Fodor's Expert Review San Francisco Art Institute
The number-one reason for a visit is Mexican master Diego Rivera's The Making of a Fresco Showing the Building of a City (1931), in the student gallery to your immediate left inside the entrance. Rivera himself is in the fresco—his broad behind is to the viewer—and he's surrounded by his assistants. They in turn are surrounded by a construction scene, laborers, and city notables such as sculptor Robert Stackpole and architect Timothy Pfleuger. Making is one of three San Francisco murals painted by Rivera. The number-two reason to come here is the café, or more precisely the eye-popping, panoramic view from the café, which serves surprisingly decent food for a song.
The Walter & McBean Galleries (415/749–4563; Tues. 11–7, Wed.–Sat. 11–6) exhibit the often provocative works of established artists.