With the expanded and revamped San Francisco Museum of Modern Art gearing up to open its doors three blocks from the SoFab office, our creative team secured tickets to the preview. We were delighted by what we encountered. Here is what we have to report back:
After years of anticipation, the SFMOMA re-opening was worth the wait. The new design by Snøhetta created 235,000 square feet of gallery space, giving each exhibit room to breathe and stun onlookers. We were very impressed with the variety of the work on display – there really is something from every era of modern art. Especially delightful was the graphic design exhibit. We all lingered quite long in that gallery.
The new floor plan has been carefully laid out to guide the visitor through seven floors of 20th century and contemporary art. If you start from the bottom and make your way to the top, you will first encounter the Modernist movements of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The extensive collection includes pieces from the impressionists, the cubists, the expressionists, the dadaists and the surrealists. They even have one of Frida Kahlo’s earliest paintings, which she happened to paint while living in San Francisco in 1937 (while Diego Rivera was painting the SFAI murals). They have dedicated a room to Alexander Calder—the Motion Lab— showcasing his progress from early wire outline sculptures to the grand mobiles with which he gained his renown.
The 4th and 5th floors are dedicated to abstract expressionism, minimal and pop art—housing an impressive collection of Warhol’s and Liechtenstein’s. The 6th floor contains an exhibit of German Art from the 1960’s onward and the beautiful graphic design exhibit we loved, titled “From Typography to Interface.” It hosted classic design posters from the Olivetti era and the International Typographic Style—including pieces by Armin Hoffman and Paul Rand—to the psychedelic posters of the San Francisco 70s. Beyond posters and typography, it displayed the initial systems of icon design by Otl Aicher for the 1972 Olympics and graphical user interface designs for the original Mackintosh by Susan Kare.
The top floor holds the expanded collection of contemporary work, including pieces from Matthew Barney, Gabriel Orozco, Ana Mendieta, William Kentridge, Chuck Close and Andreas Gursky. Many of these pieces were thought-provoking and politically charged.
Beyond the larger exhibit spaces, they have built special display rooms for photography, video and new media installations, as well as gorgeous sculpture gardens housing Richard Serra sculptures and living green walls.
The new SFMOMA is a worthy destination in our city and we can’t wait to return and bring others!