Arts & Theater

Northern California art shows fill up the fall

Several exciting exhibitions loom on the horizon this fall at regional art museums.

The Crocker Art Museum, 216 O St., Sacramento, (916) 808-7000, has three major shows planned for the fall:

• First up is “Our America: The Latino Presence in American Art”, which opens Sept. 21 and runs through Jan. 11. Drawn from the collections of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the show focuses on the rich and varied contributions of Latino artists in the United States since the mid-20th century. With works in all mediums by 72 prominent artists, the show ranges from traditional landscapes, portraits and scenes of everyday life to contemporary movements such as abstract, activist, conceptual and performance art, including works by 25 living California artists, among them Enrique Chagoya, Rupert Garcia and Luis Cruz Azaceta.

• Two stimulating shows open Oct. 12 and run through Feb. 1. “Arte Mexicano: Legacy of the Masters” showcases the work and lives of modern Mexican artists in the 20th century including Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros, Rufino Tamayo, Remedios Varo and Leonora Carrington. The exhibition focuses on the artists’ responses to the post-revolutionary call for a distinctly Mexican visual art, ranging from the work of the Mexican muralists to forays into abstraction and surrealism. The show traces the impact of the Mexican Revolution, the proliferation of Mexican murals, pre-Columbian traditions and European artistic movements.

• “The Provoke Era: Contemporary Japanese Photography From the Collection of SFMOMA” features approximately 50 photographs representing the avant-garde tradition that emerged in Tokyo in the 1960s and ’70s. In the tumultuous period following World War II, a group of Japanese photographers responded to societal upheaval by creating a new visual language dubbed “Are, Bure, Boke” – rough, blurred and out of focus. Named for the magazine “Provoke,” which sought to break the rules of traditional photography, the show traces how Japanese photographers responded to their country’s shifting social and political atmosphere.

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Oakland Museum of California join their collections to present “Fertile Ground: Art and Community in California” at the Oakland Museum, 1000 Oak St., Oakland, (510) 318-8400. This innovative show, which tells the stories of four creative communities active in Northern California between the 1930s and the early 2000s, opens Sept. 20 and runs through April 12. Bringing together artworks and historical documents from monumental paintings to handwritten letters, the show focuses on four key moments in the history of California art:

• Murals, public art and Diego Rivera’s “Allegory of California” (1930s)

• Post-war at the California School of Fine Arts (1940s-’50s)

• UC Davis founding art faculty and students (1960s-’70s)

• The Mission scene (1990s-2000s)

Among the artists included are Rivera, Frida Kahlo, Mark Rothko, Richard Diebenkorn, David Park, Clyfford Still, Joan Brown, Robert Arneson, William T. Wiley, Wayne Thiebaud, Bruce Nauman, Barry McGee and Margaret Kilgallen.

The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco have two major shows planned for the fall:

• “Houghton Hall: Portrait of an English Country House” at the Legion of Honor, Lincoln Park, 34th Avenue at Clement Street, San Francisco, (415) 750-3600, opens Oct. 18 and runs through Jan. 18. The show presents a wonderful array of objects from one of Britain’s great country houses and reflects the history of the estate from the 18th century to the present day. On display will be interiors showcasing key architectural features, porcelain and silver objects, family portraits and paintings by William Hogarth, Thomas Gainsborough and Joshua Reynolds.

• “Keith Haring: The Political Line” at the De Young Museum, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, (415) 750-3600, opens Nov. 8 and runs through Feb. 16. The first major Haring show on the West Coast in nearly two decades, includes works that have not been published or on public view since the artist’s death in 1990. The show addresses questions of social justice and change that Haring devoted himself to. According to curator Dieter Buchhart, Haring believed that art was for everybody and fought against dictatorship, racism and capitalism. The exhibition features more than 130 works of art including large-scale paintings, sculptures and a number of the artist’s subway drawings. Having fought in his work and personal life to end the AIDS epidemic, he established the Keith Haring Foundation, from which much of the work in the show is drawn.

“Roads of Arabia: Archaeology and History of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” which opens Oct. 24 and runs through Jan. 18 at the Asian Art Museum, 200 Larkin St., San Francisco, (415) 581-3500, offers West Coast audiences a first look at recent archaeological discoveries from the Arabian peninsula. Funerary treasures from the tomb of a young royal girl buried nearly 2,000 years ago are among the surprising discoveries on display in this fascinating exhibition. Including more than 200 objects, the show reveals the Arabian peninsula as a cultural crossroads through trade and pilgrimage over thousands of years.

“Arnold Newman: Masterpieces” at the Contemporary Jewish Museum, 736 Mission St., San Francisco, (415) 655-7800, celebrates the singular vision of one of the most influential portrait photographers of the 20th century. Over the course of nearly seven decades, Newman (1918-2006) created images of some of the most prominent innovators, celebrities and cultural figures of his time, among them Martha Graham, Marilyn Monroe, Salvador Dali, Pablo Picasso, Philip Glass and Twyla Tharp. The exhibition takes stock of the entire range of Newman’s photographic art, including lesser-known and rarely shown still lifes, architectural studies and early portraits.

“American Wonder: Folk Art from the Collection” at the Berkeley Art Museum, 2626 Bancroft Way, Berkeley, (510) 642-080, opens Oct. 1 and runs through Dec. 21. The show includes approximately 50 portraits, landscapes, commemorative mourning pictures, weather vanes and decorative sculptures from the museum’s collection, ranging from the Revolutionary War to the onset of the Civil War. The vibrant show is drawn from one of the finest folk art collections in California.