9 Bay Area Art Exhibits You Can’t Miss This Summer

Faith Ringgold (born 1930): “American People Series #18, The Flag Is Bleeding”, 1967, oil on canvas. Photo: © 2022 Faith Ringgold / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, Courtesy ACA Galleries, New York

Art lovers have plenty of reasons to stay in the Bay Area this summer, with an exciting selection of new retrospectives as highlights on museum calendars. Renowned artists like Diego Rivera, Faith Ringgold, Carlos Villa, Alison Knowles and Ruth Asawa are the focus of upcoming shows, with many exhibitions incorporating digital projections as a matter of course in their design.

On the streets of Oakland, a new immersive arts festival is also set to debut with a number of world premiere projects.

With so many shows in the Bay Area with long-term dates, there’s plenty of time to make this a hot artsy summer.

Oakland Immersive Arts Festival

The two-weekend event transforms the city of East Bay’s Broadway corridor into an interactive public art walk with media such as augmented reality, holographic effects, kinetic sculptural installations, animated videos and more Again.

Presented by the Immersive Arts Alliance, the festival features 20 artists and collaborators with four premiere projects. Highlights include Oakland artist Damien McDuffie’s AR Museum for the People, a mobile augmented reality walking tour highlighting the narrative history of the Black Panther Party through murals inside from the Oakstop storefront and at area Black Panther landmarks.

July 15-17 and 22-24. Free. Broadway and Telegraph Avenue, between 12th and 20th Streets, Oakland www.immersiveartsalliance.org

Diego Rivera: “The Flower Bearer”, 1935, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Albert M. Bender Collection. Photo: © Banco de México Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, Mexico, DF / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; photo: Katherine Du Tiel

“Diego Rivera’s America”

This new exhibition by the iconic Mexican artist is the first in over two decades and utilizes the extensive collection of Rivera’s works at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Looking at how the artist shaped his own vision of continental America, the exhibition includes 150 paintings, frescoes and drawings by Rivera. Three galleries will be devoted to large-scale film screenings of murals created by Rivera in the United States and Mexico, while Rivera’s mural “Pan American Unity” is on display for free on the first floor of the museum.

1-8 p.m. Thursday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday to Monday. From July 16 to January 2. $19 to $25. San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 151 Third St., SF 415-357-4000. www.sfmoma.org

Alison Knowles: “Celebration Red (Tribute to every red thing)”, 1994/2016, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh. Photo: Carnegie Museum of Art

“By Alison Knowles: A Retrospective”

Fluxus movement co-founder Alison Knowles gets her first major retrospective spanning her still active career from the 1960s to the present day.

Perhaps best known for her large screen-printed works and Fluxus event scores, Knowles has collaborated with artists like Marcel Duchamp and composers such as James Tenney and John Cage on projects ranging from poetry and sound compositions to performance. and facilities.

The local exhibition will be divided into two chronological sections with many opportunities for engagement in the various media in which Knowles has created.

11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday to Sunday. July 20-February 12. $10-14. Berkeley Art Museum Pacific Film Archive, 2155 Center St., Berkeley. 510-642-0808. bampfa.org

Kehinde Wiley: “Barack Obama”, 2018, oil on canvas. Photo: National Portrait Gallery, Smith

DeYoung Museum

The de Young Museum has no fewer than three famous traveling exhibitions opening this summer. Famous portraits of President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama by Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald are on display for a limited time in the American Wing beginning in June; “Faith Ringgold: American People,” the celebrated quilt artist’s first retrospective, debuts on the West Coast in July; and in August, “Ramses the Great and the Gold of the Pharaohs” brings together more than 180 ancient artifacts for the first new exhibit dedicated to the Egyptian ruler in 30 years and the first to come to San Francisco.

“Faith Ringgold: American People”: painting, textiles and mixed media. July 16-Nov. 27. $15-$30.

“The Obama Portraits Tour”: 9:30 a.m.-5:15 p.m. June 18-Aug. 14. $6-15.

“Ramesses the Great and the Gold of the Pharaohs”: August 20 – February 12. $20-$40. Additional charges for “Ramses and Nefertari: Journey to Osiris” will be announced.

9:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. Tuesday to Sunday. De Young Museum, 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive, SF 415-750-3600. www.deyoung.famsf.org

Carlos Villa: “Excavations”, 1982; acrylic on unstretched canvas with chicken bones. Photo: Nora Roth / Nora Roth

Carlos Villa

The San Francisco-born artist is at the center of two new exhibitions.

“Carlos Villa: Worlds in Collision” at the Asian Art Museum examines Villa’s explorations of his Filipino identity through painting, mixed media and installation, including his use of unconventional materials like feathers, bones and hair.

Meanwhile, “Carlos Villa: Roots and Reinvention” at the San Francisco Arts Commission Gallery will highlight his art from the 1980s and 90s at a time of creative transition.

“Carlos Villa: worlds colliding”: 1pm-8pm on Thursday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday to Monday. Opening Friday, June 17. General admission $15. Asian Art Museum, 200 Larkin St., SF www.asianart.org

“Carlos Villas: roots and reinvention”: From 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday to Saturday. June 24-August 20. San Francisco Arts Commission Gallery, 401 Van Ness Ave., SF www.sfartscommission.org

Xandra Ibarra: “She’s on the Rag/Rorschach 1 test”, 2018; blood on paper. 6/2018, from the menstrual blood series “She’s On The Rag” (2013-current). Photo: Courtesy of Xandra Ibarra

‘Hella Feminist’

California’s Oakland Museum explores ephemera and art related to lesser-known histories of the women’s movement in the Bay Area. Posters, pins and photographs as well as newly commissioned artwork will be among the exhibits.

The curatorial approach emphasizes the intersectionality of feminist issues with struggles related to class, race, gender identity and ability.

11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday to Sunday. July. 29-Jan. 8. $7 to $16, with children 8 and under free year-round. Oakland Museum of California, 1000 Oak St., Oakland. 510-318-8400. www.museumca.org

Tunji Adeniyi-Jones: “Blue Dancer”, 2017, oil on canvas. Photo: © Tunji Adeniyi-Jones.

“Young, Gifted and Black: The Lumpkin-Boccuzzi Family Contemporary Art Collection”

This traveling exhibition celebrates over 50 artists of African descent who explore identity, politics and art history in their practices. Kara Walker, Mickalene Thomas, Eric N. Mack, Troy Michie and Tunji Adeniyi-Jones are among those whose works from the Lumpkin-Boccuzzi family’s contemporary art collection will be on display.

11am-6pm Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday to Sunday. July 28-Nov. 19. Free; timed tickets, reservations recommended. Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art at UC Davis, 254 Old Davis Road, Davis. 530-752-9623. www.manettishremmuseum.ucdavis.edu

Ruth Asawa with living masks on the exterior wall of her house: Untitled (Wall of Masks), circa 1966-2000, ceramic, bisque-fired clay. Photo: Terry Schmitt / Estate of Ruth Asawa

“The Faces of Ruth Asawa”

A new long-term installation of works by the late San Francisco artist debuts at the Cantor Art Center as part of the museum’s Asian American Art Initiative. The untitled work consists of 233 ceramic masks cast from the faces of friends and family of Asawa and her husband, Albert Lanier, in a previously unexamined body of work.

Three vessels created by Asawa’s son, Paul Lanier, from clay mixed with Asawa’s ashes, Albert Lanier and their late son, Adam, will also be on display.

11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday to Sunday. Opening July 6. Free, reservations required. Cantor Center for the Arts, 328 Lomita Drive, Palo Alto. 650-498-1480 museum.stanford.edu

Cannupa Hanska Luger: “Future Ancestral Technologies: New Myth”, 2021, digital video. Photo: Gabe Fermi


This multimedia exhibition explores how artists have represented the concepts of time, space and existence, particularly in relation to our current concerns related to climate change.

Artists include Sophia Al Maria, Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg, Cannupa Hanska Luger and Tomás Saraceno.

“MYR” derives its title from the unit of measurement equivalent to 1 million years which is used in earth sciences and astrology.

11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday to Saturday. Until August 27. Free. McEvoy Foundation for the Arts, 1150 25th St., Building B, SF 415-580-7605. www.mcevoyarts.org

William E. Bennett