Visual arts bloom in the Bay Area this spring

Yoshiko Yap

“Indrajaala/Seduction,” 2012, by Pushpamala N., is part of “Beyond Bollywood: 2000 Years of Dance in Art” coming to the Asian Art Museum on March 31. 

Photo: Pushpamala N.

This spring, the local visual art scene blossoms with new exhibitions celebrating family history, the natural landscape and the body in motion, among other themes. Perhaps most excitingly is a new celebration of the Bay Area’s role promoting artists with developmental disabilities, which brings together three of the major art centers in the region. 

Here are a few of the shows The Chronicle is most excited for.

Sadie Barnette, shown at her exhibition “Inheritance” at Jessica Silverman Gallery in San Francisco in 2021, has multi-site exhibitions of her latest show this spring.

Photo: Jessica Christian/The Chronicle

‘Sadie Barnette: Family Business’ 

Oakland’s Sadie Barnette is one of the most lauded young art stars in the Bay Area. Her new solo show “Sadie Barnette: Family Business” is a multi-site exhibition. Featuring photographs, sculptures and drawings — including a showing of her “FBI Drawings” series at the UC Santa Cruz Institute of Arts and Science — she is also premiering her first video work at the San Jose Museum of Art.

4-9 p.m. Thursday. 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday. 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. Through Oct. 15. $8-10. San Jose Museum of Art, 110 S. Market St., San Jose. 408-271-6840.

Noon-5. p.m. Tuesday-Sunday. Free. U.C. Santa Cruz Institute of Arts and Sciences, 100 Panetta Ave., Santa Cruz.

“How I Keep Looking Up/Como Sigo Mirando Hacia Arriba/仰望,” an exhibition featuring handmade flags, is now on view at the Chinese Culture Center of San Francisco. 

Photo: Chinese Culture Center of San Francisco

‘How I Keep Looking Up/Como Sigo Mirando Hacia Arriba/仰望’

“How I Keep Looking Up/Como Sigo Mirando Hacia Arriba/仰望” is the culminating exhibition in a yearlong trilingual project where artist Christine Wong Yap guided 16 working-class immigrant women in creating flags that represent their stories of resilience. 

The Chinese Cultural Center galleries have been designed in tribute to the Chinese New Year Parade, complete with marching flag-bearer murals and sound installations that further tell the stories of the individual immigrant artists. 

10 a.m.- 4 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. Through Aug. 4. Free. Chinese Culture Center of San Francisco, 750 Kearny St., Third Floor, S.F.

Doug Aitken’s film “Diamond Sea” is part of the “Out of Africa: Selections from the Kramlich Collection” exhibition at BAMPFA.


‘Out of Africa: Selections from the Kramlich Collection’

Photographs and video installations from the collection of Napa collectors Pamela and Richard Kramlich focus on Africa and the colonial exploitation of the continent’s natural resources in this exhibition. Richard Mosse, Carrie Mae Weems and Steve McQueen are among the artists included, while the majority of the gallery is dedicated to showing the films “Diamond Sea” (1997) by Doug Aitken and “Other Faces” (2011) by William Kentridge.

11 a.m.-7 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday. Through April 30. $10-14. Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, 2155 Center St., Berkeley. 510-642-0808. https:/

Dancing villagers, circa 1730, attributed to Pandit Seu, is part of “Beyond Bollywood: 2000 Years of Dance in Art” coming to the Asian Art Museum. 

Photo: Asian Art Museum

‘Beyond Bollywood: 2000 Years of Dance in Art’

In a celebration of movement that will combine a museum exhibition with live performance programming, “Beyond Bollywood: 2000 Years of Dance in Art” will bring together artworks from South and Southeast Asia as well as the Himalayas showing how dance left its mark on these cultures. More than 120 historic and contemporary works including sculpture, painting, textiles, jewelry and photographs from countries including India, Pakistan, Nepal, Tibet, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia illustrate the ongoing cultural significance of dance. 

1-8 p.m. Thursday; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday-Monday. March 31-July 10. $15. Asian Art Museum, 200 Larkin St., S.F.

“Marin Hills from Lincoln Park, San Francisco,” by Ansel Adams. An exhibition of 100 works by Adams will be on view at the de Young Museum.

Photo: © The Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust

‘Ansel Adams in Our Time’ 

Famed San Francisco-born photographer Ansel Adams comes home in a new exhibition organized by the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco in partnership with the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

More than 100 works by Adams will be on view as well as works by 23 contemporary photographers like Catherine Opie, Richard Misrach, Trevor Paglen and Binh Danh who share Adams’ passion for nature and preservation. 

9:30 a.m.-5:15 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday. April 8-July 23. $15-$30. de Young Museum, 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive, S.F. 415-750-3600.

Untitled, by Douglas Sheran, is among the works in “Figuratively Speaking: Art in Advertising, Writing in Art” coming to Creativity Explored on April 13.

Photo: Creativity Explored

‘Figuratively Speaking: Art in Advertising, Writing in Art’

The beloved Mission District art center for artists with developmental disabilities marks its 40th anniversary this year. Part of its celebrations are a new exhibition curated by writer and cultural critic Hilton Als titled “Figuratively Speaking: Art in Advertising, Writing in Art,” which will explore the intersection of images and text.

3-6 p.m. Thursdays-Fridays; noon-5 p.m. Saturdays. April 13-July 13. Free. Creativity Explored, 245 16th St., S.F. 415-863-2108 or email [email protected].

The Oakland Museum of California’s exhibition explores the representation of artists with disabilities.

Photo: Oakland Museum of California

‘Into the Brightness: Artists From Creativity Explored, Creative Growth, & NIAD’

The Bay Area has been a leader in the conversation around artists with developmental disabilities. Oakland Museum of California’s new exhibition, “Into the Brightness: Artists from Creativity Explored, Creative Growth, & NIAD,” explores the role three local art centers have played in expanding representation. 

The show will include painting, sculpture and multimedia works by artists including Saul Alegria, Peter Cordova, Tranesha Smith-Kilgore, Marlon Mullen, Dorian Reid, William Scott, Dinah Shapiro, Nicole Storm and Marilyn Wong.

11 a.m. -5 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday. 1-9 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Opens May 19. $7-$16, free for children 8 and younger. Oakland Museum of California, 1000 Oak St., Oakland. 510-318-8400.

Reach Tony Bravo: [email protected]


  • Tony Bravo

    Tony Bravo is The San Francisco Chronicle’s Arts and Culture writer. Bravo joined The Chronicle staff in 2015 as a reporter for the former Style section, where he covered New York Fashion Week for the Hearst newspapers and served as the section’s editorial stylist, in addition to writing the relationship column “Connectivity.” He primarily covers visual arts and the LGBTQ community as well as specializing in stories about the intersections between arts, culture and lifestyle. His column appears in print every Monday in Datebook. Bravo is also an adjunct instructor at the City College of San Francisco Fashion Department and is the fourth generation of his family born in San Francisco, where he lives with his husband.
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