See Ansel Adams as You Never Have Before at the de Young Museum This Spring

The legendary photographer returns “home” to the museum that first displayed his work in a landmark exhibition that also features contemporary artists.

View this classic photo of the Grand Tetons and more of Ansel Adams's art at the de Young Museum exhibit

View Ansel Adams’s art in a contemporary setting at San Francisco’s de Young Museum this spring.

Courtesy of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

From April 8 to July 23, visitors to the de Young Museum of San Francisco will be able to view more than 100 pieces by Ansel Adams as well as those of 23 contemporary artists who are inspired by the same landscapes and environmental issues as the legendary photographer at Ansel Adams in Our Time. The exhibition is organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, in partnership with the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco (which both put on their own Ansel Adams exhibits in previous years), and is enhanced by several pieces from the de Young’s permanent collection. The de Young was the first museum that displayed Adams’s work and that of his photography collective f/64 in an exhibition that was held in 1932.

Among the contemporary creatives featured in the exhibition are Catherine Opie, who’s known for her poignant photographs that center around the concept of the American dream, Vietnamese photographer Binh Danh, who uses daguerreotypes and chlorophyll prints to explore war and immigration, and Cuban American artist Abelardo Morell, who works with a camera obscura to project the outside world into interior spaces. Rather than revolve around one central issue, the exhibition will be divided into five sections with each exploring its own theme: Capturing the View, Marketing the View, San Francisco: Becoming a Modernist, Adams in the American Southwest, and Picturing the National Parks. By positioning Adams’s work with that of contemporary photographers, de Young hopes to help modern audiences understand how his photographs are still relevant in a modern world.

Beach restoration work by two large machines, seen from overhead

Many of the artists featured in Ansel Adams in Our Time were inspired by the same environmental issues Adams was.

Courtesy of Lucas Foglia and Fredericks & Freiser, NY

“[Adams’] reverence for our region’s natural beauty drew him to photograph the natural diversity that can be found throughout the Bay Area over the course of his lifetime,” Lauren Palmor, associate curator of American art at de Young, said in a press release. “He was also a tireless advocate for the environment, and the Bay Area shares that spirit as a global center of innovation in conservation and wilderness preservation today.”

How to plan your visit to “Ansel Adams in Our Time”

Tickets are available through deYoung’s website for Ansel Adams in Our Time, on view April 8 to July 23, 2023. The tickets are for timed entry, so advance booking is encouraged. The entrance fee for adults age 18–64 is $30, seniors 65 and over pay $27, and students with valid ID can get discounted tickets for $21. Children ages 6-17 are $15, while children under 6 are free. The museum is located in Golden Gate Park and is open Tuesday through Sunday from 9:30 am to 5:15 pm.

If you’re planning a trip to San Francisco around this exhibit, the Laurel Inn and the Parsonage both offer accommodations closer to Golden Gate Park than hotels in the Embarcadero. The Laurel Inn, known for its views of the Pacific Heights neighborhood and its proximity to both Golden Gate Park and the Presidio, is less than a 15-minute drive from the de Young. The Parsonage, which has just five rooms and operates out of a striking Victorian filled with antiques, is about 10 minutes away by car.

Watch a preview of the exhibit

Mae Hamilton is a former associate editor at AFAR. She covers all things related to arts, culture, and the beautiful things that make travel so special.
From Our Partners
Sign up for our newsletter
Join more than a million of the world’s best travelers. Subscribe to the Daily Wander newsletter.
More From AFAR