Press Releases


Exhibition Schedule 2018

San Francisco Art Institute introduces its 2018 exhibitions, taking place at both its new Fort Mason campus and its historic campus on Chestnut Street:


In Around Beyond
Main Gallery, Fort Mason Campus: Extended through January 21, 2018
Walter and McBean Galleries, Chestnut Street Campus: Through February 3, 2018

This group exhibition features artworks in, around, and beyond SFAI’s two campuses, representing the institution as a single point of departure, as an entry point, and docking station for artists who mine the past and model the future.

It features work by Keith Boadwee, Nao Bustamante and Miguel Calderon, Bryan Davis, Gutzom Borglum, María Elena González, Greenpeace, Bill Fontana, Mads Lynnerup, Alicia McCarthy, Laura Poitras, Postcommodity, Radio Healer, Rigo 23, Phil Ross, Jon Rubin, Kal Spelletich, Sans façon, and Mel Ziegler.

Isaac Julien's PLAYTIME
Gray Box Gallery, Fort Mason Campus: Through February 11, 2018

An ambitious exhibition featuring three recent video installations that explore the wide-ranging effects of how information, labor, and capital circulate in our global, networked societies. Presented by SFAI in partnership with Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture (FMCAC) and the Kramlich Collection, the exhibition occupies three spaces on the FMCAC campus. SFAI’s newly constructed Gray Box Gallery at Fort Mason is the venue for Better Life (Ten Thousand Waves) (2010), the cinematic cut of Julien’s monumental installation Ten Thousand Waves.



Bill Fontana: Landscape Sculpture with Foghorns
Main Gallery and Gray Box Gallery, Fort Mason: February 16–April 22, 2018
Landscape Sculpture with Foghorns exterior installation: February 16, 2018–Spring 2019
Opening Reception: Friday, February 16, 6–9pm

Internationally-renowned sound artist Bill Fontana will re-present his 1981 work Landscape Sculpture with Foghorns. Installed in the same location on the eastern wall of Pier 2 (now the home of SFAI’s Fort Mason campus), the temporally-specific installation layers and overlaps with the contemporary soundscape of the San Francisco waterfront.

The original 1981 iteration of this work was a live acoustic map of San Francisco Bay. Microphones were installed at 8 different positions around the Bay in order to hear the multiple acoustic delays from the fog horns on the Golden Gate Bridge. Sounds were broadcast to the facade of Pier 2. Listeners are able to hear various locations simultaneously, delayed by the distances the sound has to travel, translating topography into sound.

Alongside this “sound sculpture”—Fontana’s preferred term for his work, for the ways sound can define space and immerse the viewer—Fontana presents recent audiovisual artworks, which he refers to as “acoustical visions,” within SFAI’s Fort Mason Galleries. These include Space Voyage (2015), Resonant Silences (Southern facing bell, MetLife Tower, New York) (2015), Resonant Silences (Temple bell, Nanzen-gi, Kyoto) (2015), Red Pylon Study (2014), and Black Sea Study (2014).

Bill Fontana (b. 1947, USA) is an American composer and artist who developed an international reputation for his pioneering experiments in sound. Since the early ‘70s, Fontana has used sound as a sculptural medium to interact with and transform our perceptions of visual and architectural spaces. He has realized sound sculptures and radio projects for museums and broadcast organizations around the world. His work has been exhibited at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Museum Ludwig, Cologne, the Post Museum in Frankfurt, the Art History and Natural History Museums in Vienna, both Tate Modern and Tate Britain in London, the 48th Venice Biennale, the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, the Art Gallery of NSE in Sydney, and the new Kolumba Museum in Cologne. He has done major radio sound art projects for the BBC, the European Broadcast Union, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, National Public Radio, West German Radio (WDR), Swedish Radio, Radio France, and the Austrian State Radio.

Phillippe Rahm: Anthropocene Style
Presented in partnership with swissnex
Walter and McBean Galleries, Chestnut Street: March 27–May 19, 2018
Opening Reception: Thursday, March 29, 6–9pm

Swiss architect Phillippe Rahm is known internationally for his groundbreaking work in the context of sustainability. His new installation at SFAI investigates questions around aesthetic choice: By what process does an architect, a designer, and even a painter or sculptor choose a material or a color for an artwork? What are the criteria for choosing one material over another, one color over another? Rahm argues that physical properties such as effusivity, emissivity, conductivity, and reflectivity are more influential than ever as part of this decision process—a development that has inspired Rahm to coin the term Anthropocene Style, a new Decorative style specific to our aesthetic and environmental era.

Philippe Rahm is principal in the office of Philippe Rahm architectes, based in Paris, France. His work, which extends the field of architecture from the physiological to the meteorological, has received an international audience in the context of sustainability. In 2002, Mr. Rahm was chosen to represent Switzerland at the 8th Architecture Biennale in Venice, and was one of the 25 Manifesto's Architects of Aaron Betsky's 2008 Architectural Venice Biennale. He is nominee in 2009 for the Ordos Prize in China and in 2010 and 2008 for the International Chernikov Prize in Moscow where he was ranked in the top ten. He has participated in a number of exhibitions worldwide.

MFA Exhibition
Main Gallery and Gray Box Gallery, Fort Mason: May 10–17, 2018
Opening Reception: Friday, May 11, 6–9pm

This spring, as a culminating event of its inaugural year at Fort Mason, SFAI gives the public a chance to discover the next Annie Leibovitz or Kehinde Wiley at its annual graduate exhibition. In a week-long pop-up exhibition, more than 50 MFA artists transform the Fort Mason campus into a dynamic, large-scale gallery of contemporary installations, painting, sound, video, sculpture, photography, printmaking, performance, and more.

XL Catlin Prize Exhibition
Main Gallery, Fort Mason: August 20–October 7, 2018
Opening Reception: Friday, August 31, 6–9pm

SFAI is working with the New York Academy of Art to launch the XL Catlin Art Prize, a new juried art contest and traveling exhibition. Building on a 10-year legacy of the Catlin Art Prize in the UK, the XL Catlin Art Prize US will be an exhibition of figurative work (painting or drawing) by undergraduate or graduate art students enrolled in US art programs, with an exhibition jury featuring curators from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, and Museum of Modern Art and the prizes juried by acclaimed artists Eric Fischl, Nicole Eisenman, and Amy Sherald. The contest is sponsored by XL Catlin, a major art insurer, and the exhibit will tour New York, Chicago, and San Francisco. SFAI will exhibit the work of forty finalist artists in advance of the prize ceremony to take place in New York.

Michael Jones McKean—Harker Award Exhibition
Fort Mason Campus: September 2018–January 2019

Michael Jones McKean is the 2017-18 Harker Award resident and was in residence at Fort Mason last fall. This exhibition is both an outgrowth of the residency and an initial unveiling of McKean and SFAI’s long-term effort to realize The Rainbow, a permanent, ambitious, and transformative public work at SFAI’s campus and throughout Fort Mason. The project is being developed in partnership with FMCAC. Michael Jones McKean (b. 1976, Micronesia, lives in New York City) is the recipient of numerous awards including a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Nancy Graves Foundation Award, and an Artadia Award. McKean’s work has been exhibited extensively nationally and internationally. Recent exhibitions include the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY; Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; Parc Saint Leger Centre d’art Contemporain, Nevers, France; Horton Gallery, New York, NY; The Quebec Biennale, Quebec City, Canada; Gentili Apri, Berlin, Germany; The Art Foundation, Athens, Greece; Inman Gallery, Houston, TX; Parisian Laundry, Montreal, Canada; Project Gentili, Prato, Italy: Shenkar University, Tel Aviv, Israel; The Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, Winston-Salem, NC; and The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX among many others. McKean is currently an Associate Professor in the Sculpture + Extended Media Department at Virginia Commonwealth University where he has taught since 2006 and is Co-Director of ASMBLY based in New York City.

China Academy of Art Exchange Exhibition
Chestnut and Fort Mason campuses: November 2, 2018–January 20, 2019

In 1984, SFAI professor Fred Martin took a group of students and faculty to China Academy of Art, making SFAI the first art school in the western world to develop a formal relationship with a Chinese university following the Cultural Revolution. On the occasion of CAA’s 90th Anniversary, SFAI continues this historic partnership with a wide-ranging exhibition of CAA-associated artists working across traditional forms such as painting as well as digital and new media. In 2019, SFAI will send works of its artists to CAA for a corresponding exhibition in China.

Postcommodity is an interdisciplinary arts collective comprised of Raven Chacon, Cristóbal Martínez, and Kade L. Twist. Postcommodity’s art functions as a shared Indigenous lens and voice to engage the assaultive manifestations of the global market and its supporting institutions, public perceptions, beliefs, and individual actions that comprise the everexpanding, multinational, multiracial, and multiethnic colonizing force that is defining the 21st century through ever increasing velocities and complex forms of violence. Postcommodity works to forge new metaphors capable of rationalizing our shared experiences within this increasingly challenging contemporary environment; promote a constructive discourse that challenges the social, political and economic processes that are destabilizing communities and geographies; and connect Indigenous narratives of cultural self-determination with the broader public sphere. Postcommodity are the recipients of grants from the Joan Mitchell Foundation (2010), Creative Capital (2012), Art Matters (2013), Native Arts and Cultures Foundation (2014), and the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation (2017). The collective has been exhibited nationally and internationally, including: Contour the 5th Biennial of the Moving Image in Mechelen, BE; Nuit Blanche, Toronto, CA; 18th Biennale of Sydney in Sydney, AUS; Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art in Scottsdale, AZ; 2017 Whitney Biennial, New York, NY; Art in General, New York, NY; documenta14, Athens, GR and Kassel, DE; and their historic land art installation Repellent Fence at the U.S./Mexico border near Douglas, AZ and Agua Prieta, SON.


About San Francisco Art Institute

Founded in 1871, SFAI is one of the country's oldest and most prestigious institutions of higher education in the practice and study of contemporary art. As a diverse community of working artists and scholars, SFAI provides students with a rigorous education in the arts and preparation for a life in the arts through an immersive studio environment, an integrated liberal arts and art history curriculum, and critical engagement with the world. Committed to educating artists who will shape the future of art, culture, and society, SFAI fosters creativity and original thinking in an open, experimental, and interdisciplinary context.


General Information

San Francisco Art Institute—Chestnut Street’s Walter and McBean Galleries are open to the public Tuesday 11am–7pm and Wednesday–Saturday 11am–6pm and are located at 800 Chestnut Street, San Francisco, CA.

San Francisco Art Institute—Fort Mason’s galleries are open to the public Wednesday–Saturday 12–8pm and Sunday 11am–5pm and are located on Pier 2 within Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture, 2 Marina Blvd., San Francisco, CA. 

Galleries are free to the public.