SFMOMA new acquisitions include first NFT to enter collection

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) announced new acquisitions in January of 2023 made possible through purchase and gift. Sixty-three SFMOMA new acquisitions have been made for its expansive collection of modern and contemporary art. The works capture a vast spectrum of conceptual, aesthetic and material innovations and are made by a diverse range of artists from across the United States and the world.

Among the SFMOMA new acquisitions are works by 18 artists whose practices are represented in the museum’s collection for the first time, including paintings and works on paper by Troy Lamarr Chew II, Derek Fordjour, Toyin Ojih Odutola and Maja Ruznic; photographs by Yolanda Andrade, Emi Anrakuji, Anthony Lepore and Tokuko Ushioda; design works by Pentatonic and Peter Saville; an installation by Amalia Mesa-Bains; sculpture by Iman Issa, Suki Seokyeong Kang and Minouk Lim; and media arts installations by Rosa Barba, Richard Mosse, New Red Order (NRO) and Wu Tsang.

Additionally, SFMOMA new acquisitions for the first time include an NFT, becoming among the initial institutions in the country to collect this new digital art form. Final Transformation #2, 2022 is created by Lynn Hershman Leeson, a Bay Area artist who has been making works that address the interplay between technology, identity and the physical body since the 1960s. The piece is one of Hershman Leeson’s first NFTs and is based on her feminist feature film Conceiving Ada, 1997. It includes an excerpt of the 35mm film along with a text-based still image that nods to her installation Room #8, 2006–18, recently highlighted in the 2022 exhibition Speculative Portraits.

SFMOMA has had a long-standing relationship with the artist since the 1970s. Twenty years ago, SFMOMA launched the online commission Agent Ruby, 1998–2002 on the museum’s website—a pioneering project about AI and among the first online works to become represented in the collection. The NFT gift furthers SFMOMA’s commitment to collecting and presenting evolving artistic practices and the art of the future.

Among these outstanding SFMOMA new acquisitions are more works by Bay Area artists, including artist and activist Yolanda López; painter and musician Mike Henderson; photographer Alice Wong; and mixed media artists Sergio De La Torre and Chris Treggiari of the Sanctuary City Project and Susan O’Malley. Additional acquisitions include paintings and works on paper by Ewan Gibbs, Ellsworth Kelly, Marilyn Minter and Wayne Thiebaud; sculpture and mixed-media installations by Maren Hassinger, Amalia Mesa-Bains and Gay Outlaw; video work by Sky Hopinka; photographs by Kikuji Kawada, Zora J Murff, Catherine Opie and Cindy Sherman; and design works by Constantin Boym and Trenton Doyle Hancock.

“These recent acquisitions represent an incredible range of artistic vision and capture SFMOMA’s commitment to collecting works by artists from the region and across the globe. Several of the new acquisitions have already been installed, including the real-time video and multichannel sound installation Of Whales, 2022 by Wu Tsang in the museum’s atrium, as well as works by Susan O’Malley on the exterior of the museum,” Christopher Bedford, Helen and Charles Schwab Director of SFMOMA, said. “The presentations of these works are free to the public as part of our effort to create more welcoming and inclusive spaces across the museum. I am grateful to SFMOMA’s curatorial team for their vision and ongoing dedication to expanding the voices and narratives represented in our collection.”

ACQUISITION HIGHLIGHTS

Yolanda Andrade, Retrato de Una Amiga, 1982, and Cristo Te Ama / Christ Loves You, 1997

Yolanda Andrade (b. 1950, Villahermosa, Tabasco, Mexico; based in Mexico City) documented people in the open-air plazas of Mexico City, which were often the sites of parades and protests. Her work engaged with a wide range of subjects, from religion and ritual to sexual identity to the experiences of marginalized communities. Both of the acquired photographs highlight the cinematic and emotional quality of Andrade’s work and the ways in which she was able to capture the individuality of her subjects.

These are the first works by the artist to enter SFMOMA’s collection and part of the museum’s aim to expand its holdings of works by artists from Mexico.

Emi Anrakuji, Untitled 2, from the series ehagaki (picture postcard), ca. 2000–05

Emi Anrakuji (b. 1963, Tokyo, Japan; based in Tokyo) is known for creating intimate self-portraits spurred by her long recovery from brain cancer, which left her visually impaired and bedridden for 10 years. In her series ehagaki (picture postcard), Anrakuji overlays her self-portraits on vintage postcards collected by her grandfather at the turn of the 20th century. In Untitled 2, she captures her open mouth atop a dragon that references the founding of the Dōjō-ji temple in Wakayama, Japan, creating a work with multiple interpretations and emotional connotations.

This is the first work by Anrakuji to enter SFMOMA’s collection. It builds on the museum’s long-standing commitment to acquiring works by Japanese artists, which in the most recent round of acquisitions also includes works by Masahisa Fukase, Kikuji Kawada and Tokuko Ushioda.

Derek Fordjour, Fearless Foursome, 2013

Derek Fordjour, Fearless Foursome, 2013.
Derek Fordjour, Fearless Foursome, 2013; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, purchase through a gift of the Carmel Barasch Family Collection and Sarah Hoffmann; © Derek Fordjour; photo Don Ross, courtesy SFMOMA

Derek Fordjour (b. 1974, Memphis, Tennessee; based in New York) is best known for figurative paintings of Black athletes and performers that address the relationship between race, aspiration, access and exclusion, particularly in the context of American identity. Interested in the idea of the “all-American” athlete, Fordjour often emphasizes the close relationship between sports and entertainment. 

Fearless Foursome, which depicts four Black male athletes who each wear the same uniform, is an early exploration of these themes and was created at a critical moment in Fordjour’s career. Fearless Foursome marks the first work by the artist to enter SFMOMA’s collection.

Maren Hassinger, Untitled Rope, 1972

Maren Hassinger’s (b. 1947, Los Angeles, California; based in New York) practice is grounded in exploring our relationships to nature, to art, to the spaces we inhabit and to one another. Untitled Rope is among Hassinger’s earliest sculptures and is part of a large, ongoing body of work in which the artist both unraveled and re-knotted found rope made from natural fibers or wire. Composed of discarded rope that had been used as a hauling line on a ship, the sculpture is positioned directly on the floor and connotes a rhythm and pattern that is variable and meant to be responsive to the space. The contorted forms and corporeal associations of the segments evoke the artist’s lifelong interest in dance.

The work is currently on view for the first time in 50 years at SFMOMA in Afterimages: Echoes of the 1960s from the Fisher and SFMOMA Collections. It joins another work by Hassinger—Wind in the Garden, 1985—in the museum’s collection.

Yolanda López, Self-PortraitMother; and Grandmother from the series Three Generations: Tres Mujeres, 1975–76; and Runner: Hello, Hello, Hello! from the series ¿A Dónde Vas, Chicana? Getting through College, 1977

Yolanda López (b. 1942, San Diego, California; died 2021, San Francisco, California) was an artist, activist, educator and feminist, who created some of the most iconic images of the Chicana/o Movement in the 1960s and 70s and engaged with identity and representation in ways that continue to resonate today. The large-scale drawings and painting recently acquired by the museum are part of a body of work that López created in the mid-1970s to address the underrepresentation of Chicanas in art institutions. López challenged what she saw as the “lack of positive visual representations of Latin Americans” in mainstream media by portraying “Raza women as we see ourselves.”

These works join López’s iconic poster Who’s the Illegal Alien, Pilgrim?, 1981, in SFMOMA’s collection, ensuring significant representation of an artist who has made an indelible impact on the Bay Area and well beyond.   

New Red Order (NRO), Culture Capture: Crimes Against Reality, 2020

New Red Order is a “public secret society” facilitated by core contributors Adam Khalil (Ojibway; b. 1988 in Nyack, New York; based in New York); Zack Khalil (Ojibway; b. 1991 in Newton, Massachusetts; based in New York); and Jackson Polys (Tlingit; b. 1976 in Ketchikan, Alaska; based in New York). The group works with a wide network of “informants” or collaborators to create videos, installations and performances that confront colonial histories that continue to reverberate today.

 Culture Capture: Crimes Against Reality is part of a series of films that expose and explore the use of archives and monuments to perpetuate settler imagery and imagination. In this two-channel video, NRO digitally deconstructs high-profile monuments such as American sculptor James Earle Fraser’s End of the Trail, 1918 and his equestrian Theodore Roosevelt statue, which formerly stood in front of the American Museum of Natural History in New York, clearing space for Indigenous futures. 

Culture Capture: Crimes Against Reality will the first work by New Red Order to enter SFMOMA’s collection.


Toyin Ojih Odutola, Local News, 2021

Toyin Ojih Odutola (b. 1985 in Ile-Ife, Nigeria; based in New York) is a storyteller and visual artist best known for drawings of figures, interior architectures and landscapes that draw on diverse references ranging from art history to her own upbringing. Her drawings employ a distinctive method of mark-making, layering drawing mediums such as charcoal, pastel and pencil to highlight topographies of skin and surface. 

Local News is part of a new body of work, titled Satellite, that explores life in Eko—the traditional Yoruba name for today’s Lagos—in the year 2050 when the world is besieged by overpopulation and climate refugee migration. Local News premiered at SFMOMA as part of the artist’s New Work exhibition and is currently on view through January 22, 2023. This is the first work by Ojih Odutola to enter SFMOMA’s collection.

Susan O’Malley, BE HERE NOW, 2009; LOVE IS EVERYWHERE LOOK FOR IT, 2012; DO MORE OF WHAT YOU LOVE, 2015; IT IS POSSIBLE, 2015; and MAKE IT UP AS YOU GO, 2015

Susan O’ Malley (b. San Jose, California, 1976; died Berkeley, California, 2015) was a deeply admired and beloved Bay Area artist, curator and writer, whose work often took the form of simple messages framed within vibrant color schemes and produced in a variety of media, from tiny buttons to posters to billboards. The works were envisioned to use straightforward communications to bring understanding, love, healing and meaning to people.

The five works entering the collection relate closely to her larger project, Advice from My 80-Year-Old Self, 2015, which resulted in both a suite of 16 prints that SFMOMA acquired in 2015 and a best-selling book. The newly acquired large-scale works are installed in SFMOMA’s Howard Street corridor to enliven the museum’s exterior and create a sense of welcome for visitors and passersby.

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