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Modernism Inc.
724 Ellis Street
San Francisco, CA 94109
415 541 0461

Also at:
Modernism West
2534 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
415-541-0461
Founded in 1979, Modernism has since presented more than 450 exhibitions, both historical and contemporary, in media ranging from painting to photography, sculpture to performance, by an international roster of artists. Throughout its 37 years, owner Martin Muller has striven to keep the gallery's challenging, museum quality program at the forefront of the art world. Early landmarks included being the first gallery to show Andy Warhol in the Bay Area (1982), and holding the first exhibition on the West Coast (in a gallery or museum) of the Russian Avant-Garde 1910-1930 (1980, 17 more retrospectives have since been mounted). In the 1990s Modernism highlighted its strong abstract program with the exhibition of "Four Abstract Classicists" (1993), a recreation of the show presented by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 1959, while at the same time introducing America to the confrontational, and ofttimes disturbing, conceptual works of Austrian born artist Gottfried Helnwein (1992). Modernism will celebrate its 38th anniversary in October, and with it, many more firsts of recent years, including the first major exhibition of the works of Le Corbusier on the West Coast (2003), and in 2006, the first major retrospective in the U.S. of the paintings, drawing, collages, and photographs of Erwin Blumenfeld. In addition to the milestones above, Modernism prides itself on the scope of its program: Historical exhibitions encompass areas including Dada, Cubism, Surrealism, Vorticism, German Expressionism, and foremost, the Russian Avant-Garde 1910-1930. The contemporary program features rotating shows, six to seven weeks in duration, of the nearly 50 gallery artists—including various representational and abstract modes, sociopolitical, and conceptual works—presented at both Modernism and Modernism West, as well as at art fairs in the United States and Europe. Modernism publishes numerous books, monographs, catalogs, and fine art editions.
Artists Represented:

Alex and Mushi
Elina Anatole
Charles Arnoldi
Gary Baseman
Glen Baxter 
Jean-Charles Blais
Erwin Blumenfeld 
Lucien Clergue
R. Crumb
Judy Dater
Elena Dorfman 
Michael Dweck 
Damian Elwes
Sheldon Greenberg 
Frederick Hammersley 
Duncan Hannah
James Hayward 
Gottfried Helnwein
Tony Hernandez
Shawn Huckins
Bill Kane
Jerry Kearns 
Jonathon Keats
Naomie Kremer
Lindsay McCrum
John M. Miller
Andreas Nottebohm 
Patti Oleon
Ivan A. Puni
Mel Ramos
John Register
Peter Sarkisian
Ben Schonzeit 
David Simpson 
Stephen Somerstein 
Robert Stivers
Mark Stock
Sam Tchakalian 
Mark Ulriksen  
Jacques Villeglé 
Robert Wilson 
Stéphane Zagdanski 

Works Available By:

Alexander K. Bogomazov 
Vasili D. Ermilov 
Albert Gleizes 
Ivan V. Kliun
Henri Hayden
Le Corbusier
Kazimir S. Malevich 
Ilya I. Mashkov 
Edvard Munch 
Georges Valmier
Kirill M. Zdanevich
Andy Warhol

 

 
Modernism Gallery - Interior 2
Modernism Gallery - Exterior
Modernism Gallery - Interior
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Current Exhibition

Damian Elwes

Artist Studios: From Picasso to Kusama

724 Ellis Street
San Francisco, CA 94109

September 12, 2019 - October 26, 2019
In the 1940s, Henri Matisse advised young artists to make copies of their favorite paintings. Nearly half a century later, Damian Elwes decided to follow his advice with a twist. "I went to Paris and made paintings of the studios of my favorite artists," Elwes says. What began as a way of learning from deceased masters—including Matisse—has developed into a vast body of visually- and conceptually-rich work to be exhibited in a solo show at Modernism Gallery in September. Elwes has painted the studios of great artists ranging from Claude Monet and Paul Gauguin to Pablo Picasso and Yayoi Kusama to Roy Lichtenstein and David Hockney. His lush canvases not only reference their work aesthetically but also excavate their creative processes by meticulously reconstructing spaces that no longer exist. To research each artwork, Elwes delves deeply into history, scrutinizing dozens of photographs and literary sources as well as the masters' own paintings. He also seeks out the buildings where the artists' studios were once situated. In the case of Matisse, his sleuthing resulted in the rediscovery of the house in Collioure where the artist invented Fauvism in 1905. In others he successfully reconstructed the original arrangement of objects and furniture. "The sense of painterly well-being that pervades [Elwes' canvases] comes from painstaking research," explains the art critic Anthony Haden-Guest. "Elwes wants the viewer to feel he is witnessing creation... to feel what it is like to inhabit each of these painters." For Elwes, there's also the conviction that these studios are found compositions. "These people were so visual that even the negative space has been thought about," Elwes observes. "So what I'm doing is painting thousands of still lives laid out for me by the most creative minds of the last century." Picasso's many studios, as painted by Elwes, are emblematic. Included in this exhibition will be a special installation of the panoramic eight-panel painting of Picasso’s studio at Villa La Californie, Cannes, 1956. Elwes spent more than twelve years creating this monumental, immersive painting, which depicts hundreds of works of art that Picasso worked on in that year. In historical terms, Elwes' canvases represent an invaluable contribution to the understanding of how some of the 20th Century's greatest artists were influenced by their physical surroundings. In conceptual terms, the paintings are absolutely contemporary, reactivating familiar masterpieces through recontextualization, as has been achieved in different ways by Roy Lichtenstein, John Baldessari, Jeff Wall and Cindy Sherman. Damian ELWES (born 10 August 1960) is a British artist who lives and works in Santa Monica, California. His work has been exhibited in galleries and museums across America and Europe, and was most recently the subject of a retrospective at the Musée en Herbe, Paris, in 2018. The public is cordially invited to attend an opening reception on Thursday, September 12th, from 5:30-8PM. image: Yayoi Kusama’s Studio (Tokyo, 2012), 2018, acrylic on canvas, 60 x 84 inches

 
Past Exhibitions

Jonathon Keats

Pioneers of the Greater Holocene

724 Ellis Street
San Francisco, CA 94109

September 5, 2019 - September 5, 2019
GRASSROOTS INITIATIVE WILL TERRAFORM CITIES TO QUASH THE ANTHROPOCENE Pioneers Of The Greater Holocene Will Launch In San Francisco On September 5th – Modernism Gallery Will Host Debut Event – Global Expansion Will Be Coordinated By New University Institute August 12, 2019 – As the International Union of Geological Sciences assesses human impact on the planet, determining whether our species has triggered a new geological epoch, a grassroots organization has begun a global effort to give back Earth's crust to all forms of life. The Pioneers of the Greater Holocene will survey spaces shared by humans and other organisms, documenting symbiotic living arrangements as inspiration for future ecosystems, while simultaneously collaborating with non-human species to renegotiate the realms that Homo sapiens dominates today. "The International Union of Geological Sciences is expected soon to proclaim a new epoch dubbed the Anthropocene," says experimental philosopher Jonathon Keats, founding president of the Pioneers. "While their work is laudable, we need to take it as a challenge. We should do all we can to protect and promote the Holocene, the geological epoch we inherited." With the launch of a San Francisco chapter on September 5th, the Pioneers will systematically catalogue places in the Bay Area where attributes of the Holocene still endure, from Muir Woods to the weeds growing out of Mission District sidewalk cracks. These will not only serve as models for Holocenic revival elsewhere in the world, but also may provide scientific grounds for remaining within the current epoch as we contend with Anthropocenic excess. "Geologists have a fixed procedure for deciding when a new epoch begins," Mr. Keats explains. They must identify a material change in Earth's strata – such as the global impact of an asteroid strike – and then stake out geological evidence of the transition with a golden spike. "Until the spike is struck, we have an opportunity to preserve the Holocene by curtailing use of Anthropocenic substances such as industrial fertilizers, fly ash and plastics, and changing the socioeconomic systems that bring environmental ruin. We have the potential to bound the human stratum, and perhaps even to remediate it, putting the Anthropocene behind us as an unfortunate geological interlude." To offset the Anthropocene, and to foster ecosystems where all life can thrive, the Pioneers will collaborate with plants, fungi and bacteria to rewild the planet. In San Francisco, a city undergoing rapid development, the organization will distribute seed packets containing native grasses that will take root wherever people spread them, from empty lots to busy streets. Over time, these grasses will provide the groundwork for forests to flourish within the urban matrix, not as decorative features for humans but as habitats where all species meet as equals. The organization will also provide a special nutrient mix for lichens, symbiotic organisms capable of transforming concrete into soil while also purifying the atmosphere. "We can't direct how this formula may be washed over skyscrapers, any more than we can officially sanction appropriation of jackhammers to plow through highway asphalt and plant the interstates with grass," says Mr. Keats. "The Bay Area has a reputation for disruption. Preventing a new epoch by re-terraforming the planet is the ultimate disruptive act." Eventually comprising a global network of concerned humans and other organisms from all phyla, the Pioneers are expected to become a force of nature. Members will also actively support environmental scientists through their documentation of Holocenic ecosystems they find and create, contributing photographic records to the archive of a new Institute for the Greater Holocene. Opening in the fall of 2020, and hosting a major exhibition on life after the Anthropocenic interlude, the Institute will be situated at a major state university, the name of which will soon be released. "The Holocene began with the end of the last ice age 11,700 years ago," observes Mr. Keats. "Since interglacial periods typically last 40,000 years, we should be able to enjoy our epoch for another twenty-five to thirty millennia. This layer of crust we live on is really quite pleasant. We can probably sustain it, and be sustained by it, if we don't give in to Anthropocenic fatalism." ... The Pioneers of the Greater Holocene will hold a special launch event on Thursday, September 5th from 5:30 to 8:00 at Modernism Gallery, 724 Ellis St., San Francisco, CA. Visits can be arranged by appointment through September. For more information, call 415/541-0461, email info@modernisminc.com, or visit www.modernisminc.com/artists/Jonathon_KEATS/ ... Acclaimed as a "poet of ideas" by The New Yorker and a "multimedia philosopher-prophet" by The Atlantic, Jonathon Keats is an artist, writer and experimental philosopher. His conceptually-driven interdisciplinary projects explore all aspects of society through science and technology. In recent years, he has installed a camera with a thousand-year-long exposure time – documenting the long-term effects of climate change – at the Arizona State University Art Museum; launched a reciprocal biomimicry initiative – allowing non-human species to benefit from human technologies – at Bucknell University; opened a photosynthetic restaurant serving gourmet sunlight to plants at the Crocker Art Museum; and installed a cosmic welcome mat – greeting beings from throughout the universe – at the International Astronautical Congress. Exhibited internationally, Keats's projects have been documented by PBS, Reuters, and the BBC World Service, garnering favorable attention in periodicals ranging from Science to Flash Art to Slate to The Economist. He is the recipient of multiple Yaddo and MacDowell Fellowships, and has lectured at institutions including Stanford University, the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), which awarded him a 2015-16 Art + Technology Lab Grant. His latest book, You Belong to the Universe: Buckminster Fuller and the Future has recently been published by Oxford University Press, which also published his previous book, Forged: Why Fakes Are the Great Art of Our Age. He was recently the Black Mountain College Legacy Fellow at the University of North Carolina - Asheville, and is currently a Research Fellow at the Nevada Museum of Art's Center for Art + Environment, a Polar Lab Artist at the Anchorage Museum, and an Artist-in-Residence at both the Fraunhofer Institutes in Germany and UC Berkeley's Sagehen Creek Field Station in California. A monograph about his art is forthcoming from the Anchorage Museum and Hirmer Verlag. He is represented by Modernism Gallery in San Francisco.

Laurie Lipton

Ex Machina

724 Ellis Street
San Francisco, CA 94109

July 10, 2019 - August 31, 2019
Modernism is pleased to present its first one-person exhibition of drawings by Los Angeles-based artist Laurie LIPTON. “In intricate drawings, Lipton seductively leads us into the drama of a fun house world where technology has gone wild. Her artistic vision is unique in contemporary art and can be easier associated to the apocalyptic cinematic vision of Ridley Scott’s BLADE RUNNER (1982) and Terry Gilliam’s BRAZIL (1985)”. —Robert Flynn Johnson, Curator Emeritus, Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco Lipton’s work presents unflinching commentary on the complexities of modern life, both in society at large and for individuals, including the horrors of war, alienation caused by technology, and our “post-truth” world where everything washes over us like fiction. The public is cordially invited to attend an opening reception on Wednesday, July 10th, from 5:30-8PM. To read the full press release please visit our website. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CALL: 415/541-0461 / FAX: 415/541-0425, OR EMAIL TO: info@modernisminc.com. HI-RES IMAGES AVAILABLE ON REQUEST.

Peter Sarkisian

Videomorphic Figures

724 Ellis Street
San Francisco, CA 94109

July 10, 2019 - August 31, 2019
Modernism is pleased to present a solo exhibition of recent works by Peter SARKISIAN, a Santa Fe-based new-media artist. All of Sarkisian’s work is grounded in the idea that video, in it’s ubiquitous and most popular form, is an experientially void medium, and that by depriving ourselves of experience in favor of information-based images, we have become unable to grasp the meaning of consequence or to coexist with mutual understanding. His installations therefore attempt to steer the world’s most influential medium back on a collision course with the viewer in order to reintroduce an element of experience to the viewing process. If the filmmaker’s traditional goal is to distract viewers through the suspension of self-awareness, then Sarkisian’s goal is to create a sense of heightened self-awareness by engaging the viewer in constructed environments that blur the line between what is real and what is mediated. "The Videomorphic figures—a phrase Sarkisian coined to describe the video/sculptural hybrid form—are comprised of 3D printed forms onto which animated motions and gestures are projected. Although the robots are noteworthy in part because of their overly cartoon-like compositions, the increasing sophistication of Sarkisian’s projections situates them in a place of the uncanny, where it is easy to reassure oneself at one moment that these objects have not and can never be alive, while still being lured into occasional moments of doubt when the combination of solid form and lifelike motion let us glimpse a world of the future, when actual robots, in the form of charming humanoids will be our near-constant companions." —Dan Cameron, Curator (Excerpt from catalogue essay for the exhibition Sarkisian & Sarkisian, organized by the Orange County Museum of Art, 2014) WATCH VIDEO OF THE VIDEOMORPHIC FIGURES at https://vimeo.com/79895782 The public is invited to attend an opening reception on Wednesday, July 10, from 5:30 to 8pm. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CALL: 415/541-0461 / FAX: 415/541-0425 OR EMAIL: info@modernisminc.com HI-RES IMAGES UPON REQUEST.

Philippe Gronon

Versos

724 Ellis Street
San Francisco, CA 94109

May 16, 2019 - June 29, 2019

Elena Dorfman

Still Lovers and Transmutations

724 Ellis Street
San Francisco, CA 94109

April 11, 2019 - May 10, 2019
Reception for the artist Thursday, April 11, 2019 from 5:30 - 8:00pm

Richard P. Doyle, Jr. and Mark Ulriksen

Game Time

724 Ellis Street
San Francisco, CA 94109

April 11, 2019 - May 10, 2019
Reception for the artists Thursday, April 11, 2019 from 5:30 - 8:00pm

Mel Ramos

Memorial Exhibition

724 Ellis Street
San Francisco, CA 94109

March 7, 2019 - April 6, 2019
Modernism is pleased to present a Memorial Exhibition celebrating the life and work of Mel RAMOS. Opening Reception Thursday, March 7, 2019 from 5:30 - 8pm

Mel Ramos

Memorial Exhibition

724 Ellis Street
San Francisco, CA 94109

March 7, 2019 - April 6, 2019

Valentin Popov & Victor Sydorenko

Collected Moments

2534 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94110

February 20, 2019 - April 1, 2019
Reception for the artists Wednesday, February 20th, 6-8pm at Modernism West/Foreign Cinema. Hours: M-F 6-10pm, Sat-Sun 11am-10pm. Call 415-648-7600 to confirm access.

Lindsay McCrum

Chicks with Guns

724 Ellis Street
San Francisco, CA 94109

January 10, 2019 - February 23, 2019
Reception for the artist is Thursday, January 10, 5:30 - 8 pm

ALEXANDMUSHI

Push Me Pull You

724 Ellis Street
San Francisco, CA 94109

November 8, 2018 - December 22, 2018
Opening reception Thursday, November 8, 5:30-8pm

Patti Oleon

Somewhere Else

724 Ellis Street
San Francisco, CA 94109

November 8, 2018 - December 22, 2018
Opening reception Thursday, November 8th, 5:30-8pm

Charles Arnoldi

Recent Paintings

724 Ellis Street
San Francisco, CA 94109

September 12, 2018 - October 27, 2018
Reception for the artist Wednesday, September 12 from 5:30-8pm

Shawn HUCKINS

Fool's Gold

724 Ellis Street
San Francisco, CA 94109

July 11, 2018 - September 8, 2018
The public is cordially invited to attend an opening reception on Wednesday, July 11th, from 5:30-8PM.

Mark ULRIKSEN

Something in the Air

724 Ellis Street
San Francisco, CA 94109

July 11, 2018 - September 8, 2018
Reception for the Artist Wednesday, July 11 from 5:30-8 PM

Bill Kane

Emanations

2534 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94110

June 28, 2018 - September 3, 2018
Reception for the artist June 28, from 6-8PM at Modernism West/Foreign Cinema. Hours: M-F 6-10pm, Sat-Sun 11am-10pm. Call 415-648-7600 to confirm access.

Seth Tane

Trading Places

724 Ellis Street
San Francisco, CA 94109

May 10, 2018 - June 30, 2018
Opening reception May 10 from 5:30-8PM

Judy Dater

Personas: A survey of works from 1965-2016

724 Ellis Street
San Francisco, CA 94109

May 10, 2018 - June 30, 2018
Opening reception May 10 from 5:30-8PM

Jacques VILLEGLÉ

Traces: Décollages from 1956-2000

724 Ellis Street
San Francisco, CA 94109

March 15, 2018 - April 28, 2018
Opening reception Thursday, March 15, 5:30-8pm