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Olmec: Colossal Masterworks of Ancient Mexico

February 19, 2011May 8, 2011

Considered the “mother culture” of Mesoamerica and recognized as America’s oldest civilization, the people known today as the Olmec developed an iconic and sophisticated artistic style as early as the second millennium BC. The Olmec are best known for the creation of colossal heads carved from giant boulders that have fascinated the public and archaeologists alike since they were discovered in the mid-19th century.

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Ticket Information 

Admission to Olmec is $25 adults, $22 seniors 65+, $21 students with current ID, $15 youth 6–17, and free for members and children 5 and under. There is a $5 discount for purchasing tickets in advance.

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Olmec Community Friday Nights: March 25—May 6, 2011 

Every Friday from 5–8:45 pm view this exhibition for free. (Permanent collection and other special exhibitions not included.)

Funding for the San Francisco production of the exhibition is provided by the Phyllis C. Wattis Fund for Traveling Exhibitions

The exhibition was organized by the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in collaboration with the Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes—Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia de México.

INAH

The exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Education programs and events presented in conjunction with the exhibition are sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts, Wells Fargo, the Winifred Johnson Clive Foundation, Gail and Alec Merriam, the S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, Lauren L. T. Hall and David Hearth, and the Friends of AOA.

National Endowment for the ArtsWells Fargo

Olmec images

(Left to right) Colossal Head 5, 1200–900 BC. Museo de Antropologia de Xalapa, Universidad Veracruzana; Archaeologists study a monumental stone head discovered at the La Venta site in Tabasco State, Mexico. © Richard Hewitt Stewart / National Geographic Stock; Monument 1 (seated figure), 1200–900 BC. Museo de Antropologia de Xalapa, Universidad Veracruzana (Reg. 49 P.J. 4023). Object photos: Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes–Instituto Nacional de Antropologia e Historia–Mexico–Javier Hinojosa

Get Smart with Art 4–8th grade Reservation Request

Get Smart with Art—Guided Gallery Visits and Studio Art Activity, Grades 4–8

Tour and Studio Themes by Grade Level

  • Fourth Grade: California History: Native American Culture and Westward Expansion. In the studio we will create natural pigments and explore patterns inspired by natural elements.
  • Fifth Grade: American History: Colonial–Revolution. In the studio we will experience the process of composing a portrait for a patron.
  • Sixth Grade: Ancient Western Civilizations at the Legion of Honor.

Learning to Look K–3rd grade Reservation Request

Learning to Look—Guided Gallery Visits and Studio Art Activity Grades K–3

Tour and Studio Themes by Grade Level

  • Kindergarten: Students will explore shapes and lines while learning about overlapping and patterning in a community-centered project.
  • First Grade: We’ll be hunting for textures and patterns in the galleries so that we’re ready to work with clay in the studio.
  • Second Grade: There is symmetry, balance, and repetition all over the museum.

Pat Steir: After Hokusai, After Hiroshige

July 17, 2010February 10, 2011

Complementing Japanesque at the Legion of Honor, this exhibition shows the continued influence of the Japanese print on Western artists into the late twentieth century. American painter, printmaker, and conceptual artist Pat Steir (b. 1938) was the first artist selected by Kathan Brown in 1982 to travel to Japan to make a color woodcut for Crown Point Press’s groundbreaking printmaking program in Kyoto.

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Pat Steir: After Hokusai, after Hiroshige

Yellow Bridge in the Rain after Van Gogh after Hiroshige, 1985 Color monotype, spit-bite aquatint, and etching

To Dye For: A World Saturated in Color

July 31, 2010January 9, 2011

To Dye For features over 50 textiles and costumes from the Fine Arts Museums’ comprehensive collection of textiles from Africa, Asia and the Americas. A truly cross-cultural presentation, the exhibition showcases objects from diverse cultures and historical periods, including a tie-dyed mantle from the Wari-Nasca culture of pre-Hispanic Peru (500–900 A.D.), a paste-resist Mongolian felt rug from the 15th–17th century and a group of stitch-resist dyed 20th-century kerchiefs from the Dida people of the Ivory Coast.

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To Dye For: A World Saturated in Color is organized by the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and supported by Olive and Bruce Baganz, Dr. Donald Breyer, Mary F. Connors, Dr. Guido Goldman, Harry and Diane Greenberg, Thomas Murray, Francesca Passalacqua and Don Ed Hardy, S. Peter Poullada and Nancy Sheppard, San Francisco Tribal, and Fifi White. Additional support provided by Britex Fabrics, Judith and Reed Content, Barbara and Dolph Shapiro, and Peter and Beverly Sinton.

Left: Mat (mosen) for the tea ceremony, 19th century. Mongolia or China for the Japanese market Wool; felted, resist dyeing (tie-dye). Right: Felt rug, 15th–17th century, Mongolia. Wool; felt, stencil-resist dyed

Photo/Synthesis

May 1, 2010October 3, 2010

Photo/Synthesis highlights the dynamic trend in the field of contemporary photography, collages, assemblages, and other multi-part or composite photo-based projects. Dating from the 1960s to the present, the works in this exhibition transcend the limitations of traditional photography in which the camera simply captures a unique view or a decisive moment in time. Breaking free of the conventional frame, they are instead the products of various methods of assembling and organizing multiple photographic images into larger artistic statements.

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David Hockney (British, b. 1937), Luncheon at the British Embassy, Tokyo, Feb. 16, 1983 1983. Photocollage. 1996.74.183

I Keep Foolin’ Around: William T. Wiley as Printmaker

March 20, 2010July 4, 2010

Bay Area artist William T. Wiley (b. 1937) is well known as a painter, sculptor, and draftsman whose imagery is infused with a lively blend of satiric wit, cultural commentary, and storytelling. I Keep Foolin’ Around focuses on his significant work in printmaking and features prints from the museum’s collection, including its William T. Wiley Print Archive and the Crown Point Press Archive.

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It's Only a Pay Per Moon, 1974. Color lithograph on chamois with hand-coloring. 1978.1.179

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