos circulated earlier… Continue reading

Most Read