Exhibitions at SBMA

In addition to a selection of works from its critically acclaimed permanent collection, SBMA also presents temporary loan exhibitions of art from the past and the present.
For information on archived exhibitions please visit the Archives.

June 11, 2023 – February 18, 2024

When visual artists make an image, they have to bring the inside outside by giving thoughts, fears, dreams, and life stories visible form. In this exhibition, each artwork has external signs telling about an inner world, whether real, fictional, or in-between.

October 8, 2023 – January 28, 2024

Drawing from the rich holdings of prints and 19th-early 20th century photographs in SBMA’s permanent collection, Copper Plate to Collotype makes visible the vibrant exchange between the two media.

July 2, 2023 – January 21, 2024

Since photography’s invention in 1839, photographers have attempted to reveal nothing less than the span of human experience. Spontaneously or deliberately composed, the photographs here demonstrate the camera’s all but unique ability to reflect, question, affirm, and sometimes revel in what it means to be present within a human form.

October 15, 2023 – January 14, 2024

Showcasing masterpieces of Chinese painting spanning 500 years, this exhibition marks the first showing of works traveling from China to the U.S. since the onset of the pandemic.

October 15, 2023 – January 14, 2024

The first museum exhibition solely devoted to the photographs of renowned American abstract artist, Ellsworth Kelly (1923–2015), who used the camera to perceptively register his unique and acute perceptions of the everyday world.

July 2, 2023 – January 7, 2024

Simply installed in the Santa Barbara Museum of Art’s Photography Gallery, Stillness invites contemplation and introspection via a select and small group of beautifully composed and printed images.

June 11 – October 1, 2023

Drawing from the Santa Barbara Museum of Art’s permanent collection, this exhibition presents an illustrative selection of works by artists who have applied the framework of Conceptual art to the medium of photography.

June 25 - September 17, 2023

With more than 90 works, this exhibition features many of the most beautiful and accomplished drawings created by the extraordinarily gifted, self-taught artist James Castle

June 18 – September 17, 2023

Earthenware. Stoneware. Kitchenware. Homeware. From ancient pottery for cooking and storage to modern decorative objects adorning the home, ceramics have a long, important history in domestic settings. This exhibition adds a contemporary twist to the association, with objects that signal an irreverent or even zany approach to the medium.

February 19 – June 18, 2023

Simply installed in the Santa Barbara Museum of Art’s Photography Gallery, Stillness invites contemplation and introspection via a select and small group of beautifully composed and printed images.

January 29 – June 18, 2023

This exhibition compares and contrasts the visions of Lyonel Feininger and his son Andreas Feininger—two artists who depicted similar elements of their different worlds in entirely different media, but with the same effect of uniquely contributing to the advance of 20th-century Modernism and its forms and ideas.

January 29 – May 21, 2023

Featuring works from the turn of the last century by Fernand Khnopff, Alfred Kubin, Odilon Redon, and Félicien Rops, as well as the Italian surrealist Giorgio Manzu and his Russian contemporaries, Ossip Zadkine and Alexander Archipenko, this exhibition dwells on the dark side of humanity through a host of cruel but unforgettable imagery.

January 29 – May 21, 2023
This exhibition celebrates the recent gift of Edward & Nancy Reddin Kienholz’s Bout Round Eleven (1982).
February 12 – May 14, 2023

For over a decade, Joan Tanner has made room sized sculptures from plastic corrugated roofing sheets, re-bar, cast concrete, zip ties, drywall, c-clamps, safety netting, electrical conduit, joint compound, and plywood.

October 2, 2022 - February 5, 2023
The photographs in this exhibition demonstrate how artists have perceptively used the unique capabilities of the photographic medium to create images that resonate with the invisible experiences of stillness, time, and silence.
October 16, 2022 – January 15, 2023

Featuring nearly 80 photographs by Robert Adams, Diane Arbus, Kwame Brathwaite, Nell Campbell, Awol Erizku, Janna Ireland, Aaron Siskind, and Hiroshi Sugimoto, among many artists, A Time of Gifts celebrates donors whose gifts of art and funds have allowed SBMA to add over 600 photographs to the collection since 2016.

September 25, 2022 - January 15, 2023

Through opacity, portraiture can most fully and authentically represent the shadowy parts of a person, those hard-to-explain aspects that cannot otherwise be depicted in conventional ways.

October 2, 2022 - January 7, 2023

This comprehensive presentation includes twenty-five artworks, including six recent acquisitions by SBMA, loans from the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, the Art Institute of Chicago, and a private collector.

September 25, 2022 - January 5, 2023
June 26 - September 25, 2022

This exhibition features the work of 19th-century photographers who sought to capture Europe’s Greco-Roman legacy, both in the countries of its origin and in modern monuments that adapted the visual style and aura of antiquity for reasons of political power and aesthetic legitimacy.

June 21 - September 25, 2022

Like the US dollar, air travel, and space satellites, abstract art encircled the globe or at least the capitalist West during the middle of the 20th century.

August 15, 2021 - September 18, 2022

A riveting array of media works by Petra Cortright, Diana Thater and Wu Chi-Tsung (many in SBMA’s collection) represent how the contemporary experience of the natural world has been shaped and influenced by current media technologies.

April 17 - August 7, 2022

Featuring the work of 13 artists, this exhibition reveals an intriguing range of profound meanings that architecture can express when imaginatively captured by the photographic lens.

December 19, 2021 - April 3, 2022

Joining painting, sculpture, and film elements, contemporary artists have pushed the boundaries of photography into new terrain, melding materials and photography to construct painterly or sculptural objects, or constructing tableaux meant to be photographed and then later dismantled.

December 19, 2021 - April 3, 2022

From the spontaneous and joyous to the posed and quiet,  renowned photographer Santi Visalli’s portraits all relay a storia, an Italian word meaning tale, story, and history. This select exhibition features 29 perceptive portraits of well-known figures in the 1960s and 70s worlds of film, literature, art, music, and popular culture.

April 29, 2021 – January 18, 2022
August 15, 2021 - January 9, 2022
August 15 - December 19, 2021

This exhibition of 25 photographs from SBMA’s collection features the human face as its captivating subject. Artists include Kwame Brathwaite, Tseng Kwong-Chi, Genevieve Gaignard and Trude Fleischmann, whose work engages photography’s unique ability to suggest narrative, biography and psychology via the photographic portrait.

August 15 - December 5, 2021

One of the few women members of the renowned Magnum agency in early-1950s Paris, Austrian-born Inge Morath became a leading international photographer in the second half of the 20th century. This exhibition features 15 classic Morath images of people and places from a 1977 portfolio and her iconic vision of a llama in a Times Square car.

February 7, 2016 - July 1, 2021

In celebration of the Santa Barbara Museum of Art’s 75th Anniversary in 2016, this installation highlights some of the most celebrated works of art from SBMA’s permanent collection, as well as several of the most exciting gifts and acquisitions in the areas of modern and contemporary art, photography, and the arts of Asia.

March 22 - December 6, 2020

This exhibition highlights recent acquisitions to SBMA's permanent collection of contemporary art.

December 22, 2019 - April 19, 2020

The first solo U.S. museum exhibition of Japanese artist Tatsuo Miyajima’s art in over two decades, this captivating immersive presentation of four light-based works embodies this internationally renowned artist’s career-long philosophy: Keep Changing, Connect with Everything, Continue Forever.

March 3, 2019 - March 22, 2020

Kehinde Wiley’s monumental painting inspired by the history of equestrian portraiture takes over SBMA’s Park Entrance.

September 29, 2019 - February 16, 2020

Drawing primarily from SBMA's permanent collection and supplemented by loans from area collections, this exhibition explores a diverse range of artistic representations of the cosmos roughly coinciding with the 'Space Age' of the last sixty years.

October 27, 2019 - February 9, 2020

An intimate display of works on paper from SBMA's permanent collection, this exhibition showcases Alfredo Ramos Martínez's extraordinary draftsmanship and important contributions to Mexican Modernism.

September 8 - December 8, 2019
May 19 - September 15, 2019

A new multimedia installation by Los Angeles-based sound and performance artist, Chris Kallmyer, invites viewers to collectively make music.

January 27 - May 5, 2019

This exciting exhibition offers viewers an experience of color photographs by emerging and established artists, presenting with around 30 works a select traversal through the history of color photography from its origins as an accepted artistic tool in the 1960s and 70s, up to today’s most conceptually-driven practices.

November 27, 2018 - March 3, 2019

Illuminating the hidden peculiarities of everyday life, this installation of 13 photographs by Manuel Álvarez Bravo reveals how this internationally renowned photographer embraced European Cubism and Surrealism while maintaining a focus on Mexican subject matter such as religious rituals, agricultural scenes, and cityscapes.

November 10 – February 10, 2019

The malleable interior of traditional Japanese houses could be redecorated to suit particular purposes — at times adorning with glistening screens and objects of color and gold. This exhibition explores the aesthetics of these public and private interiors by featuring folding screens, scrolls, and examples of lacquerware.

October 7, 2018 - January 6, 2019

In this installation of paintings, drawn exclusively from the permanent collection, a range of European and American artists employ various motifs in order to capture the picturesque effects of snowfall.

July 8 - November 18, 2018

The tumultuous period between the two World Wars is the backdrop for this intimately scaled and timely exhibition, which explores the little known relationship between modern art and totalitarianism in the work of the French Fauves, Maurice de Vlaminck (1876-1958) and André Derain (1880-1954).

May 20 - October 14, 2018
June 10 - September 23, 2018

Inspired by several large drawings in the Santa Barbara Museum of Art’s permanent collection, this exhibition demonstrates a variety of experimental practices during the 1970s and represents images and issues relevant to contemporary art and culture.

January 28 - May 27, 2018

Assembling striking works from the Santa Barbara Museum of Art’s distinguished collection, this exhibition reveals how photographic portraiture blossomed in the later six decades of the 19th century.

January 28 - May 27, 2018

Before the invention of photography, painted portraits were the most coveted means of commemorating important members of society. This exhibition, drawn exclusively from the permanent collection, explores American, British and French portraitists from the Colonial period through the Industrial Revolution.

January 28 - April 22, 2018

Drawn entirely from the Santa Barbara Museum of Art’s distinguished and growing collection, this extensive exhibition of over 100 photographs by approximately a dozen artists reveals unusual facets of the work of well-known artists, as well as new-to-the-collection photographs that will be on view for the very first time in the SBMA’s galleries.

September 30, 2017 – February 25, 2018
September 17 - December 31, 2017

Valeska Soares: Any Moment Now brings together forty-nine artworks, consisting of installation, sculpture, photography, and video, dating from the early 1990s to the present.

June 20 – September 24, 2017

British artist Yinka Shonibare's grand photograph The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters (Asia) (2008) provided the inspiration for this installation of photographs that conjure up scenes of unease and the uncanny, which—despite our best efforts to rationally dispel them—can seem to surround us every day.

May 28 - August 20, 2017

You Are Going On A Trip brings together a selection of highlights from the Museum’s wide-ranging collection of Modern and Contemporary prints.

May 7 - August 13, 2017

A selection of bronze sculptures by Auguste Rodin (French, 1840-1917) and other artists who preceded and followed him.

December 16, 2016 – July 9, 2017

A landmark in the history of video art, Christian Marclay’s Telephones (1995) is an expertly edited sequence of black-and-white and color film clips featuring people dialing, answering, talking, listening on, and finally hanging up an assortment of telephones, all from the pre-smart phone era.

February 19 - June 11, 2017

Japanese paper stencils, or katagami, are the pattern-bearing tools used in a resist-dyeing textile process known as katazome. Despite their utilitarian role, katagami, with their striking patterns, have long captivated Western collectors and artists.

January 29 – May 14, 2017

David Wiesner (b. 1956) is one of the most highly acclaimed picture book artists in the world. Winner of the prestigious Caldecott Medal for Tuesday in 1992, The Three Pigs in 2002, and Flotsam in 2007, Wiesner is only the second person in the history of the award to have received it three times.

December 15, 2016 - April 24, 2017

Inspired by an affirmation of the classical, employing the space that traditionally houses SBMA’s Wright Ludington/Lansdowne Collection of Greco-Roman antiquities (currently on view at the Getty Center), and extending the celebration of SBMA’s 75th anniversary, Judith Shea’s iconic Mid-Life Venus was recently installed in Ludington Cour

October 23, 2016 - February 5, 2017

A diverse selection of works on paper by contemporary artists who rose to prominence in emerging Los Angeles galleries in the early 1990s through the mid-2000s.  Featuring Ingrid Calame, David Korty, Aaron Morse, Jon Pylypchuk, Dario Robleto, Thomas Scheibitz, Jeni Spota, and others.

September 18, 2016 - January 8, 2017

Adjacent to the British Art from Whistler to World War II exhibition, is a series of dramatic World War II photographs by Sir Cecil Beaton (1904–1980).

September 18, 2016 - January 8, 2017

Curated by art historian Peyton Skipwith and drawn entirely from the permanent collection of the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, this selection of some 50 paintings, drawings, and sculptures presents an overview of British art from around 1890 through 1945.

September 18 - November 27, 2016

In this unique presentation, artist Jan Tichy (b. 1974, Czech, resides in Chicago) has devised a special installation in direct response to the Museum’s current position in its 75-year history―on the brink of a transformative renovation, with the vibration and sound of concrete demolition palpable.

April 17 - August 28, 2016

This exhibition celebrates the complexity of South Asian representation and iconography by examining the relationship between aesthetic expression and the devotional practice, or puja, in the three native religions of the Indian subcontinent.

April 17 - August 21, 2016

Commissioned by SBMA and presented in the Museum’s historic Ludington Court, this installation represents the most recent work in a series of oversize, inflatable sculptures by the artist based on the figure of the 12th-century Buddha at Gal Vihara in Sri Lanka.

October 18, 2015 - March 20, 2016

This exhibition, drawn from the permanent collection of the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, highlights works by Latin American photographers, or artists who have adopted it as home, so that those from outside the region may look into the lives of Latin America.

November 8, 2015 - March 13, 2016

This site-specific installation reveals the artist’s ongoing investigation into what he calls object prosthetics – the reconstruction of broken remains using a variety of conceptual and technological methods.

November 8, 2015 - February 21, 2016

Using distinctive materials including Day-Glo acrylics and Roll-a-Tex, Peter Halley’s paintings present variations of geometric forms that he and others have designated as prisons, cells, and conduits.

October 18, 2015 - January 2, 2016

A selection of etchings by Venetian-born printmaker Giovanni Battista Piranesi reveal the architecture of his ambitious imagination – evoking its spectacular sublimity – and elicit awe in and passion for the architectural traditions of Rome.

November 1, 2013 - January 2, 2016

Featuring paintings from The Armand Hammer Foundation that complement works from the Museum’s collection, this exhibition presents a representative overview of French Impressionism and Post-Impressionism with a nod to the schools of Barbizon and Romanticism that prepared the way.

May 7 - November 8, 2015

Visions of Modernity, presented in a series of rotations, explores the creative process of printmaking in the first half of the 20th century in Japan.


Humanly Impossible (Self Portrait)
June 21 - October 4, 2015

Twelve photomontages by Bauhaus artist Herbert Bayer grapple with memory and the dilemmas posed by individuality and national identity to recover some of the wonder – and dread – of the rapidly shifting dynamics of modern German history.

July 5 - September 27, 2015

Organized by guest curator Joyce Tsai and Chief Curator and Asst. Director Eik Kahng, this is the first monographic exhibition of Bauhaus artist László Moholy-Nagy to explore how the practice of painting served as the means for the artist to imagine generative relationships of art and technology.

May 23 - June 21, 2015

Ray Strong: Beyond Santa Barbara highlights a selection of works by esteemed artist Ray Strong (1905 – 2006) from the collection of the Santa Barbara Museum of Art (SBMA).

February 8 - May 3, 2015

On view in this exhibition, one of the best collections of Italian painting in the world, with 50 works spanning 500 years of Italian art history, offers a unique opportunity to learn firsthand what made the Italian Renaissance a gold standard for artistic excellence.

September 28, 2014 - January 4, 2015

This exhibition of photographs, drawn from the permanent collection, looks beyond the immediate allure of adorable animals, to explore the dimensions of animal characteristics and knowledge.

August 31, 2014 - January 4, 2015

This exhibition brings together a selection of painting and sculpture from the Museum’s permanent collection dating from 1958 to 2014. Recent works inventively reference and reinterpret the past – including both popular and obscure forms of painting, architecture, and design.

September 14 - December 1, 2014

Following on the heels of Daumier's Salon: A Human Comedy, curated by former SBMA exhibition intern Elizabeth Saari Browne, Daumier Reveals All: Inside the Artist's Studio presents another selection of lithographs by Honoré Daumier (1808–1879) that provides an inside look into the 19th-century Parisian art world.


March 23 - October 5, 2014
In the second half of the 19th century, Honoré Daumier (1808–1879) was employed by popular rags, such as La Caricature and Le Charivari to produce often hilarious lampoons of Parisian daily life.
May 25 - September 14, 2014

The exhibition is comprised of works from artists in various stages of their careers, ranging from emerging to established, and regionally to internationally recognized.

May 11 - August 31, 2014

This exhibition examines the lesser known yet foundational role of drawing in the artist’s work, which she continued to develop over the next eight decades.

February 23 - May 25, 2014

This exhibition of over sixty images, largely drawn from the permanent collection, continues the exploration of the intersections of art and science, begun in 1967 when the Santa Barbara Museum of Art presented Once Invisible.

January 26 - May 4, 2014

Spanning the period from the late 1960s to the present day, this exhibition presents the work of an artist who radically combined site-specific earthworks with the medium of drawing. Michelle Stuart has become internationally known for a rich and diverse body of work engendered by her lifelong interest in the natural world and the cosmos.

January 26 - April 20, 2014

This exhibition is the first comprehensive exploration of this vital aspect of the renowned sculptor’s creative process. 

November 27, 2013 - March 16, 2014

Portraits of Jesus Christ, His mother and His saints invoke the presence of God, to whom every Christian prayer is addressed. Before the Reformation, such images were habitually used by believers all over Europe, both in church and in private.

October 27, 2013 - January 26, 2014

This important and beautiful international loan exhibition, organized by SBMA Deputy Director and Chief Curator, Eik Kahng, marks the first presentation of the celebrated French artist Eugène Delacroix (1798–1863) in the United States in over a decade, and the first major monographic show devoted to the Romantic artist on the West Coast.

October 13, 2013 - January 5, 2014
July 7 - September 29, 2013

This exhibition looks at the powerful relationship between color and memory by considering photographs and the ways in which their unique color palettes evoke specific moments of the historical past.

April 2 - September 22, 2013

This exhibition features the work of artists who bring 21st-century urgency to 19th-century principles of virtue through work and craftsmanship.

December 15, 2012 - June 23, 2013

This exhibition presents a selection of early modern paintings that celebrate the topography of California. By the end of the 19th century, landscape painting had become the primary vehicle for depicting national identity in American art.

February 16 - June 2, 2013

This exhibition of more than 50 photographs and photographic montages, drawn from the artist’s studio and the Menil collection and spanning the period 1962 to the present, traces the fascinating and wide-ranging evolution of the career of New York- and New Mexico-based Danny Lyon.

February 16 - May 26, 2013

Showcasing the Museum’s significant collection of 20th-century Latin American art, this exhibition examines the multifaceted art produced in Latin America during this dynamic 60-year period.

April 1 - May 26, 2012

Between the 1830s and the end of the First World War, American art came into its own.

September 17, 2011 - January 8, 2012
May 20 - September 4, 2011

Ori Gersht depicts scenes of natural beauty that perceptively disguise and reveal a history of violence.

January 22 - April 17, 2011

In a sweeping career of nearly 50 years, and an impressive array of grand narrative paintings, Charles Garabedian (born 1923) has recreated the epic poetry that he has long admired.

February 17 - May 27, 2007
March 20 - August 15, 2000
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