Looking ahead: 2019 art preview

  • by Sura Wood
  • Tuesday January 8, 2019
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Peter Paul Rubens, "The Dreaming Silenus" (1610-1612). Oil on canvas, Gemäldegalerie der Akademie der bildenden Künste Wien. Photo: Courtesy of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco
Peter Paul Rubens, "The Dreaming Silenus" (1610-1612). Oil on canvas, Gemäldegalerie der Akademie der bildenden Künste Wien. Photo: Courtesy of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

Here's a sneak peak of art just around the bend.

Legion of Honor: "Early Rubens" focuses on a crucial, productive period between 1609 and 1621 when the Northern Baroque painter Peter Paul Rubens returned to his native Antwerp, which played a crucial role in his meteoric rise to international fame and prestige. The 50 artworks, including paintings and works on paper, chart his early development and gift for seductive imagery and shocking narratives. (April 6-Sept. 8) "James Tissot, 1836-1902" Although it will be a long wait for this one to arrive, it's the show I'm most looking forward to in the coming year. FAMSF and the Muse d'Orsay have collaborated on a major reassessment of the artist who captured the inner lives and outer beauty of Parisian women while commenting on resplendent 19th-century fashion, religion and politics. His society paintings are so brimming with life that one almost hears the tinkling of expensive crystal, the rustling of taffeta and the murmuring of well-heeled party guests. (Oct. 12, 2019-Feb. 9, 2020)

Claude Cahun (Lucy Schwob) and Marcel Moore (Suzanne Malherbe), Untitled (1928). Gelatin silver print. SFMOMA, Estate of Claude Cahun. Photo: Don Ross, courtesy CJM  

de Young Museum: "Monet: The Late Years," the promised follow-up to the museum's "Early Years" show in 2017, investigates the final chapter of the Impressionist master's career, when he reinvented his signature style with increasingly abstract works and a bold color palette. With over 20 of his adored water lily paintings, large-scale murals and more, it's catnip for Monet-lovers, and who isn't one? (Feb. 16-May 27)

OMCA: "Queer California: Untold Stories" is a multifaceted exhibition that delves into California's rich LGBTQ+ history and culture. It examines queer identity, civil rights, the struggle for self-determination and resistance to oppression, citing historic milestones and highlighting lesser-known narratives through materials ranging from rare artifacts, archival documents and photographs to costumes and ephemera. (April 13-Aug. 11)

Contemporary Jewish Museum: "Show Me as I Want to Be Seen" showcases the path-breaking work of two "pioneers in the depictions of the unfixed self": French Jewish artist, activist and card-carrying Surrealist Claude Cahun, and her long-time partner in life and art, Marcel Moore. Their work, exhibited in conversation with 10 diverse, emerging and veteran artists, explores varied representations of fluid identity. (Feb. 7-July 7)

Andy Warhol, Ethel Scull 36 Times (1963). Silkscreen ink and acrylic on linen, 36 panels. Whitney Museum of American Art and The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Photo: The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc./ARS New York  

SFMOMA: "JR: The Chronicles of San Francisco" is a kind of "how we live now" tour of the city and its residents. French artist JR (not his real name) set up mobile studios at 22 locations around town early last year, where he filmed and interviewed 1,200 people from an array of communities. The completed work, which takes the form of a digital mural across multiple screens, brings together the unique yet everyday faces and places of San Francisco. (Opens April 25.) The first U.S.-organized retrospective in 30 years, and the largest in terms of scope, range and sheer number of works (over 300), "Andy Warhol — From A to B and Back Again" unites all aspects, media and phases of the 40-year career of one of America's most influential artists. (May 18-Sept. 2)

The Presidio, Building 100: "Then They Came for Me: Incarceration of Japanese Americans During WWII and the Demise of Civil Liberties," a multi-media show that exposes a shameful chapter in American history, includes emotionally wrenching images by Dorothea Lange, Ansel Adams, Clem Albers and others who documented the forced removal and internment of 120,000 Japanese American citizens, plus videos and images of daily life in the camps by inmates and artists. (Jan. 18-May 27)

Headlands Center for the Arts: "Edge of See: Twilight Engines." Partial to ruined spaces, India-based artist Vishal K. Dar locates his latest immersive, site-specific installation at abandoned military gun batteries on the coastal bluffs above the Pacific. The sites are overlaid with oscillating, environment-responsive virtual light sculptures that can be viewed through smartphones or tablets via an "augmented reality app" supplied by the Center. (Jan. 20-March 3)

MoAD: "Black Refractions: Highlights from The Studio Museum in Harlem" features 64 artworks drawn from the collection of a remarkable community institution that has been devoted to artists of African descent and work influenced and inspired by black culture since it opened in 1968. (Jan. 16-April 14) "Coffee, Rhum, Sugar & Gold: A Post-Colonial Paradise" views the legacy of European colonialism in the Caribbean through contemporary artists connected to the region. (May 8-Aug. 11)

Asian Art Museum: While "Kimono Refashioned" looks at how the Japanese kimono has inspired and impacted the fashion world from the Victorian age to the present (Feb. 8-May 5), "The Bold Brush of Au Ho-nien" celebrates a revered living Chinese ink-wash painter. Now in his 80s, Au combines humanism with traditional techniques and aesthetics of the Western Renaissance. (May 31-Aug. 18)

Bartolini Gallery, Marin Center: "Inside Insights: San Quentin Arts in Corrections" assembles over 25 original paintings, prints and sculptures created by the maximum security prison's inmates, as well as works by former convicts and current workshop instructors. (Jan.10-March 28)