It can’t compare with the live experience of a museum or gallery, of course. But with many such venues shuttered by the pandemic, a home computer can be a welcome way to look at visual art. What follows is a roundup featuring sites to view exhibitions that were slated to be seen at museums but canceled because of the lockdown. Some additionally feature past museum exhibits and impressive permanent collections. Visitors also can live-stream events, including artist discussions and performances. Some require pre-registration and a fee. Zoom events require a Zoom account.
Also detailed below are a few gallery exhibitions that the public can visit, safely, in person. Most require an appointment.
Asian Art Museum: Thousands of art objects from the museum’s collection can be viewed online, along with selections from recent exhibitions. Virtual events include a discussion titled “From Artistry to Activism: Amplifying Black and Asian Voices of Resistance” (5 p.m. Sept. 10); an interdisciplinary Writers Lab reading with 15 local writers (1 p.m. Sept. 12); and a cooking demonstration starring chef Reem Assil and her Palestinian knafeh (phyllo dessert) recipe (6:30 p.m. Sept. 17). asianart.org
Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive: Virtual tours, slide shows, films and recordings of special events include a dance performance of “Storm in Isolation” by inkBoat and a discussion titled ”House and Home: The Transgender Experience” (4 p.m. Sept. 12). Exhibitions include “Kader Attia: Matrix 274” (Oct 18-Nov. 17), which addresses the trauma of war. bampfa.org
Cantor Arts Center: A self-guided interactive virtual tour offers a “360-degree rendering of ‘The Medium Is The Message: Art Since 1950,’ an exhibition that explores artists’ non-traditional use of materials for critical and expressive inquiry” including works by Ruth Asawa, Titus Kaphar, Gwendolyn Knight, Alice Neel, Miriam Schapiro, Roger Shimomura and Zhou Tiehai, among others.Curator-led videos — “Recasting Rodin,” “Artists & Anatomists,” “Photography & Text” and “Looking at Each Other: American Portraiture” are also online. museum.stanford.edu
Contemporary Jewish Museum: “Levi Strauss: A History of American Style,” viewable online, covers the life and contributions, to San Francisco, fashion, culture and counterculture, of Levi Strauss, the Bavarian immigrant whose S.F.-based company in the 1870s brought the blue jean into being. Also online: “Predicting the Past: Zohar Studios, The Lost Years,” a photography exhibit in which artist Stephen Berkman salutes 19th-century photographer Shimmel Zohar. Zoom talks related to the show are scheduled. thecjm.org
De Young Museum: Collections, which feature American art; art from Africa, Oceania, and the Americas, and textiles; can be seen online. Special exhibits include “Uncanny Valley: Being Human in the Age of AI,” a group show that examines humans’ relationship with machines that imitate human thinking; and “Frida Kahlo: Appearances Can Be Deceiving,” a collection of personal items from Kahlo’s Mexico City home that collectively consider how gender, disability and ethnicity shaped Kahlo’s art. famsf.org
GLBT Historical Society: Images from the exhibit “Reigning Queens: The Lost Photos of Roz Joseph,” who is known for photos she took of San Francisco’s drag queens and balls in the 1970s, come online Sept. 21. “Performance, Protest & Politics: The Art of Gilbert Baker” and “50 Years of Pride” also are on view. Events include “Mighty Real: A Celebration of Sylvester” with clips and remembrances of the disco diva (6 p.m. Sept. 16) and “Reunion: Making History,” a gala fundraiser hosted by Peaches Christ and Marga Gomez (4 p.m. Oct. 16). glbthistory.org
Legion of Honor: Collections, viewable online, feature fine art and decorative art from Europe and ancient art from the Mediterranean basin as well as works on paper. Also online is “Alexandre Singh: A Gothic Tale,” a recent film and installation project inspired by gothic literature and San Francisco-set film noir. amsf.org
Museum of the African Diaspora: MoAD focuses on art and culture of Africa and of people of African descent worldwide, and is one of the few museums in the world that do so. Virtual activities — artist talks, panel discussions, film screenings, book clubs — reflect the mission. They include a Zoom conversation with playwright-performer Anna Deavere Smith hosted by writer Sarah Ladipo Manyika at noon Sept. 11. moadsf.org
Oakland Museum of California: “Dorothea Lange: Photography as Activism” explores the social activism reflected in the work of Lange, known for her images of the Great Depression. Also online are “Black Power,” an exhibit that looks at Black history, the Black Power movement, and Oakland’s place in it; and “Edith Heath: A Life in Clay,” which celebrates Heath’s creatively designed, physically sturdy ceramic dinnerware. museumca.org
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art: Exhibitions, including the noteworthy Dawoud Bey retrospective of photographs documenting underrepresented communities and African-American life and history, are on view online, as are pieces from extensive collections of modern and contemporary art, which include pop art, minimal art, figurative art, American abstraction and German art. Videos feature artist talks and art-making activities. sfmoma.org
Dolby Chadwick Gallery: “Scrambling for Grace” features new paintings by Russia-born, Pennsylvania-based Alex Kanevsky, whose works combine representation and abstraction and trigger sensory and non-rational responses in the viewer. Kanevsky’s imagery suggests motion and the continuous advancement of time. Subjects include petits dejeuners and reclining nudes. [Oct. 1-31, 210 Post St., No 205, S.F.; dolbychadwickgallery.com, (415) 956-3560; email firstname.lastname@example.org for appointment]
Gagosian: “Transcending the Definition: Jay DeFeo in the 1970s” contains more than 20 works by DeFeo, the Beat-era multidisciplinary artist known for her enormous painting-sculpture hybrid “The Rose” (1958-66). The exhibit features paintings, photographs and drawings created by DeFeo during her post-“Rose” decade. Many feature everyday objects that appear, in her words, to “transcend space and time.” [Sept. 10–Oct. 31, 657 Howard St., S.F.; gagosian.com, (415) 546-3990; email email@example.com for appointment]
Maybaum Gallery: Victoria Wagner’s “Everglow,” contains sculptures and paintings made with wood from redwood trees scorched by the Northern California wildfires. Works also feature bright colors and geometric designs. The artist’s use of burned wood reflects environmental realities such as climate change and the destruction and resilience of nature. [Through Oct. 15, 49 Geary St., Suite 416, S.F.; maybaumgallery.com; email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (415) 658-7669 for appointment]
San Francisco Art Institute: “From the Tower: Transmission,” experimental videos created by alumni and curated by video-art pioneer Tony Labat, screen on all four sides of the institute’s Chestnut Street tower in North Beach; the public can view them from nearby streets or building windows, and online. [Through Oct. 23; 800 Chestnut St., S.F.; (415) 771-7020, sfai.edu]