Times are changing for the Mission as gentrification is squeezing out many of the artists who have called this dynamic neighborhood home for decades—but it’s still the best place to capture the ethos of artmaking in the city, from a wide range of highly regarded galleries to crucial institutions and nonprofits.
If you have a day:
11:00 a.m. | Contextualize yourself at SOMArts and Utah Street galleries
Even though it’s technically at the southernmost edge of SoMA, the nonprofit cultural center SOMArts (934 Brannan Street) is a great first stop for a day of art viewing in the Mission. Many of its Ramp Gallery exhibitions will help in understanding San Francisco’s critical art movements and commitments. Close by on Utah Street, the Hosfelt Gallery
(260 Utah Street), Catharine Clark Gallery
(248 Utah Street), George Lawson Gallery
(315 Potrero Avenue), and Brian Gross Fine Art
(248 Utah Street) represent a rigorous mix of emerging and established artists. (Find more galleries in the area listed below.)
2:00 p.m. | Immerse yourself in the global and the local
Further south in the Mission and across the street from each other, the artist-centered nonprofits Southern Exposure (3030 20th Street) and Kadist Art Foundation (3295 20th Street) both put on consistently thought-provoking, cutting-edge exhibitions and programming. Kadist’s residencies—and the resulting exhibitions—are particularly impressive. Kadist hosts both international artists as well as a pioneering magazine-in-residence program.
4:00 p.m. | An intellectual and playful end to the day
Deep in the heart of the Mission, the exhibitions at Ratio 3 Gallery (2831 Mission Street) and CULT | Aimee Friberg Exhibitions (3191 Mission Street) are utterly professional in the best sense of the word. In contrast to the twee crafts that line the major shopping thoroughfare of Valencia Street, these two galleries on Mission St. evidence a deep interest in salient issues of contemporary art—and what’s trending globally—along with a playful sophistication in their curation.