4 Cool Places to See Art in San Francisco This Summer
San Francisco is one of the most artistically inclined cities in the world. It’s home to renowned fine arts museums like the de Young Museum and the Legion of Honor; the Asian Art Museum, Contemporary Jewish Museum, and Museum of the African Diaspora, among others. The City by the Bay also boasts cultural institutions like the San Francisco Ballet, Opera, and Symphony, and music venues like SFJAZZ (its annual Jazz Festival happens June 7-19 so buy your tickets now!), and the historic Fillmore auditorium. Not to mention the city's educational sights the whole family will enjoy, like the Exploratorium and California Academy of Sciences.
All are must-sees -- and reasons to keep coming back to S.F. over and over again. But there are a few spots you might miss if you’re new to S.F. that are slightly less known, but well worth a look. Whether you’re an art buff or a novice, a shopping junkie, or fan of walking tours, when you visit these four under-the-radar spots you’ll get a bit of local flavor, and a sense of the diversity that makes S.F. so unique. You might even discover the next Andy Warhol among the murals and ceramics. And you’ll definitely want to take home a souvenir or two (we just know your kitchen table is calling out for Heath’s teal blue plates).
After an epic three-year renovation, transforming it into the largest modern art museum in America, SFMOMA reopened to the public May 14. Housing thousands of new-to-MOMA works by artists like Jackson Pollock, Jasper Johns, Diane Arbus, and Nam June Paik, among many others, the Snøhetta-designed addition includes awe-inspiring features like a living wall with more than 19,000 plants; terrace views of the San Francisco skyline; interactive art installations; and a new global-cuisine eatery from Michelin-starred chef Corey Lee. It’s the one major "wow" moment you won’t want to miss in S.F. this summer.
151 Third St.; 415-357-4000; sfmoma.org
HEATH CERAMICS' BOILER ROOM AT ITS MISSION CAMPUS
Visit the lauded ceramicist’s industrial showroom to purchase its signature dinnerware, tour its tile factory, and get a taste of local culture at its Boiler Room art exhibition space, where selected works are on display from artists such as Brendan Monroe, Butch Anthony, Rinne Allen, Stan Bitters, Tung Chiang, and Julian Watts. The pieces include everything from large-scale, abstract sculptures to ceramics, woodwork, murals, collages, and photography. Look out for a cool new exhibit from former Rizzoli editor Dung Ngo featuring modern flatware -- yep, flatware! Knife/Fork/Spoon debuts June 25. You can also sip Blue Bottle Coffee while you shop and view, and indulge in beloved bakery Tartine’s new eatery offshoot Tartine Manufactory, which opens at the campus this summer (take home Tartine’s dishware collaboration with Heath as a chic memento).
Balmy Alley Murals
Located in the Mission District of San Francisco, this free public display of art has been an international destination since the 1980s. The block-long alley is home to more than 30 murals from local artists including Susan Cervantes, Patricia Rose, and Brett Cook, who is known for his spray can style. The collection is ever-changing and many works touch on social issues such as human rights violations and political abuses in the U.S. and abroad. Stroll the Alley yourself, or take a guided tour, offered daily through Precita Eyes, for the stories behind the murals and the artists (the organization was co-founded by Cervantes and many of the Balmy Alley muralists are associated with it as well).
50 Balmy St., parallel to Treat Ave. and Harrison St. between 24th & 25th streets.
The Minnesota Street Project
Located in San Francisco's hip Dogpatch neighborhood, the Minnesota Street Project began opening its 100,000-square-foot arts campus earlier this year. Featuring affordable spaces for artist studios and galleries -- an important addition to the S.F. scene as the city’s ever-changing landscape has pushed many galleries from the city center -- the Street Project also houses 10 permanent contemporary art galleries, two rotating exhibition spaces, arts education, and a café and restaurant, which is slated to open in the fall. Current exhibitions include Slow Wave, a solo exhibition by Paul Wackers (pictured, through June 11); Zero-Day Darling, the first Bay Area showing from Los Angeles artist Petra Cortright (through July 16); Casemore Kirkeby’s New Material, featuring eight young artists from Japan (through July 2); and Anglim Gilbert Gallery’s Presence Known, featuring paintings and works on paper by Joan Brown, among several other rotating presentations (through July 2). It’s one of the newest, most unique ways to view art in S.F. now. Check the schedule and hours online to plan your visit.
1275 Minnesota St.; 415-243-0825; minnesotastreetproject.com