2020 Exhibitions

Level Up!

Level Up!

November 21, 2020 - December 24, 2020
Watch this informative interview of Jeff Downing


Learn more about Jeff Downing's artwork and process through this informative, entertaining video interview! Produced by Michael Morrissey of Spirit House Productions.

Residents of Southern Marin may have seen a magical horizon of black and white obelisks rising from the flooded marshes of Mill Valley and Sausalito. It’s not a mirage. They are field study models of sculptures that call attention to the rising sea waters around us. Ceramicist and sculptor Jeff Downing has been MarinMOCA’s resident artist for the past year. His examination of this environmental threat is the inspiration for this current exhibition “Level up! A Sculptural View of Sea Level Rise.”

Mr. Downing explains “My project’s purpose is to call attention to rising ocean levels, question our preconceptions of climate change, and help communities to visualize the potential impact on coastal environments. As part of my Aqua Metric Sea level Rise series, I am using the aesthetic appeal of large-scale ceramic sculpture, which gages tidal levels and marks the inundation of commercial and residential property in Marin.”

Sea level rise is progressively impacting the earth regardless of how strongly we curtail the use of fossil fuels. According to data compiled by the California Coastal Commission, San Francisco Bay is projected to see a rise between 1.1 and 2.7 feet by 2050. Water levels can rise even higher when augmented by storms and periodic King Tides (the highest naturally occurring tides), potentially causing great damage and loss of our coastline and coastal property.

MarinMOCA Executive Director Nancy Rehkopf sums it up, “This project ties together the scientific and creative worlds in a highly visual form which we hope brings the threat of climate change and the resulting sea level rise to the forefront of our conversations about life in Marin County.”

Gallery visitors will view Mr. Downing’s Aqua Metric Markers and will see photos of the portable versions installed during recent King Tides in southern Marin. The public will also see photos of previous sculptures which have been placed in flood waters in six separate locations in Marin. Photos of the flooded markers were posted online through the California Coastal Commission’s King Tides Project app. Explanatory text will provide more information about our current sea rise issues in Marin. Viewers will also enjoy other work completed during the MarinMOCA residency including a wall sculpture called “Rise Abovid” and large ceramic sentinel dogs.

Artist Bio

Originally from New York State, Jeff Downing spent his childhood growing up on the New England Coast. His creative beginnings were in music. He studied guitar and music composition at State University of New York at Purchase. This was the place where he encountered his first ceramics class. Soon after, drawn to the spirit of experimentation and nonconformity that characterizes ceramic art in California, he moved to San Francisco in 1983 with the proverbial suitcase and guitar in hand. He attended the Academy of Art, San Francisco to study painting, photography, and ceramics. He then went on to earn his graduate degree from San Francisco State University in 1992.

Downing has been teaching college level art classes since 1995. Both a skilled potter and sculptor, he teaches a wide spectrum of ceramics courses with a specialized knowledge in large-scale clay fabrication, installation, glaze formulation, kilns and atmospheric firing processes.

Known for his figurative sculptures and large-scale public and environmental art projects, Downing’s work is highly articulated with coat patterns and colors that help abstract their figuration, imparting the sculptures with a sense of the emblematic. The loose, expressive gestures that generate from Jeff’s working process further bolster this notion so that the figures succeed in pointing outside of themselves to broader concepts relating to human thought and emotion. Despite its ability to convey emotional states both uplifting and solemn, Downing’s work exudes a sense of humor.

Jeff’s work has been presented in Brazil, Mexico, Europe, and the United States. He exhibits in galleries, museum collections, public art venues, wineries, and private art collections throughout the country. Downing has received several awards for his work by nationally prominent art curators and art directors in the field of sculpture. Jeff lives and works in his studio in San Rafael, California. In his free time, he continues to compose music and occasionally performs live.

In Place

In Place

November 14, 2020 - December 24, 2020
Watch the Artist Talk replay here


"In Place" pairs the work of two first-place winners in MarinMOCA’s 2019 juried shows: Sonya Hammons and Susan Shipley. Each artist explores the concept of “place” in distinct ways, and the work was completed while the artists themselves sheltered in place during the 2020 COVID-19 crisis.

Did you miss the Artist's Talk?
Watch the replay here.

Susan Shipley has painted maps of American cities to reveal the profound effect that geography has on individuals’ life prospects.  Many of her works are based on the Census Bureau’s Opportunity Atlas project, which relates outcomes in adulthood to the neighborhoods where children grew up. These vivid images invite us to reflect on causes of economic disparity as well as the importance of accurate census data.

Sonya Hammons created fiber sculptures that encase objects salvaged from industrial operations in Sausalito’s Marinship neighborhood in handmade wool felt. The resulting works create comforting, fire-and-water-resistant shelters for pieces of the working waterfront. Sonya’s outdoor fiber installation will greet visitors with an interactive, indoor-outdoor art experience that invites us to observe and participate in the ‘everyday architecture’ that often goes unnoticed in daily life.

About the artists:

Sonya Hammons
Geographer Sonya Hammons grew up on the boats of Sausalito. After a decade-long international career as a sustainability advisor for the United Nations, she returned to Sausalito to focus on art. Her materials-based work centers around handmade felt from local fibershed wool, salvaged boat rope, and local pigments and dyes. Black,white, naturally-occurring rust, and organic indigo form the color palette of her recent work.

Susan Shipley
After a 35-year long career in corporate real estate and finance, Susan Shipley retired to study and make art.  She has studied at UC Extension, College of Marin and several private workshops.  Working primarily with oils and acrylics, her work includes landscapes, the human figure and most recently her American Cities series.



November 14, 2020 - December 24, 2020
Watch the art talk here


“Justice” is a contemporary art exhibit that explores racial inequality and the need for social justice in our nation. From a 300-pound bronze fist by Woody De Othello to a whimsical collage of black femininity by Rashaad Newsome, the exhibit includes 40 artworks in all mediums. See all the works in the exhibit via the slide show here. View artist Alexander Zimmerman's video artwork here. The exhibit is free and open to the public: Wed - Fri, 11am - 4pm, and Sat - Sun, 11am - 5pm.

Watch the replay of Conversations On Culture with curator Karen Jenkins-Johnson and eight of the participating artists.

“Many art appreciators are unaware of the scores of accomplished local black artists who are collected by museums across the country and have international reputations,” explains museum director, Nancy Rehkopf. “We asked Karen Jenkins-Johnson, a leading San Francisco Black gallerist and Marin County resident, to bring them together in this exhibition.”

Ms. Jenkins-Johnson selected work that depicts the courage of historic resisters such as “Mugshot Portraits: Women of the Montgomery Bus Boycott” by Lava Thomas along with contemporary leaders like “Angela Davis in Oakland, 2020” by Lewis Watts. Other featured artists include Wesaam Al-Badry, Nyame Brown, Dewey Crumpler, Erica Deeman, Rodney Ewing, and Mildred Howard. The exhibit also includes 30 additional artists selected by Ms. Jenkins-Johnson from a national entry process.

“The Bay Area has long supported political, environmental, social issues, and LGBTQ rights,” explains Jenkins-Johnson. “My curatorial objective for the exhibition was to invite ten Bay Area artists of color whose art practice reflects the local and national issues of our time and,  for the national call, to select artworks from across disciplines that include themes of immigration, separation of families, Black Lives Matter, COVID-19, women’s rights and police brutality. I hope ‘Justice’ evokes a positive discussion on diverse issues impacting our society today.”

Karen Jenkins-Johnson is the founder of Jenkins Johnson Gallery which opened in 1996 in San Francisco and Jenkins Johnson Projects, established in 2017 in Brooklyn, New York.  She has over 25 years of experience as curator, gallerist and entrepreneur in the arts.  Jenkins Johnson Gallery participates in international art fairs including Art Basel, Frieze London, The Armory Show, Paris Photo and FOG Design+Art.  The gallery is a member of the San Francisco Art Dealers Association and Association of International Photography.

Ms. Jenkins-Johnson was named Artnet Innovator 2020, the 2018 Museum of African Diaspora “Patron of the Arts,” a recipient of the National council of Negro Women’s “Business Person of the Year,” and the “Trailblazer Award” from the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc. She is on the advisory board of Performing Stars – Enlighten, a non-profit focused on underserved girls of Marin County. 

She was recently featured in publications including The Art Newspaper “How the art industry is grappling with its systemic race inequality” and in the New York Times “Black gallerists press forward despite a market that holds them back.”

Download the list of participating artists here

The exhibit is free to the public.

Sponsored by Charles Schwab

MarinMOCA is grateful to our presenting sponsor, Charles Schwab, represented by Patrick Torrey, Vice President and Financial Consultant in Corte Madera. Other exhibit donors include Belle James, Rhea James and Karen Little.

Image credit:
Home page: L- "Mugshot Portraits: Women of the Montgomery Bus Boycott: Joann Robinson" by Lava Thomas
R: "Angela Davis in Oakland, 2020" by Lewis Watts

Slide show: "Ain't I a Woman" by Rashaad Newsome; "Blues in Brown" by Dewey Crumpler; "Passenger (Claudette Colvin" by Rodney Ewing

Three Worlds - One Spirit

Three Worlds - One Spirit

September 19, 2020 - November 8, 2020
View these exquisite textiles


A collaboration over thousands of miles, spanning 21 years, is the core of this new exhibit “Three Worlds – One Spirit.” The exhibit features quilts by Artist Member Laura Lee Fritz, displayed in conjunction with work by Guatemala City quilt artist Priscilla Bianchi. Both artists are inspired by the indigenous Mayan textiles from Guatemala Highland villages. Laura’s quilt designs are created in response to the traditional huipiles (embroidered blouses) and stories told by the Mayan textiles. Priscilla Bianchi creates passionately brilliant quilt interpretations, which are then stitched and quilted by Laura Lee Fritz. Experience this captivating exhibition displayed in “trios,” with each artists’ artwork hung alongside the inspirational Mayan weaving. The museum is open and the exhibit is free to the public.


Laura Lee Fritz is a professional quilter, living in Sonoma and a member of numerous arts organizations including MarinMOCA. She has exhibited and taught, since 1987, from Alaska to Guatemala, from Hawaii to New York City. Her work has been collected by major textile museums, corporations, and individuals. Laura’s work includes commercially published books, of quilting line designs and how-to techniques. She also quilts the patchworks sewn by quilters all over the world.


Priscilla Bianchi is a celebrated quilt artist from Guatemala City. She has exhibited and taught internationally since 1999. The Guatemala National Postage Service released a series of stamps featuring her quilts, and a recent commission resulted in a magnificent 4-piece quilt in the lobby of the new Hyatt Centric Hotel in downtown Guatemala City. The commission was designed and sewn by Priscilla, and then quilted by Laura Lee Fritz.

Marin's Rock Art Scene

Marin's Rock Art Scene

September 12, 2020 - November 8, 2020
Click here to see the virtual tour!


The museum is open!

Many Marinites have been disappointed by the cancellation of their favorite music festivals this summer. MarinMOCA is offering the next best thing – an exhibit of Marin’s Rock Art that will bring music memories alive. “Marin’s Rock Art Scene” documents Marin County as ground zero to the explosion of rock music in the late 60s, with local musicians, artists and music venues that were central to the movement. Starting with the Grateful Dead’s first Marin home in Olompali to the halls of Mt. Tamalpais high school where Tupac Shakur roamed, viewers will enjoy fifty years of rock history and rock art.

The show features photography from Herb Greene and Jay Blakesberg, vintage posters by Stanley Mouse, Randy Tuten, Bonnie MacLean and Wes Wilson, original artwork by Joan Baez and Dave Getz, and priceless memorabilia, such as a Gibson electric guitar signed by the Jefferson Airplane.  Visitors will also encounter photographs of hand-painted concert sets for Santana and the Grateful Dead by artist George Mead. Collectible images of Joan Baez, Mimi Farina, the Grateful Dead, Carlos Santana, Janis Joplin and Big Brother and the Holding Company, Sons of Champlin, Elvin Bishop, Sammy Hagar, David Crosby, Neil Young, Green Day, The Fools, John Lee Hooker and Michael Franti are included in the exhibit. Posters and handbills from Pepperland, Mt. Tamalpais Amphitheater, the Fillmore, Winterland and more will also be on view

View the film: “Olompali, a Hippie Odyssey”
Visitors may view a film by Gregg Gibbs, narrated by Peter Coyote, titled “Olompai, a Hippie Odyssey.” With interviews, video, and classic photos, it chronicles the colorful history of the “Chosen Family,” the commune led by Don McCoy. Hosting informal concerts by the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane and other native rock bands, Olompali was the genesis of the summer of love in 1967. Viewers will learn about the great utopian experiment that burned brightly and flamed out too quickly. Screening in the Second Floor Gallery. Last screening at 3pm, Wed-Fri, and 4pm Sat-Sun.

Panel Discussion: Rock On! Marin County's Psychedelic Rock Scene in the 60s: Stories, Photos, and Art + Live Q&A.
Watch the replay here
Music memories from Marin County’s rock music scene in the late 60s have been kept alive by four notable rock musicians, artists and history buffs who came together for a live streaming event. Paul Liberatore, Jay Blakesberg, Dave Getz and Jonathan Korty (who are also great friends) provided stories, photos and art from the explosion of psychedelic rock music in Marin County starting in 1966, the year before San Francisco would get on the map as the world’s hippie capital. Highlights from the live panel discussion include the in-person scoop from Dave Getz on Janis Joplin -- her pain, her joy and how they developed the style of raw psychedelic blues-rock that created a sensation in 1968; Jay Blakesberg’s story about his first mind-blowing trip to California at age 18, traveling from New Jersey on a Greyhound bus, to photograph the Grateful Dead at their New Year’s show in Oakland in 1979; and much more.

Check out the virtual tour here.
Experience the exhibit from the comfort of your home, while groovin' to our Marin Rock Spotify tunes! Get in the mood by listening to this playlist, curated by music expert Josh Birnbaum. It's a great soundtrack for memories of the rockin' years here in Marin.

The exhibit is sponsored by Bread & Roses, The Rock Poster Society, Mike’s Bikes, and Bruce Burtch. 20% of all art sales will be donated to Bread & Roses, a Marin-based non-profit which brings hope, healing and joy through live music to isolated residents of homeless shelters, correction facilities, health care centers and convalescent homes  in the SF Bay Area.

Tickets are $10 general admission and $8 for seniors and students. MarinMOCA members and children 12 and under are free.

Image credits:

Jay Blakesberg “Grateful Dead” photograph,1979

Ashleigh Sumner, “I See No Change” Mixed Media, 2018

Joan Baez, “David Crosby” 2019, Acrylic Painting

Bonnie MacLean, “1967-68 New Year’s Eve Poster Artwork” Print


11th Annual Altered Book Exhibit & Fundraiser

11th Annual Altered Book Exhibit & Fundraiser

July 25, 2020 - August 30, 2020


We are over-the-moon grateful to YOU, our amazing community of Altered Book supporters. Winning bidders raised their paddles from coast to coast, and as far away as Mexico City, and helped us raise over $54,000! We so appreciate all the amazing artists who donated their engaging artwork to our most important fundraiser of the year. A spectacular success. Thank you!

Watch the recording of the Altered Book Art Talk here. Juror's Donna Seager of Seager Grey Gallery and Mary Austin, co-founder of the San Francisco Center for the Book discuss this year's fantastic exhibit and reveal the award winners! Download the list of award-winners here.

Presenting Sponsor: Carson Wealth

With additional support provided by:
Bank of Marin, The EACH FOUNDATION, Black Cat Studio. Avanti Fine Arts, Harvest Market, Marin Magazine, Alders Financial Solution

Go Figure: Conversations From the Wall

Go Figure: Conversations From the Wall

July 25, 2020 - August 29, 2020
See the virtual tour here


The museum is open by appointment only. Click here to reserve your preferred day and time.

Go Figure: Conversations From the Wall,” is a solo exhibit of paintings by artist member Barbara McLain, whose artwork emphasizes figurative expression. Her recent work investigates the figure utilizing repetition through imagery, gesture and composition. She surrounds each figure with a unique atmosphere, created via her expressionistic mark-making. Although each image conveys its own message, McLain says: “During the process of creating these paintings I discovered conversations taking place between the images, and continued to explore this concept. As a result, the paintings are displayed in related groups in the gallery, where viewers can participate in the visual conversations taking place on the walls.”

Painting is McLain’s way to explore the human spirit in its journey toward truth, and we invite the public to experience these evocative paintings. The exhibit is free to the public.

Watch the virtual tour here.


Art Imitating Life

Art Imitating Life

June 6, 2020 - July 19, 2020
See the virtual tour here


Before social distancing became the new normal, teacher Kathleen Lack and her students met weekly for her Portrait and Figure class. They shared ideas, inspiration, critiques and food. Out of this camaraderie an idea was born, inspired by the ensemble portraits of the 19th century. Eager to explore the artistic challenge of creating composite portraits that would include multiple individuals, the artists worked together to paint a 5 x 9’ circus-themed mural. Featured in the MarinMOCA exhibit “Art Imitating Life,” the mural is an engaging flight of fantasy, depicting a festive and social gathering. The composition includes 25 studio models, the artists themselves, a museum benefactor, a museum administrator, children, a lion, two cats and a fish. Exhibited alongside the mural are portrait works by each of the four artists: Harriet Burge, Maryellen Guroy, Ronnie Kaiser and Kathleen Lack. The artwork is installed through July 19 and is open to the public.

Left Coast

Left Coast

June 6, 2020 - July 19, 2020
Explore the exhibit with juror Ken Harman Hashimoto


Watch the Art Talk here with juror Ken Harman Hashimoto and Executive Director Nancy Rehkopf. The exhibit is installed through July 19 and can be viewed in person durning regular museum hours: Wed-Fri, 11:00am - 4:00pm, Sat-Sun, 11:00am - 5:00pm.

Join Executive Director, Nancy Rehkopf, for a virtual tour of the installed exhibit here.

The Marin Museum of Contemporary Art presents “Left Coast,” juried by gallerist Ken Harman Hashimoto. It features the work of 46 artists from across the country who are inspired by the ideology and allure of the West Coast.

When storied newspaperman Horace Greeley encouraged the country to “Go West, Young Man” in the mid-1800s, he was speaking to the tenets of Manifest Destiny. The idealistic and controversial ideology behind this message resonated for decades after, though the lure of the “West Coast” has evolved over the generations.

Waves of migrants have flowed west, seeking land, fortune and work, including today’s current hopefuls working in tech, wine and the burgeoning marijuana industry. The longstanding magnetism of the West Coast is undeniable, but we will also catch a glimpse of some unfortunate consequences of such appeal.

Mr. Hashimoto says “This exhibition explores the appeal of the West Coast through the optics of contemporary art. From painting to drawing to photography to sculpture, the Left Coast has inspired as many artistic mediums and styles as it has historic movements and migrations. It is my hope that this exhibition will inspire viewers, as much as the Best Coast has inspired the many artists, poets, filmmakers, farmers, miners and workers throughout history.” Check out all the artwork in the exhibit via the slide show here. View artist Angela Willets' video artwork here.

The exhibit is juried by Ken Harman Hashimoto, a gallerist, curator and arts writer based in New York City. His eponymous gallery space, Hashimoto Contemporary, was founded in San Francisco's Lower Nob Hill neighborhood in 2013. Six years later he expanded with a second location in New York City's Lower East Side. Both galleries present rotating monthly exhibitions featuring solo or group shows with a focus on emerging contemporary artists.

Download the list of participating artists here

Download the list of award-winners here

Deep Secrets

Deep Secrets

February 29, 2020 - May 21, 2020
See the virtual tour here


View the slide show of the exhibit and delight in the astonishing beauty, and fragility, of the ocean’s coral reefs, captured in the paintings on display in “Deep Secrets.”

This solo exhibit of artwork by Artist Member Marie Krajan is inspired by her love of the ocean, and her concern for the fragile coral reef ecosystems currently under bombardment from climate change and human activity. The past 50 years has seen considerable destruction to the coral reef habitats, and immediate intervention is needed to preserve these important natural wonders for future generations. With their seemingly infinite array of shapes and colors, teeming with life, the beauty and diversity of the coral reefs provides Ms. Krajan the freedom to experiment with abstract graphic elements and a strong color palette. This exhibit highlights these unique ocean treasures and serves as a reminder to the possible tragic loss of these delicate ecosystems.

This exhibit is free to the public.

Elmer Bischoff

Elmer Bischoff

February 29, 2020 - May 21, 2020
Catalog available for purchase online

Elmer Bischoff exhibit catalog available for purchase online here for $35.

Enjoy this virtual tour and art talk about the Elmer Bischoff exhibition: Click here to learn more about Bischoff's artwork and inspirations.

“Elmer Bischoff: A Survey of Paintings and Drawings, 1937 - 1972,” includes 38 expressive works that illustrate Bischoff’s visual journey from abstraction to figuration, and back again, over the course of four decades. Bischoff was a Bay Area painter deeply engaged in the practice of putting paint on canvas in a way that kept him constantly searching for something just out of his reach. His paintings are sensual and lyrical, with marks and compositions influenced by his love of music, including New Orleans Jazz and classical music.

The exhibit is comprised of rarely-viewed paintings and drawings, loaned from private collections and from members of Bischoff’s family. MarinMOCA is grateful for the expert assistance of George Adams, Bischoff Estate representative and owner of the George Adams Gallery, located in New York. Mr. Adams explains, “This exhibition is not so much about Elmer Bischoff becoming a painter as it is about his being a painter who pursued something essential in each work through many transformations of subject and process. One could say that he listened to his paintings and responded honestly until he could no longer hear what they were saying, whereupon he made the necessary switch to another genre. This approach fulfilled Bischoff’s desire to keep his work “alive and in the present.” 

This exhibit furthers the Bischoff legacy and illuminates an artist who remains one of our 20th century Bay Area legends.

Exhibit Admission: $10 for adults, $8 for seniors 65+ and students 13-25. Free for members.

The public is invited to the Art Talk on Saturday, February 29, 4pm - 5pm with Meghan O'Callaghan, art scholar and curator from Toronto, Canada. The talk is followed by a reception from 5pm - 7pm. An exhibition catalog featuring an essay by former Stanford Cantor Arts Center curator Hilarie Faberman will be available for purchase.

Adult Docent Tours: Thursdays at 11:00 am and Saturdays at 2:00 pm, beginning on March 5.

Underwriting support provided by The Herbst Foundation
Additional support provided by: Susan and Daniel Daniloff, Robin Eber, Marin Landscape Materials
Media Partner: MarinARTS



Beneath The Surface

Beneath The Surface

January 11, 2020 - February 23, 2020
Art Talk on Jan 11, 4:30pm
Reception: January 11, 5pm-7pm


Opening Reception on January 11, 2020. Juror DeWitt Cheng will conduct a “walk and talk” through the gallery at 4:30pm, followed by the Reception from 5-7pm.

“Beneath The Surface,” is an exhibit of work that delves deep into the inner world of the artist. Layer upon layer, artists explore their medium and subject matter, where the end result belies the twists and turns of their creative journey. The artists seek to uncover, and reveal, that there is more to this world than meets the eye. Visitors of all ages are invited to experience this engaging show of artwork in a variety of media. Awards will be juried by well-known Bay Area writer and curator, DeWitt Cheng. Mr. Cheng has degrees in studio practice as well as art history. He was curator at Stanford Art Spaces from 2013 to 2016, and is now Chief Curator at Peninsula Museum of Art. He writes for East Bay Express, East Bay Monthly, Visual Art Source, The Richmond Review, and his blog, ArtOpticon.us. The exhibit runs January 11 - February 23, 2020. This exhibit is free to the public. 

Download the list of award winners here.