How many times have you read that a group “is thrilled to announce” the publication of a book, the staging of a play or the debut of an exhibition? Unequivocally, we can vouch it is heartfelt, that Director of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco Thomas Campbell is truly, deeply, really “thrilled to open our doors.” Just as the Uncanny Valley was in full throttle and Frida Kahlo: Appearances Can Be Deceiving about to open, the de Young and Legion of Honor had to shutter doors, leaving all their treasures to languish. So we’re thrilled, as well, to know that the de Young will be open to the public Friday, September 25th and the Legion later in October. See the attached press release with details on admission, including free access for essential workers and the Free Saturdays program.


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The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco announce the reopening of the de Young and Legion of Honor museums, following their temporary closure under the shelter-in-place order mandated by the City of San Francisco.

“As the city’s museums, we have been eager to be able to share the multifaceted art collections and exhibitions, with airy galleries, and green park settings of the de Young and Legion of Honor with our Bay Area audiences again,” states Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. “After many months of quarantine, we are thrilled to open our doors, and look forward to seeing members of our community engaging with art in our galleries.”

The de Young museum is scheduled to open to the public on Friday, September 25. In recognition of museum members’ continued dedication and support of the Museums, on September 22, 23, and 24 the de Young will be open to members only. The exhibition Frida Kahlo: Appearances Can Be Deceiving will premiere to Bay Area audiences, offering unique insight into Frida Kahlo's life through a treasure trove of clothes and personal items found in her home, La Casa Azul, upon her death, as well as a series of paintings, mostly self-portraits, and a gallery featuring photography. The exhibition examines Kahlo’s relationship to San Francisco — the first city she visited in the US and where she began to cultivate her now-iconic Tehuana style and her identity as a painter. Members of the museums will be able to enjoy exclusive access to Frida Kahlo: Appearances Can Be Deceiving every Wednesday throughout the exhibition.

Uncanny Valley: Being Human in the Age of AI, an exhibition exploring the increasing human dependence on artificial intelligence, will reopen in an expanded version: Pierre Huyghe’s bronze sculpture Exomind, with a beehive at its head, will greet visitors in the Barbro Osher Sculpture Garden. The museum will also offer visitors a chance to experience its vast and varied permanent collections of American art, as well as arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas, among other holdings on view throughout the Young. 

The Museum Store at the de Young museum will be open.

de Young Powers Greek Slave

The Legion of Honor will be open to the public mid October. Prior to the museum’s general opening, members will be invited to visit for pre-opening Member days. The film and installation Alexandre Singh: A Gothic Tale, which draws inspiration from the nineteenth-century Gothic revival as well as San Francisco’s place in film noir history, has been extended and will be on view through the fall. In addition, visitors will be able to journey through the museum’s European painting and decorative arts collections, as well as explore its newly installed gallery of ancient art.

From the reopening through December 2021, the Museums will offer free general admission for essential workers, who will also receive a $15 discount on tickets to special exhibitions.

Continuing the Museums’ popular Free Saturdays program, general admission to the de Young and Legion of Honor museums will be free every Saturday for all residents of the nine-county Bay Area. Since the founding of the program, admission costs are underwritten by a generous, dedicated gift from Diane B. Wilsey, Chair Emerita of the Corporation of the Fine Arts Museums (COFAM) board of trustees. The Free Saturdays program was originally launched on April 6, 2019, to expand access for all residents of San Francisco. In its first year it expanded to cover residents of the entire Bay Area and in total welcomed almost 80,000 visitors. The first Free Saturday at the de Young museum will be September 26. 

Next week we’ll report on the Friday opening, but for now, plan to see the newly extended Uncanny Valley: Being Human in the Age of AI, and enjoy our conversation with curator Claudia Schmuckli about how art can help us better perceive artificial intelligence, surveillance, police profiling, a changing environment and more.