“Showing their Levi’s postcard from California Rodeo Salinas” is part of a Contemporary Jewish Museum exhibit about the famed blue jean company opening Feb. 13. (Courtesy Levi Strauss & Co. Archives)

Winter 2020 Arts Preview: Museums

Art and science centers show photography, sculpture, installations, painting and more


Levi Strauss: A History of American Style: The exhibit describes the life of the Bavarian Jewish dry goods merchant, who, with tailor Jacob Davis, put metal rivets in denim work pants, resulting in a worldwide fashion phenomenon; dozens of Levi Strauss & Co. items on view include clothing, ads, photos and ephemera, representing the largest public display of the company’s archival materials ever assembled. Feb. 13-Aug. 9. $8-$16. Contemporary Jewish Museum, 736 Mission St., S.F., www.thecjm.org

Kenji Liu’s “Decolonized BART Map” is among the works in view in “You Are Here: California Stories on the Map” at the Oakland Museum of California. (Courtesy Kenji Liu)

You Are Here: California Stories on the Map: Climate change, the environment, public health, and community building are addressed in the context of Oakland, Bay Area and California maps, in the exhibition, which also showcases maps as art works. Feb. 14-28. 7-$16. Oakland Museum, 1000 Oak St., Oakland, www.museumca.org

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art opens a show of photos by Dawoud Bay, including 2016’s “Girls, Ornaments, and Vacant Lot, Harlem, NY” from “Harlem Redux.” (Courtesy Dawoud Bey)

Dawoud Bey: An American Project: The retrospective includes evocative portraits and street scenes by the artist, who has been working since the 1970s, taking photos of black people and others in underrepresented communities in their neighborhoods, as well as in his studio. Feb. 15-May 25. $19-$25, free for 18 and younger. San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 151 Third St., S.F., sfmoma.org

Rosie Lee Tompkins: A Retrospective: Featuring some 80 quilts, pieced tops, embroideries and more, the show collects work by the late quiltmaker born Effie Mae Howard in 1936 in Arkansas, who lived in Richmond and was known for innovative, intricate religious designs. Feb. 19-July 19. $12-$14. UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, 2155 Center St., Berkeley, www.bampfa.org

Lynn Hershman Leeson’s 2019 video installation “Shadowstalker” is in “Uncanny Valley:Being Human in the Age of AI” at the de Young Museum. (Courtesy Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco)

Uncanny Valley: Being Human in the Age of AI: Accounting for the role technology plays in modern life, the exhibit of new or commissioned works by 15 artists addresses the question “What does it mean to be human?” with more nuance than science-fiction and pop culture offerings, which often take a negative view of artificial intelligence and machine learning. Feb. 22-Oct. 25. $6-$15. de Young Museum, Golden Gate Park, 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive, S.F., www.famsf.org

Images by Dorothea Lange — including 1938’s “Crossroads General Store” — come to the Oakland Museum in “Photography as Activism. (Courtesy Dorothea Lange Collection, Oakland Museum)

Dorothea Lange: Photography as Activism: A follow-up to the popular 2017 show “Dorothea Lange: The Politics of Seeing,” this expanded exhibition, drawn largely from her personal archive, illuminates the life and work of the renowned documentary photographer, best known for her Depression-era portraits of farmers. Opens Feb. 29. $7-$16. Oakland Museum, 1000 Oak St., Oakland, www.museumca.org

Frida Kahlo — Nickolas Muray’s 1930 “Frida with Olmeca Figurine, Coyoacán” is pictured — is the subject of a de Young Museum exhibition opening March 31. (Courtesy Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco)

Frida Kahlo: Appearances Can Be Deceiving: The show of the iconic artist’s personal photographs, clothing, jewelry, hand-painted orthopedic corsets along with about 20 of her paintings and drawings, offers an intimate perspective on her life and examines how politics, gender, trauma, sexuality and national identity influenced her creativity. March 21-July 26. $13-$28. de Young Museum, Golden Gate Park, 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive, S.F., www.famsf.org

“Last Supper in Pompeii” at the Legion of Honor in April includes ancient tableware, such as a silver cup from AD 1-100. (Courtesy Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco)

Last Supper in Pompeii-From the Table to the Grave: Organized by the Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford, the exhibition showcasing the love of food and drink in the ancient world includes about 300 objects including Roman sculpture, mosaics and frescoes; household furnishings and tableware and objects of made of precious materials. April 18-Aug 30. $6-$15. Legion of Honor, Lincoln Park, 100 34th Ave., S.F., www.famsf.org


James Tissot: Fashion & Faith: Celebrated in his time, the 19th century French painter of fashionable women and biblical scenes in realist, impressionist and early-modern styles gets a deserved 21st century assessment in this exhibit of paintings, drawings, prints and cloisonne pieces. Closes Feb. 9. $13-$28. Legion of Honor, Lincoln Park, 100 34th Ave., S.F., www.famsf.org

“No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man” includes Michael Garlington and Natalia Bertotti’s 2018 “The Paper Arch.” (Courtesy Oakland Museum of California)

No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man: The exhibition offers cutting-edge artwork, sculpture and interactive installations from the famed, sometimes controversial, annual gathering in the Nevada desert; a commissioned outdoor temple also is part of the display. Closes Feb. 16. $12-$21. Oakland Museum, 1000 Oak St., Oakland, www.museumca.org

Randall Museum: The natural history museum, science museum and art center for children and families offers drop-in science workshops at $10 per child-parent duo at 11 a.m. most Saturdays in February, except on Feb. 29, the day of the annual San Francisco Middle School Science Fair. Free admission. 199 Museum Way, S.F., randallmuseum.org

A 1968 portrait of Sikolo Brathwaite is part of Kwame Brathwaite’s “Black Is Beautiful” at the Museum of the African Diaspora. (Courtesy Aperture 2019)

Black is Beautiful: The Photography of Kwame Brathwaite: The exhibition features work by the New York artist who documented life in Harlem in the 1950s-70s and popularized the phrase “Black Is beautiful”; it includes images of Grandassa Models, a group of women who embodied black nationalist beauty principles, as well as portraits of jazz stars Max Roach, Abbey Lincoln and Miles Davis. Closes March 1. $5-$10. Museum of the African Diaspora, 685 Mission St., S..F., moadsf.org

California Academy of Sciences is offering special Valentine’s Day programming. (Courtesy photo)

California Academy of Sciences: The center — an aquarium, planetarium, rainforest and natural history museum with special exhibitions and programming, including Valentine’s Day themed events — offers free admission for San Francisco residents in particular zip codes on particular weekends now through March 13. Proof of residency is required; visit Neighborhood Free Weekends for details. $30-$44 adult admission (cheaper if purchased in advance). 55 Music Concourse Drive, Golden Gate Park, S.F., calacademy.org

Barbara Jones-Hogu’s 1971 screenprint “Unite” is at the de Young in “Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power.” (Courtesy Lusenhop/Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco)

Soul of a Nation-Art in the Age of Black Power: Featuring more than 150 works by African-American artists active during the history-making period of 1963 to 1983, the exhibition explores the talent, purpose and solidarity of black artists in the U.S. and the function of art in society; the San Francisco presentation devotes added attention to Bay Area artists. Closes March 15. $10-$25. de Young Museum, Golden Gate Park, 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive, S.F., www.famsf.org

Buddhist works including Tsherin Sherpa’s 2017 “The Melt” are at the Asian Art Museum through May 3.(Courtesy Tsherin Sherpa/Virginia Museum of Fine Arts)

Awaken: A Tibetan Buddhist Journey Toward Enlightenment: The show of Buddhist artworks from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and the Asian Art Museum, both with significant collections of Himalayan art, includes sculptures, paintings, textiles and books made between 800 and 2016 that “chart a transformative journey from the ordinary world to awakening.” Closes May 3. $20-$25. Asian Art Museum, 200 Larkin St., S.F., www.asianart.org

Tina Hovsepian’s “Cardborigami” is on view at the San Francisco Museum of Craft + Design. (Courtesy Tina Hovsepian/Artworks for Change)

Survival Architecture and the Art of Resilience: Guest curated by Randy Jayne Rosenberg, the exhibition includes works by artists and architects addressing climate change, and tasked with creating long-term housing solutions for vulnerable populations; among the installations is a cardboard structure big enough for two people to sleep in, which can be folded up and carried. Closes May 3. $6-$8. Museum of Craft and Design, 2569 Third St., S.F., sfmcd.org

San Francisco sculptor Ron Nagle’s eclectic ceramic works include 1998’s “Night of the Hunter.” (Courtesy Collection of Richard E. Goldman)

Ron Nagle: Handsome Drifter: The San Francisco sculptor, best known for his small, detailed works, collaborated with curator Apsara DiQuinzio in developing this survey of sculptures and sketches from the most recent decades of his 60-year practice. Closes June 4. $12-$14. UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, 2155 Center St., Berkeley, www.bampfa.org

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