Urs Fischer: The Public & the Private

April 22 – July 2, 2017

Legion of Honor, San Francisco


The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco presents Urs Fischer: The Public & the Private. 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. On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of French sculptor Auguste Rodin’s (1840-1917) death, Urs Fischer (Swiss, b.1973) has been invited to bring a contemporary perspective to our understanding and appreciation of the Museums’ permanent collection, specifically the acclaimed collection of Rodin sculptures.

In his first major exhibition in San Francisco, Fischer will present more than 30 works installed throughout the Court of Honor, rotunda and upper level galleries of the Legion of Honor. His sculptures and paintings feed off the tension between the material and digital, object and image. Drawing on traditions of Western art history and popular culture, he transforms the processes of creating and consuming artworks.

Fischer plays with the mechanisms of perception to challenge visitors’ awareness of artworks in the context of their surroundings. His layering and juxtaposition of disparate images and objects combined with a distortion of scale often lend his exhibitions the character 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 from April 22 through July 2 at the Legion of Honor in Lincoln Park. The exhibition is curated by Claudia Schmuckli, the Museum’s inaugural curator-in-charge of contemporary art and programming.


Urs Fischer, "Snail Crossing Helmet," 2016. Cast bronze, cast stainless steel, oil paint, 11 1/2 x 9 5/8 x 12 1/2 in. (29.2 x 24.4 x 31.8 cm). Courtesy of the artist and Gagosian Gallery; Sadie Coles HQ, London; and Massimo De Carlo, Milan. Photo: Mats Nordman. Image courtesy of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco


Urs Fischer was born in 1973 in Zurich and studied photography at the Schule für Gestaltung, Zurich. He has exhibited extensively internationally, and his work is included in many important public and private collections worldwide. Fischer has had solo exhibitions at the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow (2016); The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2013); Palazzo Grassi, Venice (2012); Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna (2012); New Museum, New York (2009); Blaffer Gallery, The Art Museum of the University of Houston, Texas (2006); Kunsthaus Zürich (2004); and Espace 315, Centre Pompidou, Paris (2004). Fischer’s work has been presented in numerous group exhibitions, including the Venice Biennale (2003, 2007, and 2011); and Gwangju Biennale (2014). Fischer lives and works in New York City.


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