Friday, September 6, 2019


I didn't realize how badly I wanted to see more women artists in SFMOMA until the museum took it upon themselves to put them there. I went to see the Warhol show in July, and the JR opening in May, but I don't think I've properly wandered the various floors of the museum since maybe late last winter. And man oh man have they done a lot to it since then -- honestly, it almost feels like a whole new museum. Part of this has to do with the Rothko they deaccessioned (in my personal opinion it wasn't a very compelling Rothko, as Rothkos go -- not to mention, they hardly ever hung and showed it -- not to mention they have one of the great Rothkos of the universe, plus three others including one very interesting and unusual one as well) with the explicit purpose of using the funds from its sale to buy art by women and artists of color. They promptly bought and hung eleven artworks (including the astonishing huge Mickalene Thomas above) and I went to the museum the other day to go see them. But what I saw regarding works by women (and, to a sadly lesser but still noticeable degree, artists of color) went way beyond just those eleven things. In a room dedicated to Surrealism, fully half the artworks were by women. In a gallery about sculpture in the 70s, all the art -- 100% of it -- was by women (and no comment was made about this fact in any of the wall text, this was not a show of "1970s women sculptors" it was a show of "1970s sculptors using new materials" Bam!). Several small one-and-two person shows featured women, too, and there were loads of things just tucked here and there -- a Barbara Kruger, a Jenny Holzer, many more -- that I'd never seen before. And then of course there were still old favorites, like the several Joan Mitchels, the Alice Neel, the Helen Frankenthaler, the Ruth Asawa and what I always think of as the Agnes Martin Chapel. Ready to see? Here we go!

Above: Mickalene Thomas

Carol Bove

Helen Frankenthaler

Kay Sage

Joan Mitchel

Alice Neel

Ana Mendieta

Sonia Gechtoff

Ruth Asawa

Brenna Youngblood

Carrie Mae Weems

Lynda Benglis

Shirin Neshat

Gego (Gertrud Goldschmidt)

Carol Bove

Suzan Frecon

Lynette Yiodom-Boakye

Charline Von Heyl

Agnes Martin (detail)

Agnes Martin (detail)

Sophie Calle

Njideka Akunyili Crosby


Joan Mitchell

Erin Shirreff

Alma Thomas

Carol Bove

Louise Bourgeois

Leonora Carrington

Eva Hesse

Dorothea Tanning

Joan Brown

Rebecca Belmore

Barbara Kruger

Joan Mitchel

Erin Shirreff

Jenny Holzer

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