Ranking right alongside New York City and Los Angeles, San Francisco is one of the nation’s leading art capitals. From the iconic San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, to the endless sunny streets lined with vibrant murals, the city’s creative atmosphere is simply irresistible. One of the biggest highlights of San Francisco’s art scene, is its independent galleries. The city is chock full of them. Which is why we narrowed it down to the best art galleries in San Francisco to make planning your trip a bit easier.
7 of the Best Art Galleries in San Francisco
The 16th of its series of exhibition spaces, which span Paris, London, Rome, Athens, Paris and beyond, Gagosian is a big name in the world of art. Spanning 4,500 square feet, this world renowned art gallery holds some of the most influential pieces in the realms of modern and contemporary art. Throughout the yearly exhibits, you’ll find highly prized works of everything from Andy Warhol to Picasso and beyond.
Since opening the doors of her gallery in the early 70’s, Rena Bransten has worked tirelessly to seek out artists whose work inspires and empowers. With a heavy focus on societal and cultural significance, you can expect to find pieces that are moving, thought provoking and evoke self examination. In the decades since, she has moved from a focus on ceramic sculpture to a massive multidisciplinary focus including everything from paintings to video art to photography and beyond.
Housed on the ground floor of an early 1900’s mansion, Anthony Meier Fine Arts’ setting is as stunning as the pieces it contains. Emerging as a private art dealer in the 80s, Meier has spent 40 years honing his craft of curating fine art from all corners of the globe. His specialty? Post WWII contemporary. The gallery mounts five shows per year which are dedicated to showcasing mid-career artists like photographer Erica Dememan and contemporary artists such as Yayoi Kusama.
Run by gallerist and painter Eleanor Harwood, the Eleanor Harwood Gallery is famous for its incredible variety of modern painting, drawing and sculptures. Moreover, Harwood has a keen eye for up and coming artists which she uses her gallery space to showcase. Whether the likes of textile guru Kira Dominguez Hultgren or sculptor extraordinaire Kirk Maxson, she goes above and beyond to curate the most spectacular pieces from emerging artists.
Opened in ‘93, 111 Minna Gallery is famous for its edgy, grungy concepts and provocative visual arts. You’ll also find a nice toss up of live DJs and film screenings. This 4,000+ square foot of industrial space is in the SoMa area. It is constantly evolving to accommodate monthly exhibitions and rotating events. In the past, the roster has included surrealist artists such as Mike Davis and world class photographers like Kelly Nicolaisen.
This SoMa staple consistently ranks as one of the best art galleries in San Fran. It was first opened in 1996 by James Bacchi and Annette Schutz. This nearly 2,000 square foot space houses an incredible variety of mediums. You’ll also find a variety of rotating exhibitions, but the big priority is showcasing New York and Bay Area artists. You’ll find that the primary gallery also includes several guest artists ranging from mixed media in addition to sculpture mediums.
The Berggruen Gallery specialises in 20th century American and European art with a focus on paintings, drawings, sculpture and prints. It is owned by John Berggruen whose father was a prominent art collector in Germany. So you could say John has had an eye for art since he was born. Notable features in his gallery include big talents like Damien Hirst, Anish Kapoor and Matisse.