Sat December 3, 2022 - Sun March 12, 2023

Joan Brown Retrospective

This Retrospective Spans the Highly Original Artistic Career of San Francisco-Born Painter.

Born in San Francisco in 1938, artist Joan Brown created colorful, expansive paintings and lively sculptures inspired by her life experiences in the city--where she lived and worked for much of her life--as well as her influential international travels. The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) today announces Joan Brown, the most in-depth examination of the artist's work in over two decades.

"We are thrilled to present Joan Brown, a reassessment of the unabashedly personal, defiantly independent and enduringly relevant career of one of San Francisco's most important local heroes," said Janet Bishop, Thomas Weisel Family Chief Curator and Curator of Painting and Sculpture at SFMOMA.

On view at SFMOMA from November 19, 2022 through March 12, 2023 and bringing together approximately 80 works in a variety of media, Joan Brown charts the breadth and depth of the artist's career, once dismissed by critics as unserious but rooted in impassioned curiosity and research. Deeply embedded in the Bay Area art scene, Brown drew inspiration from many sources to create a charmingly offbeat body of work that embraces autobiography, fantasy and whimsy as well as weightier metaphysical themes.

Brown earned a BFA and MFA from the California School of Fine Arts (CSFA)--later the San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI)--where she met a key mentor, artist Elmer Bischoff, and began gaining recognition for her paintings. By age 22, Brown had achieved remarkable critical and commercial success. She was included in SFMOMA's annuals in both 1957 and 1958 and was the youngest artist exhibited as part of Young America 1960 (Thirty American Painters Under Thirty-Six) at the Whitney Museum of American Art. By 1964, her works had been featured on the cover of Artforum and were in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York, among others. Brown was the first in her cohort to achieve prominence outside San Francisco, but her fiery disinclination for the commercial side of the art world soon emerged, and it cemented into a lifelong antipathy that would prove decisive at key moments in her career.

Image credits:
* Joan Brown, The Night Before the Alcatraz Swim, 1975; G.U.C. Collection; © Estate of Joan Brown; photo: Michael Tropea
* Joan Brown, Gordon, Joan + Rufus in Front of S.F. Opera House, 1969; Collection of Adam Lindemann; © Estate of Joan Brown
This Retrospective Spans the Highly Original Artistic Career of San Francisco-Born Painter.

Born in San Francisco in 1938, artist Joan Brown created colorful, expansive paintings and lively sculptures inspired by her life experiences in the city--where she lived and worked for much of her life--as well as her influential international travels. The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) today announces Joan Brown, the most in-depth examination of the artist's work in over two decades.

"We are thrilled to present Joan Brown, a reassessment of the unabashedly personal, defiantly independent and enduringly relevant career of one of San Francisco's most important local heroes," said Janet Bishop, Thomas Weisel Family Chief Curator and Curator of Painting and Sculpture at SFMOMA.

On view at SFMOMA from November 19, 2022 through March 12, 2023 and bringing together approximately 80 works in a variety of media, Joan Brown charts the breadth and depth of the artist's career, once dismissed by critics as unserious but rooted in impassioned curiosity and research. Deeply embedded in the Bay Area art scene, Brown drew inspiration from many sources to create a charmingly offbeat body of work that embraces autobiography, fantasy and whimsy as well as weightier metaphysical themes.

Brown earned a BFA and MFA from the California School of Fine Arts (CSFA)--later the San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI)--where she met a key mentor, artist Elmer Bischoff, and began gaining recognition for her paintings. By age 22, Brown had achieved remarkable critical and commercial success. She was included in SFMOMA's annuals in both 1957 and 1958 and was the youngest artist exhibited as part of Young America 1960 (Thirty American Painters Under Thirty-Six) at the Whitney Museum of American Art. By 1964, her works had been featured on the cover of Artforum and were in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York, among others. Brown was the first in her cohort to achieve prominence outside San Francisco, but her fiery disinclination for the commercial side of the art world soon emerged, and it cemented into a lifelong antipathy that would prove decisive at key moments in her career.

Image credits:
* Joan Brown, The Night Before the Alcatraz Swim, 1975; G.U.C. Collection; © Estate of Joan Brown; photo: Michael Tropea
* Joan Brown, Gordon, Joan + Rufus in Front of S.F. Opera House, 1969; Collection of Adam Lindemann; © Estate of Joan Brown
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Art, Museums

Date/Times:
  • Sat Dec 3 (10am - 5pm)
  • Sun Dec 4 (10am - 5pm)
  • Mon Dec 5 (10am - 5pm)
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