Portraits and Other Likenesses from SFMOMA on View at the Museum of the African Diaspora


Jointly organized by the Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD) and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), Portraits and Other Likenesses from SFMOMA brings together about 50 carefully selected artworks that explore the dynamic role of portraiture in modern and contemporary art.


On view from May 8 to Oct. 11, this landmark collaboration will activate numerous spaces in the newly renovated MoAD, and will be the most extensive exhibition in MoAD’s 10-year history.

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“Since reopening last year, MoAD has been committed to delivering vibrant, relevant exhibitions in our reimagined space,” said MoAD executive director Linda Harrison. “We were thrilled to be asked by SFMOMA to collaborate on developing a show of work by artists from the African Diaspora and Latin America, and I’m grateful for the creative hard work of cocurators Caitlin Haskell and Lizzetta LeFalle-Collins.


“The closure of SFMOMA for expansion construction has provided us a tremendous opportunity to partner with many of our peer cultural institutions, like MoAD,” said Neal Benezra, director of SFMOMA. “We are delighted to share these collaborations with our community, and look forward to continuing to build on this strong foundation of relationships when our museum reopens next spring.”


Featuring works ranging in date from the 1920s to the present, Portraits and Other Likenesses demonstrates how artists interested in issues of identity have negotiated African, European, and American visual-cultural forms to broaden our understanding of what it means to make a portrait.


Placing historical artworks in dialogue with pieces created and acquired more recently, the exhibition examines how portraiture has evolved from a form of personal identification to a genre as invested in fiction, subversion, stereotype, and fantasy as it is in the description of physical traits.


The selection of works—more than half of them displayed for the first time as part of SFMOMA’s collection—encompasses paintings, sculptures, photographs, and media art.


The exhibition additionally includes a newly commissioned multimedia installation by Mickalene Thomas, Between Ourselves Together (2015), which places her large-scale photograph from SFMOMA’s collection—Sista Sista Lady Blue (2007)—alongside related photographs and a film in an immersive setting designed to evoke a 1970s living room.


Cocurated by LeFalle-Collins, guest curator for MoAD, and Haskell, assistant curator of painting and sculpture at SFMOMA, the exhibition also will include key pieces by Romare Bearden, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, David Hammons, Mildred Howard, Consuelo Kanaga, Wifredo Lam, Glenn Ligon, Nicole Miller, Chris Ofili, Lorna Simpson, Joaquin Trujillo, Kara Walker, Carrie Mae Weems and Fred Wilson, among others.


Tickets available at sfmoma.org and moad.org.


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