Urs Fischer: The Public & the Private

Urs Fischer: The Public & the Private

Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

View of Urs Fischer, Dazzled, 2016, Legion of Honor, San Francisco, CA, 2017.

May 20, 2017
Urs Fischer
The Public & the Private
April 22–July 2, 2017
Legion of Honor
100 34th Ave
San Francisco, CA 94121
#PublicPrivate / Instagram / Facebook / Twitter

The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco presents Urs Fischer: The Public & the Private. On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of French sculptor Auguste Rodin’s death, Urs Fischer (Swiss, b.1973) brings a contemporary perspective to our understanding and appreciation of the Museums’ permanent collection, specifically the acclaimed collection of Rodin sculptures.

“In the 100 year history of the Legion of Honor, this is the first exhibition to bring works by a contemporary artist into dialogue with a wide range of the Museum’s permanent holdings,” states Max Hollein, director and CEO of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. “Urs Fischer’s extraordinary work has been celebrated and exhibited around the globe in the last two decades, but his San Francisco presentation will be one of a kind. His site-specific installation at the Legion of Honor is a unique manifestation of artistic imagination, expanded context and institutional challenge.”

In his first major exhibition in San Francisco, Fischer presents 30 encounters between his work and objects in the museum’s permanent collection galleries. His sculptures and mixed media paintings feed off the tension between the material and digital, object and image. Breathing new life and humor into the art historical genre of the vanitas, we are reminded about the transience of life and mortality in works such as the skeleton fountain Invisible Mother (2015) and the wax candle sculpture Adam (2017), shown in dialogue with Rodin’s The Gates of Hell (1917).

Fischer plays with perception to challenge our awareness of artworks in the context of the surroundings. In Drained (2016) he layers and juxtaposes disparate images, in the giant pair of eyes Dazzled (2016) he distorts the scale to give the impression of an uncanny illusion.

“Urs Fischer’s sprawling exhibition at the Legion of Honor offers a unique opportunity to appreciate his voracious and inventive reinterpretation of image traditions in the context of a historic collection,” says Claudia Schmuckli, curator-in-charge, contemporary art and programming, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. “Whether complementing or displacing the display of the permanent collection, each intervention is carefully weighed and reveals as much about Fischer’s thinking as it does about that of artists like Rodin, with whom he enters into a conversation.”

Urs Fischer: The Public & the Private will be on view through July 2 at the Legion of Honor in San Francisco. The exhibition is the first under a new contemporary art initiative, which presents the work of living artists in dialogue with the unique histories and identities of the sites, buildings, and collections of the de Young and Legion of Honor.

Visitor information

The Legion of Honor is located in Lincoln Park at 100 34th Avenue in San Francisco.
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 9:30am–5:15pm
Visit Legion of Honor for more information.

Media image gallery available here

About the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco 
The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco oversee the de Young, located in Golden Gate Park, and the Legion of Honor, in Lincoln Park. It is the largest public arts institution in San Francisco, and one of the most visited arts institutions in the United States.

The Legion of Honor was inspired by the French pavilion at San Francisco’s Panama-Pacific International Exposition of 1915 and, like that structure, was modeled after the neoclassical Palais de la Légion d’Honneur, in Paris. The museum, designed by George Applegarth, opened in 1924 on a bluff in Lincoln Park overlooking the Golden Gate. Its holdings span 4,000 years and include European painting, sculpture, and decorative arts; an acclaimed collection of Rodin sculpture; ancient art from the Mediterranean basin; and the largest collection of works on paper in the American West.

Media contacts
Helena Nordstrom, International Public Relations Manager
hnordstrom [​at​] famsf.org / T +1 415 750 7608

Miriam Newcomer, Director of Public Relations
mnewcomer [​at​] famsf.org / T +1 415 750 3554

RSVP for Urs Fischer: The Public & the Private
Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco
May 20, 2017

Thank you for your RSVP.

Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco will be in touch.


e-flux announcements are emailed press releases for art exhibitions from all over the world.

Agenda delivers news from galleries, art spaces, and publications, while Criticism publishes reviews of exhibitions and books.

Architecture announcements cover current architecture and design projects, symposia, exhibitions, and publications from all over the world.

Film announcements are newsletters about screenings, film festivals, and exhibitions of moving image.

Education announces academic employment opportunities, calls for applications, symposia, publications, exhibitions, and educational programs.

Sign up to receive information about events organized by e-flux at e-flux Screening Room, Bar Laika, or elsewhere.

I have read e-flux’s privacy policy and agree that e-flux may send me announcements to the email address entered above and that my data will be processed for this purpose in accordance with e-flux’s privacy policy*

Thank you for your interest in e-flux. Check your inbox to confirm your subscription.