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22 Can’t Miss Exhibits in San Diego

Nail art, watercolor, insects, and more subjects appearing in galleries and events this season
Fabiola Jean-Louis

By Carly Shihadeh

September 7

After an impressive run on the East Coast, photographer Fabiola Jean-Louis is making her West Coast debut at the Lux Art Institute this fall. Jean-Louis’s work discusses race, class, violence, and oppression as it relates to how historical depictions of the black female body influence the present.

Through November 2

September 29

The “New Roaring ’20s” will be showcased in Uptown Meets Downtown, a rare gallery-to-gallery collaboration. The artists of The Studio Door will give the 1920s a contemporary twist when they show at Sparks Gallery.

Through January 5

September 29

The San Diego Watercolor Society holds its 39th Annual International Exhibition. It’s free to the public; the works are selected by jury and the winners receive prizes.

Through October 30

22 Can't Miss Exhibits in San Diego

22 Can’t Miss Exhibits in San Diego


October 5

While its Balboa Park building is closed for a facelift, Mingei International Museum is still open for visitors at popup exhibitions like Metamorphosis. The exhibition’s theme aligns with Mingei’s renovation project and will be on view at San Diego City College’s City Gallery.

Through December 8

October 5

Head to Tiny Canvases at Oceanside Museum of Art to see the extravagant nail designs by nail-enhancement company CND—started 40 years ago by an Oceanside chemist— paired with famous fashion designers’ runway looks.

Through February 9

22 Can't Miss Exhibits in San Diego

22 Can’t Miss Exhibits in San Diego

Tiny Canvases

October 11

The Latin American Art Fair will return for its fifth year at Bread & Salt, bringing an exciting intercultural exchange featuring artists from all across northern Baja and SoCal.

Through October 13

October 12

Kline Swonger wants to show you how the physical world interacts with your mind. His exhibit at North Park’s Art Produce, Space In-Between, features sculpture and installations.

Through November 16

October 12

The Museum of Photographic Arts’ The Stories They Tell draws from its collection of almost 9,000 photographs to tell the history of the medium. Works by “child genius of American photography” Brett Weston will be on display, among others dating all the way back to the 1920s.

Through February 17

22 Can't Miss Exhibits in San Diego

22 Can’t Miss Exhibits in San Diego

The Stories They Tell | Credit: Troi Anderson, Untitled #12, 2016, inkjet print. Collection of the Museum of Photographic Arts. Gift of the artist, Jon Doellstedt, John Mullen and Mike Brase, John Renner and Thomas Lane, and Fred Ross and Aaron Creurer. © Troi Anderson.

October 17

Born in Guatemala and residing in Argentina, Luis González Palma has had his photographs exhibited around the globe. Head to SDSU Downtown Gallery to view Constructed Mythologies: Luis González Palma, his first solo exhibition in San Diego.

Through January 26

October 19

Size Matters pays tribute to the little guys: Only photographs smaller than 10 inches will be featured in this exhibition in Sparks Gallery’s annual Medium Festival of Photography.

Through November 19

November 9

The US government’s extremely rare “Extraordinary Ability” green card isn’t given to just anyone. But Canadian James Verbicky has had work featured in the Louvre and auctioned by Sotheby’s and Christie’s. Verbicky’s next venture is an exhibit at San Diego’s own Madison Gallery.

Through January 3

November 9

A Gilded Age salon or the modern-day San Diego Museum of Art? You won’t be able to tell what era you’re in while enjoying William Adolphe Bouguereau’s work. Bouguereau & America reflects the tastes, religious beliefs, sexual mores, social problems, and desires of American collectors from the late 19th to the early 20th century.

Through March 15

November 21

Known for putting bizarre twists on everyday objects, Nancy Lupo will show Bound to the Earth at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego.

Through March 22

22 Can't Miss Exhibits in San Diego

22 Can’t Miss Exhibits in San Diego

Insects Face to Face

November 23

Want to know what bugs would look like if they were the same size as your cats and dogs? Insects Face to Face at the San Diego Natural History Museum promises outrageous, menacing, and even cute images of bugs using macro photography.

Through November 2020

November 30

Nick Roth puts you face to face with fate—the three Greek mythological Fates, that is—at the San Diego Museum of Art in a 10-minute animation depicting the swirl of events that make up our lives. Oh Zeus!

Through March 1

January 11

In Extra-Ordinary Collusion 2.0, science meets art and learning meets entertainment. San Diego artists will explain the latest and greatest scientific findings in visual, auditory, and impressionistic ways at the San Diego Art Institute.

Through March 1

January 18

Ever wonder how a still photograph can convey so much movement? From historic and contemporary cinema and pictures to hands-on devices, the Museum of Photographic Arts’ Illusion: The Magic of Motion explores how our eyes perceive movement.

Through January 17, 2021

February 8

PrintMaking, Making Prints, and Making Art History at SDSU Downtown Gallery celebrates five decades of the university’s Chicano/a Studies Department and Chicano/a artists who were pioneers of the printmaking genre.

Through April 5

February 8

Does art imitate life or vice versa? The former is true for Hunt Slonem. His neo-expressionist paintings are inspired by his 60 pet birds. From the Guggenheim to the Met, Slonem’s work is in high demand. Now, Hunt Slonem: A Midsummer Night’s Dream is coming to Madison Gallery in Solana Beach.

Through April 10

March 7

The Studio Door showcases their biennial 50 to Watch for a limited time.

Through March 27

March 7

Both conventional expressions of photography and traditional Chinese aesthetics will be challenged in the Museum of Photographic Arts’ Out of the Shadows. For many of the artists selected, this will be their debut in an American museum.

Through September 6

April 16

SDSU Downtown Gallery celebrates the golden anniversary of the university’s Women’s Studies Department with We the People. This exhibit features five female artists whose work addresses feminism, gender equality, and stereotypes in the 20th and 21st centuries.

Through June 28

22 Can’t Miss Exhibits in San Diego

Fabiola Jean-Louis

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