San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) Acquires Pacita Abad's 'If My Friends Could See Me Now' painting

10 August 2023 

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) today announced that it has recently acquired more than 100 works of art, reflecting an incredible range of formal and conceptual innovation and highlighting a spectrum of lived experiences. The new acquisitions represent SFMOMA’s priorities as the museum grows and diversifies its holdings, emphasizing the work of artists with connections to the Bay Area, artists part of the LGBTQIA+ community, women artists and artists of color. SFMOMA’s collecting vision also embraces practices and objects that help illuminate social, political and cultural happenings through a vast array of artistic and personal perspectives. Today’s announcement follows the recent news that SFMOMA became the first museum to acquire a capsule apartment from the Nakagin Capsule Tower.


Works by artists with connections to the Bay Areas include those by Pacita Abad, Joan Brown, Luke Butler, Violet Fields, Cathy Lu, Grace Rosario Perkins, Gregory Rick, Barbara Stauffacher Solomon and Lena Wolff. Further expanding SFMOMA’s strong photography holdings, the acquisitions include photographic suites and individual images by Sibylle Bergemann, Alejandro Cartagena, Lewis deSoto, Jess T. Dugan, Janna Ireland, Tom Jones, Tommy Kha, Justine Kurland, An-My Lê, Dionne Lee, Daido Moriyama, Nicholas Nixon, Ka-Man Tse, and Daisuke Yokota.


The group also features paintings, sculpture, works on paper and time-based media works by Rosa Barba, Tania Candiani, Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller, Barbara Chase-Riboud, Dewey Crumpler, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art New Acquisitions Summer 2023 Press Release 2 Charles Gaines, Ewan Gibbs, Consuelo Jimenz Underwood, Ellsworth Kelly, Barbara Kruger, Tau Lewis, Guadalupe Maravilla, Keith Mayerson, Kazuko Miyamoto, Amor Muñoz, Paulina Peavy, Paul Pfeiffer, Ilana Savdie, Anna Sew Hoy, Lee Ufan, Kaari Upson, William T. Williams and Haegue Yang. Architecture and design works include those by Constantin and Laurene Boym, Matali Crasset, Trenton Doyle Hancock, Walter Hood, Max Lamb, Roberto Lugo, Lucy McRae, Olivier Morgue, Jonathan Muecke, Nakamichi, Charlotte Perriand, Rock-Ola, Yuri Suzuki, Tezontle and Tokujin Yoshioka.


“SFMOMA’s collecting strategies are focused on enhancing and expanding the narratives that we can tell in our galleries. The artists represented by our most recent acquisitions push the boundaries of what it means to create and experience art. Their practices reflect both formal innovation and an engagement with the lived contexts that shape our daily lives,” said Christopher Bedford, SFMOMA’s Helen and Charles Schwab Director. “I am grateful to our curatorial team for their vision in further developing SFMOMA’s collection and look forward to seeing these incredible works in our galleries.”




Pacita Abad, If My Friends Could See Me Now, 1991.

Over the course of her three-decade career, Pacita Abad (1946–2004) developed a distinct visual style inspired by her lived experiences as an immigrant and extensive global travels. She is most readily recognized for her “trapunto” paintings, a hybrid art form in which she hand-quilted her painted canvases instead of stretching them over frames. If My Friends Could See Me Now is part of Abad’s significant Immigrant Experience series (1983–1995), which addresses a wide range of social and political happenings and gives voice to the experience of individuals often living on the margins. The series has roots in Abad’s time living in San Francisco and interest in legal work with the immigrant community. The work will be featured in SFMOMA’s presentation of Pacita Abad, the artist’s first retrospective, and continues the museum’s commitment to collect the work of artists with connections to the Bay Area.