2017 Exhibition Schedule

Release date 
Thursday, June 1, 2017
as of October 2016
Titles and dates of future exhibitions are subject to change.
Please contact the PR office to confirm.

Chris Fraser, Emmanuelle, 2012. Glass Microspheres attached to plate glass on Aluminum disc with LED light source; 24 x 1 1/4 inches; Museum purchase with funds contributed by the Council of 100.

Your Mind, This Moment: art and the practice of attention
February 17, 2017 – August 27, 2017

The average museum visitor spends about fifteen seconds in front of a work of art—and in fact spends a good chunk of that small blip of time reading the wall label. What can you really see in just fifteen seconds? This exhibition is an experiment. It asks if we might entice visitors to linger, with greater openness of mind, in front of the minimalist, abstract, or conceptual works in the collection by enlisting the patient practices of mindfulness meditation, so widely popular today. Drawn from the San Jose Museum of Art permanent collection, this exhibition will include works by by Anne Appleby, Lesley Dill, Chris Fraser, Mineko Grimmer, Tam Van Tran and others.

The Water Cycle


With California in the sixth year of drought, issues around water are at the forefront of political, social, legal, and artistic activism. San Jose Museum of Art will present a trio of projects to encourage visitors to reflect on the precious yet public nature of this natural resource.

Diana Al-Hadid, Nolli’s Orders, 2012; Steel, polymer gypsum, fiberglass, wood, foam, plaster, aluminum foil, and pigment; 156 x 264 x 228 inches; Courtesy of the artist and Marianne Boesky Gallery.

Diana Al-Hadid: Liquid City
February 24, 2017 – September 24, 2017

Diana Al-Hadid’s monumental sculpture Nolli’s Orders (2012) will anchor the SJMA’s central skylight gallery like a baroque fountain enlivening a public piazza in Rome. Referring to Giambattista Nolli’s 1748 map of Rome, the sculpture brings together themes from architecture, the history of art, and urban planning. The Syrian-American artist reimagines Renaissance and classical monuments and figures as sculptures that seem to disintegrate and drip. In doing so she questions established notions of Western European culture and its relevance to contemporary life across the globe. Al-Hadid is fascinated by boundaries—where something begins and ends—and asks how we define or belong to a place, be it architectural, sculptural, or experiential. Diana Al-Hadid: Liquid City spotlights the artist’s personal emphasis on creative process. It will include wall works that pertain to architectural themes, including a sculptural piece of polymer gypsum and a drawing on mylar from the artist’s personal collection. Primary source materials by Italian masters to whom Al-Hadid refers will also be included.

Ansel Adams, Snake River, 1942. Gelatin silver print; © Courtesy Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust.

Fragile Waters: Photographs by Ansel Adams, Ernest H. Brooks II, and Dorothy Kerper Monnelly
March 17, 2017 – August 6, 2017

Fragile Waters will celebrate and encourage dialog about water conservation through 117 black-and-white photographs by three artists whose work spans a century. Ansel Adams’s early prints, made from 8 x 10-inch glass plate negatives, are some of the most iconic images in the history of photography. His reputation as an artist is matched by his role as a founder of the modern conservation movement. Ernest H. Brooks II is a renowned underwater photographer and climate-change activist whose work has been exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, and other museums. Dorothy Kerper Monnelly has devoted her long career to landscape photography and conservation advocacy. She has received particular acclaim for her projects on marshes and ecosystems in Massachusetts. The exhibition is organized by Jeanne Falk Adams, the former director of the Ansel Adams Gallery in Yosemite National Park.

Kvhay Samnang, Untitled, 2011. Digital C-Print, 80 × 120 cm, Image Courtesy Artist and SA SA BASSAC.

The Darkened Mirror: Global Perspectives on Water
April 7, 2017 – October 29, 2017

Artists from around the globe explore our conflicted relationship with water from a 21st-century point of view. These artists use video and installation to address issues such as water access and ownership in Cambodia, agricultural irrigation in the American Southwest, the ethical implications of desert settlements, and river pollution in India. The exhibition will include work by Vibha Galhotra (India), Gerco de Ruijter (The Netherlands), Amy Balkin (United States), Khvay Samnang (Cambodia), and Jesper Just (United States).


Victor Cartagena, Burrocracia, 2016; Paper, charcoal, string, and motors; Dimensions variable; Courtesy of the artist.

Beta Space: Victor Cartagena
March 17, 2017 – September 4, 2017

For the fifth iteration in the exhibition series “Beta Space,” multi-media artist Victor Cartagena will explore issues related to migrant farm workers in Silicon Valley. Cartagena takes a particular interest in the history of sugar workers and the plights that migrant farmers face today. He will analyze outdated public policy that creates unnecessary paperwork and financial obstacles for migrant farm workers in a kinetic paper mural to span the full length of a gallery wall. Cartagena will position his carefully constructed, human-scale paper dolls in a choreographed “dance” of bureaucratic chaos. He will also work with local members of the United Farm Workers union on a series of “sugar masks” as a comment on the anonymity of farm labor. “Beta Space” encourages artistic risk taking and experimentation and invites artists to draw upon the rich and varied cultural, environmental, social, and technological landscape of Santa Clara County.

Cindy Sherman, Untitled, Film Still #5, 1977. Gelatin silver print; 6 ¾ x 9 ½ inches; The Audrey and Sydney Irmas Collection; AC1992.197.112.

This Is Not A Selfie: Photographic Self-Portraits from the Audrey and Sydney Irmas Collection
August 24, 2017 – January 14, 2018

This exhibition and accompanying illustrated catalogue look at the primacy and variety of expression through self-portraiture from the vantage of the “age of the selfie.” While the selfie can be considered a common version of the self-portrait genre, it is often a vastly different from the self-portrait in the hands of an artist. By blurring the distinction between reality and fantasy, artifice and authenticity, and public and private imagery, the artists whose work is included in This Is Not a Selfie carefully fabricate photographs that expand the domain of self-portraiture. With the selfie firmly in place, it is a particularly prescient moment to revisit the enduring pursuit of the photographic self. The exhibition includes photographs by Robert Mapplethorpe, Catherine Opie, Cindy Sherman, Lorna Simpson, Alfred Stieglitz, and Andy Warhol, among others. It traces themes of self-reflection, performance, confrontation, and memory from early nineteenth-century experiments through to contemporary digital techniques. The sixty-eight self-portraits included are drawn from the Audrey and Sydney Irmas Collection, which is considered the single most significant collection of the subject in the United States. The exhibition is organized collaboratively with Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Louise Nevelson, Sky Cathedral, 1957 – 58. Painted wood; 57 x 149 x 16 inches; Gift of Beverly and Peter Lipman.

Louise Nevelson: The Fourth Dimension (working title)
September 15, 2017 – March 18, 2018

A New Yorker for most of her life, Louise Nevelson created dramatic and monumental sculptures often made from found objects and discarded pieces of wood gathered from city streets. Like the artist herself, Nevelson’s work seems to possess the irresistible energy of the city, at once taciturn yet teeming with life. Nevelson came to prominence in the 1950s with a body of work called Sky Cathedral, sculptural environments of stacked, wooden boxes filled with assemblages and spray painted black. This exhibition will focus on one of the earliest of these large, monochromatic wall reliefs, Sky Cathedral (1957 – 58) which is in SJMA’s collection. Nevelson originally made this long, horizontal piece to go over the bar in her brother’s Thorndike Hotel in Rockland, Maine.

Thomas Hart Benton, Cradling Wheat, 1939. Lithograph and ink; 9 ½ x 12 inches; Gift of Josephine Chandler, San Jose.

The American Scene: Prints from the Collection (working title)
September 17, 2017 – July 8, 2018

During the first half of the twentieth century, the United States experienced tremendous change. Rapid urbanization of New York and the nation’s expansion westward swiftly gave way to the decade-long economic downturn of the Great Depression, which was lifted in part by America’s entry into World War II. This exhibition examines early twentieth-century American culture, society, and politics through prints produced by some of the leading artists of the time including Thomas Hart Benton, Edward Hopper, and Grant Wood. Twenty-nine prints from the San Jose Museum of Art’s collection will be on view for the first time since their acquisition in the early 1980s. Also included in the exhibition are works by Peggy Bacon, George Bellows, Asa Cheffetz, Phillip Cheney, John Costigan, Gerald Geerlings, Albert Heckman, Andrew Karoly, Clare Leighton, Martin Lewis, Louis Lozowick, Luigi Lucioni, William MacLean, Reginald Marsh, Jay McVicker, John Sloan, Charles Surendorf, Diane Thorne, and Otto Wackernagel.

The Propeller Group, Still from The Living Need Light, The Dead Need Music, 2014. Single-channel film; © The Propeller Group/Courtesy James Cohan, New York

The Propeller Group
October 26, 2017 – March 18, 2018

This exhibition is the first major survey dedicated to The Propeller Group, an artist collective based in Vietnam, and Los Angeles. Using forms of popular media and visual culture, they address questions about historical memory, cultural rituals, war, and global commerce from a perspective that challenges the West as the privileged vantage point. Their ambitious projects are frequently anchored in Vietnam’s history, yet extend to address global phenomena. The exhibition presents multi-part projects from the past five years, comprising videos and related objects. It is the first time that these projects have been shown together since the group was formed in 2006. Organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Blaffer Art Museum at the University of Houston, and the Phoenix Art Museum.

Continuing exhibitions

Diana Thater, Untitled (Butterfly Videowall #2), 2008. Five flat screen LCD monitors, Blu-ray player, Blu-ray disc, distribution amplifier, two fluorescent light fixtures, and Lee filters; Dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist and David Zwirner, New York.

Indestructible Wonder
through January 29, 2017

The precarious relationship between nature and humanity is the subject of this exhibition, drawn primarily from SJMA’s permanent collection. Like today’s grassroots environmentalists, many contemporary artists have been moved by a primal reverence for nature and thus prompted to raise questions about our rampant impact on the earth’s fragile ecosystems. Works range from Anne Appleby’s subtle, monochromatic record of the seasonal life cycle of a sage plant to Edward Burtynsky’s photographs of California oil fields to Diana Thater’s video meditation on the migration of monarch butterflies. Also included are works by Lisa Adams, Chester Arnold, Ruth Asawa, Sandow Birk, Val Britton, Evan Holm, Chris Jordan, Amy Kaufman, Michael Light, Danae Mattes, Richard Misrach, Nathan Redwood, Sam Richardson, Alyson Shotz, Kathryn Spence, Kirsten Stolle, and Gail Wight.

Milton Rogovin, Untitled, from the series “Working People, Amherst Foundry,” 1979. Gelatin silver print; 10 x 8 inches; Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Jon Vein.

Life and Labor: The Photographs of Milton Rogovin
through March 19, 2017

Milton Rogovin (1909–2011) was proud to call himself a “social-documentary photographer.” This exhibition presents thirty-eight photographs from three series: “Lower West Side, Buffalo” (1972–84), “Working People” (1976–87), and “Family of Miners” (1988–89). Rogovin shed light on important social issues of the times: the plight of miners; the decline of the once-robust steel industry in upstate New York; the everyday struggles of the poor and working class in Buffalo, New York, where he lived.

TheUnseen (London, England, United Kingdom, founded 2012): Lauren Bowker (British, b. 1985); Jacket, from the AIR collection, 2014; Leather, wind-reactive ink. Copyright: Jonny Lee Photography © TheUnseen

Beauty—Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial
October 8, 2016 – February 19, 2017

SJMA is the only West Coast venue for the latest global overview of design today, the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum’s popular contemporary design triennial. The New York Times heralded the exhibition as “an exciting opportunity to meditate on the perennially confounding questions: What is beauty? And what is it good for?” With projects ranging from experimental prototypes and interactive games to fashion and architectural structures made feasible by material innovations and nanotechnology, “Beauty” will feature more than 200 works by 60 designers from around the globe. Organized by the Cooper Hewitt’s Assistant Curator Andrea Lipps and Senior Curator of Contemporary Design Ellen Lupton, the exhibition explores beauty through seven lenses: extravagant, intricate, ethereal, transgressive, emergent, elemental and transformative. Beauty—Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial was organized by Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum.

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The San Jose Museum of Art celebrates new ideas, stimulates creativity, and inspires connection with every visit. Welcoming and thought-provoking, the Museum rejects stuffiness and delights visitors with its surprising and playful perspective on the art and artists of our time. SJMA is located at 110 South Market Street in downtown San Jose, California. The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday, 11 AM to 5 PM and until 8 PM on the third Thursday of each month. Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors, $6 for students with ID, $5 for youth ages 7 -17, and free to members and children 6 and under. For more information, call 408.271.6840 or visit www.SanJoseMuseumofArt.org.