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From ancient treasures to photographs

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On loan from the British Museum, the monumental, cuneiform-carved Cyrus Cylinder comes to the Asian Art Museum, one of five stops on its American tour. - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy Photo
  • On loan from the British Museum, the monumental, cuneiform-carved Cyrus Cylinder comes to the Asian Art Museum, one of five stops on its American tour.

Although the fine arts scene in The City will be dominated by photography this summer, major museums also are showcasing masterworks of art spanning centuries.

The Clock

Christian Marclay’s hypnotic montage chronicles the passage of the 24-hour day via thousands of film clips displaying the real time. The last big highlight at  SFMOMA before it closes for the three-year expansion project, the show runs through June 1 at 151 Third St., S.F. Call (415) 357-4000 or visit www.sfmoma.org.

Richard Misrach, Lee Friedlander

“Revisiting the South: Richard Misrach’s Cancer Alley” features the devastated Mississippi River ecosystem. In “The Cray Photographs,” Lee Friedlander captures 1980s women doing computer manufacturing. Both run through June 16 at Cantor Arts Center, Stanford University, Lomita Drive at Museum Way. Call (650) 723-4177 or visit www.museum.stanford.edu.

Shih Chieh Huang: Synthetic Seduction

The Taiwanese-born New York artist’s weird but fun installation uses everyday objects and computer and technological gizmos to evoke mating rituals of marine life. The show, at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 401 Mission St., S.F., closes June 30. Tickets are $8-$10. Call (415) 978-2787 or visit www.ybca.org.

In the Moment

More than 1,300 years are covered in “In the Moment: Japanese Art from the Larry Ellison Collection.” The show of about 80 artworks from the Oracle chief’s personal collection includes silk-screen paintings, wood and metal work, and sculptures. Among the highlights: folding screens from the 1600s, paintings by Maruyama Okyo and Ito Jakuchu from the 1700s, and significant pieces from the Momoyama (1573-1615) and Edo (1615-1868) periods.  [June 28-Sept. 22. $8-$12. Asian Art Museum, 200 Larkin St., S.F.; (415) 581-3500, www.asianart.org]

Cyrus Cylinder

On loan from the British Museum, the monumental, cuneiform-carved Cyrus Cylinder comes to the Asian Art Museum, one of five stops on its American tour. A major artifact from the ancient world, the cylinder’s script praises Persian King Cyrus the Great (559-530 B.C.) and encourages religious and personal freedoms. [Aug. 9-Sept. 22. $8-$12. Asian Art Museum, 200 Larkin St., S.F.; (415) 581-3500, www.asianart.org]

Beat Memories: The Photographs of Allen Ginsberg

Not just a poetic visionary, Allen Ginsberg also loved photography, and he candidly captured the freewheeling ways of his literary posse that included Jack Kerouac, William S. Burroughs, Neal Cassady and others. More than 80 of Ginsberg’s photos, featuring his own handwritten notations, come to The City in a show organized by the National Gallery of Art. [Through Sept. 8. $5-$12. Contemporary Jewish Museum, 736 Mission St., S.F.; (415) 655-7800, www.thecjm.org]

Gordon Parks, J.D. Ojeikere

The Museum of the African Diaspora presents two very different, iconic photographers side by side. “Gordon Parks: Photographs at his Centennial” is a collection of prints by Parks (director of the 1971 film “Shaft”), who worked for Vogue and Life, but also addressed poverty and segregation in his photos. Ojeikere, a big name in his home country known for stylish portraits of elaborate hair styles, is the subject of “J.D. Ojeikere, Nigerian Photographer: Sartorial Moments and the Nearness of Yesterday”; it is the first show of his work on the West Coast. [Friday-Sept. 29. $5-$10. Museum of the African Diaspora, 685 Mission St., S.F.; (415) 358-7200, www.moadsf.org]

Impressionists on the Water

More than 80 works by Claude Monet, Gustave Caillebotte, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Camille Pissarro, Maurice Denis and Paul Signac are in this show highlighting the Neptunian influence on impressionist and post-impressionist masters. Placid waters, stoic ships and stormy seas are themes in the exhibit, organized by the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, with key loans from the Musee D’Orsay, the Van Gogh Museum and the J. Paul Getty Museum. The show’s timing coincides with the America’s Cup races. [Saturday-Oct. 13. $11-$21. Legion of Honor, Lincoln Park, 100 34th Ave., S.F.; (415) 750-3600, www.legionofhonor.famsf.org]

Annie Leibovitz: Pilgrimage

In “Pilgrimage,” the photographer best known for her wind-blown Vanity Fair portraits shows more than 70 images of personal interest to her, highlighting topics ranging from Niagara Falls to artist studios. [June 6-Sept. 8. $5-$8. San Jose Museum of Art, 110 S. Market St., San Jose; (408) 271-6840, www.sjmusart.org]

Beyond Belief

The large show, subtitled “100 Years of Spiritual Modernism in Art,” features works by 48 modern and contemporary artists addressing spirituality in more than 60 pieces. Mark Rothko, Helen Frankenthaler, Alfred Stieglitz, Jackson Pollock, Piet Mondrian, Philip Guston, Bruce Connor and Agnes Martin are among the masters represented in the show, a collaboration between the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Contemporary Jewish Museum. [June 28-Oct. 27. $5-$12. Contemporary Jewish Museum, 736 Mission St., S.F.; (415) 655-7800, www.thecjm.org]

Peter Stackpole: Bridging the Bay

The photographer’s dizzying images of the construction of both the Bay Bridge and the Golden Gate Bridge will be on view to coincide with the anticipated opening of the new Bay Bridge span. [July 20-January. $6-$12. Oakland Museum of California, 1000 Oak St., Oakland; (510) 318-8400, www.museumca.org]