San Francisco has no shortage of excellent art galleries catering to every artistic genre and taste. From classical painting and sculpture to cutting-edge modern and even street and erotic, if you can think of it, there’s probably a gallery somewhere in the city that has it.
Here’s a short sampling of five of the best and most interesting art galleries in San Francisco, in no particular order:
Arthaus specializes in museum-quality contemporary artwork covering a wide range of subject matter, media and style. Prominent and promising artists from the Bay Area and New York are featured, including Andrea Arroyo, Adam Kurtzman, Suzanne Benton, Serena Bocchino and many more. Owners Annette Schutz and James Bacchi have created a warm and welcoming atmosphere, and you won’t find any more knowledgeable modern art experts anywhere in town. Of current interest is the “Defenestration” exhibit, which celebrates the quirky, whimsical Hugo Hotel, an abandoned Skid Row tenement bedecked with defenestrating furniture by Brian Goggin. Location: 411 Brannan Street (at 3rd).
111 Minna Gallery is an art gallery/bar/nightclub tucked away in Minna alley just south of the Financial District in SoMa. The social scene here rivals the artwork, with diverse crowds ranging from hardcore art aficionados to happy hour drinkers. Enjoy music and drinks, films and special events, along with the modern art. Wednesday happy hours and old-school ’90s nights are favorites. You must be 21 or older to enter. Location: 111 Minna Street (between 2nd & New Montgomery).
Catherine Clark Gallery recently relocated from Minna Street to Potrero Hill and is that neighborhood’s premier gallery. Catherine Clark has been offering outstanding contemporary works by avant-garde artists since 1991. Current exhibitions include “Fallen Fruit: Fruit Machine” in the media room, a video depicting teenagers eating various fruits, and a Deborah Oropallo solo show, “Milk Made,” a surreal series of dairy- and cow-themed works. Location: 248 Utah Street (at 16th).
Gallery 444 is located in the gallery-packed Union Square area. But whereas many of the galleries around there sell overpriced works marketed to tourists, Gallery 444 features unique, often surreal offerings from artists like Rafal Oblinski and Graciela Rodo Boulanger. They’ve been Union Square’s finest gallery for nearly a generation. Location: 444 Post Street (between Mason and Powell).
Shooting Gallery is located in the heart of the sometimes seedy Tenderloin and features contemporary works that match the urban vibe. Justin Giarla opened the stellar space in 2003 and offers the best in pop surrealism, low-brow, urban and pop art, all in an unpretentious and friendly environment– something that can sadly sometimes be harder to find in San Francisco than a cab on Saturday night. Location: 839 Larkin Street (between Geary and O’Farrell).