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SF MOMA

The Snøhetta-designed San Francisco Museum of Modern Art Holds A Pivotal Permanent Collection

July, 2019
SF MOMA | Photographed by Henrik Kam

Found in San Francisco’s Bay Area, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is the largest museum of modern and contemporary art in the United States. Presenting painting, sculpture, photography, architecture, design and media arts all under the one roof in the LEED Gold-certified building, SF MOMA is one of the most pivotal art institutions in the US. 

A major renovation to the museum saw a new building by architects Snøhetta completed in 2016. The original building, built in 1988 by renowned Swiss architect Mario Botta, saw a dramatic revision to accommodate the museum’s rapid growth. The new building can now accommodate more visitors and major touring exhibitions. 

The museum’s façade by Snøhetta is inspired by the waters and fog of the San Francisco Bay, and blends in seamlessly to the surrounding landscape whilst still retaining its own identity (the rippled white surface is instantly identifiable from afar). The museum’s design allows light to flood in to the gallery spaces, also celebrating the open terraces and gardens integrated into the museum’s design. The fluid interaction between the museum and its neighbours is found even through pathways leading to and from the institution. 

New spaces were conceived such as the Pritzker Center for Photography, a 15,000 square foot gallery space, with study and interpretive areas, making it the largest gallery and interpretive space in a U.S. art museum permanently dedicated to photography. Smaller galleries for Architecture and Design join Doris and Donald Fisher Collection Galleries which are comprised of 60,000 square feet of gallery space on three floors. Dedicated to selected works from one of the most outstanding collections of postwar and contemporary art in the world, the new galleries showcase SF MOMA’s forward-thinking collection also respecting the importance of historical past works. 

SF MOMA designed by Snøhetta
SF MOMA designed by Snøhetta

Recently SFMOMA announced 11 new acquisitions, by 10 modern and contemporary artists. To strategically diversify the collection, the newly-acquired works were funded by a Rothko sale to enable the long-term vision of the museum.

‘Untitled’ (1993) by Barry McGee and ‘lder Sun Benjamin’(2018) by Frank Bowling were acquired to diversify the already stellar permanent collection held by the museum. Bowling is indeed one of the 20th and 21st century’s most pivotal artists, with his long explorations on postcolonial states, territories and migration in his work sparking much-needed conversations on the topics. New works by Brazilian artist Lygia Clark, American artist Mickalene Thomas and Harlem-born artist Norman Lewis also join the permanent collection.

Frank Bowling, Elder Sun Benjamin, 2018; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, purchase, by exchange, through a gift of Peggy Guggenheim; © Frank Bowling; photo: Katherine Du Tiel

SF MOMA currently exhibit Andy Warhol From A to B and Back Again, organised together with the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. This exhibition is the first Andy Warhol retrospective organized in the U.S. since 1989. It reconsiders the work of one of the most inventive, influential, and important American artists of our time. Opening the conversation in the debate of ‘what is originality’, Warhol has created his own definition and made it his trademark. The retrospective is exhibited until September 2, 2019.

Jean-Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol, 'Paramount', 1984-85 | Private collection The Estate of Jean-Michel Basquait
Andy Warhol 'Ethel Skull 36 Times', 1936 | Courtesy Whitney Museum of Modern Art NYC
SF MOMA | Image Henrik Kam

SF MOMA

151 Third St
San Francisco, CA 94103

Open Friday–Tuesday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. and Thursday, 10 a.m.–9 p.m. Closed Wednesday.

This story was facilitated by VisitCalifornia

July, 2019