SFMOMA, Asian Art Museum Announce Reopenings in Early October

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SFMOMA. (Henrik Kam)

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Asian Art Museum have announced their reopening dates after over six months of closure due to COVID-19. The Asian Art Museum will reopen on Saturday, Oct. 3 and SFMOMA will follow suit on Sunday, Oct. 4.

Both museums mark the occasion with special offers to welcome back their long-distant public. SFMOMA is planning two weeks of free admission and free parking, Oct. 4–18. And the Asian Art Museum will offer free admission Oct. 3–12.

Things will be different. Both museums will operate at 25% capacity with timed tickets, masks are required at all times and certain facilities (like coat check) will be shuttered where social distancing is not possible. Both museums will be now be closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays until further notice, but the new timed ticketing systems should prevent anyone from accidentally showing up to closed doors.

What will you see come October? Some of the exhibitions halted mid-run when shutdown started remain on view (I urge you, if you didn’t get a chance six months ago, to see Dawoud Bey’s retrospective and the Thought Pieces show at SFMOMA), but the months of closure have given both institutions plenty of time to install new shows just right.

An installation view of Jean Shin, 'Pause' at the Asian Art Museum. (Asian Art Museum)

New to viewers at SFMOMA are two artist commissions by Bay Area artists Muzae Sesay and Twin Walls Mural Company (Elaine Chu and Marina Perez-Wong), and the David Park retrospective originally slated to open April 11. The revised exhibition schedule pushes several previously planned shows into later months, and, in the case of Diego Rivera’s Pan American Unity, to be installed in the Roberts Family Gallery facing Howard Street, into next year (spring 2021). The accompanying exhibition, Diego Rivera’s America, will now open at SFMOMA in 2022.


The Asian Art Museum reopens with Awaken: A Tibetan Buddhist Journey Toward Enlightenment (a show of Himalayan Buddhist paintings, sculptures and textiles); Jean Shin’s installation of discarded cell phones and computer cables, Pause; ink paintings by Chinese artist Chang Dai-chien; and Lost at Sea, an illuminating show about art recovered from shipwrecks. Chanel Miller’s I am, I was, I will be, installed during shelter in place, is semi-visible from Hyde Street but not yet open to visitors inside the museum. Like the de Young, the Asian Art Museum is offering free admission to essential workers.

Find all the specific details on safety precautions and ticketing, via SFMOMA and the Asian Art Museum.