Watch CBS News

Best Contemporary Art Galleries In San Francisco

Art Gallery
(credit: Thinkstock)

San Francisco is a cornerstone of the West Coast art scene. The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) is one of the world's best museums of modern and contemporary art. Many artists make their home in the Bay Area for this reason, and many others are featured in the area's various exhibits, shows and galleries. Art aficionados in the Bay Area have lots to choose from when it comes to galleries specializing in contemporary art. Each one has a specific focus or approach, often guided by the gallery's founder or primary art expert. Many of San Francisco's best known galleries are located downtown between Market Street and Union Square. Several, in fact, are located in the same buildings. This makes browsing convenient for gallery visitors, who can visit several galleries in one trip.

McLoughlin Gallery
49 Geary St., Suite 200
San Francisco, CA 94108
(415) 986-4799
mgart.comThe McLoughlin Gallery, one of several located at 49 Geary Street in San Francisco, focuses on both European contemporary artists and emerging local artists. This fall the gallery will be showcasing two artists with their first US solo exhibitions. Renaud Delorme and Christine Comyn's work will be featured in a group exhibition that runs through Oct. 27 under the heading "European Invasion." A solo exhibition featuring works by Christopher Martin ill close out the 2012 year. The McLoughlin Gallery seeks to be "an approachable, inviting gallery with a social conscience" and donates a portion of its proceeds to the Stanford Cancer Center.
Rena Bransten Gallery
77 Geary St.
San Francisco, CA 94108
(415) 982-3292
renabranstengallery.comBrazilian artist Vik Muniz has worked in sculpture and a range of conceptual art since the late 1980s. Muniz has even displayed his art at his home country's Museum of Modern Art in Rio de Janeiro. His works and photos of his installations will be on display in the Rena Bransten Gallery from Sept. 20 through Nov. 10, 2012. The Bransten Gallery is located at 77 Geary St in San Francisco, the home of several other noted art galleries.

RelatedBest Art Museums In San Francisco

Patricia Sweetow Gallery
77 Geary St, Mezzanine
San Francisco, CA 94108
(415) 788-5126
www.patriciasweetowgallery.comAlso located at 77 Geary, the Patricia Sweetow Gallery has been focusing on painting, photography and sculpture since its founding in 1997. It features a number of regular artists as well as rotating exhibitions showing off some of the best contemporary art in the Bay Area. Upcoming exhibitions include Gail Wight's Ground Plane featuring prints and video and Laura Corolla-Titus's Infusion exhibition showcasing her paintings through Oct. 20. The year closes out with paintings by Charles Eckart and chalk pastel drawings by Gale Antokal through Dec. 15.

RelatedBest Places to Find Street Artists in San Francisco

251 Post Street Art Galleries
251 Post St.
San Francisco, CA 94108
www.251postart.comThe building at 251 Post Street has been dubbed the "Art Galleries building" because of its many gallery tenants. Galleries like Cain Schulte Contemporary and the Sandra Lee Gallery host a wide range of contemporary art and artists in this space. The Meyerovich Gallery, also located in the building, specializes in the work of the modern and contemporary masters, including Picasso and Frank Stella.
Catherine Clark Gallery
150 Minna St.
San Francisco, CA 94105
(415) 399-1439
www.cclarkgallery.comWith a focus on content-driven work from contemporary artists, the Catharine Clark Gallery has been one of the city's notable galleries since its founding in 1991. Located near Yerba Buena and several other museums––including SFMOMA, the Museum of Craft and Folk Art, the Museum of the African Diaspora and the Contemporary Jewish Museum––the Catherine Clark Gallery is worth a visit. Multidisciplinary artist Chris Doyle, whose work varies from projection and installation art to digital animation, will have his work will be on display at the gallery from Sept. 1 to Oct. 28.

Most San Francisco galleries are closed Sunday and Monday, and open Tuesday - Saturday with varying hours, so be sure the gallery is open before visiting.

Laura Tarwater-Scharp is a freelance writer, editor and historian. Originally from the Midwest, she has lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for over a decade. Her work can be found at


View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.