Residents of the Hayes Valley condos at Fulton 555 now find themselves less than two miles from a nearly peerless art institution: on May 14th, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art reopened its doors and immediately became the largest contemporary art museum in the country. After being closed for nearly three years for an ambitious $305 million expansion that almost tripled the museum’s gallery and exhibition space, the acclaimed institution now finds itself on another level entirely. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the brand new SFMOMA contains an astonishing 4,000 additional works.
The new SFMOMA was designed by an international architecture firm, Snøhetta, that created an exterior ten-story addition that is as bright, luminous, and wave-like as stacked white paper, and complements the Mario Botta-designed building that sits behind it. Just as the Guggenheim Museum in New York City exudes a level of artistry on par with its interior holdings, the new SFMOMA’s physical structure is an impressive and vibrant creation in itself.
Meanwhile, the new interior is enormous and wildly diverse. There are 19 exhibitions running currently, including “Pop, Minimal, and Figurative Art,” a part of the ever-expanding Fisher Collection that highlights work from Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Sol LeWitt, and Chuck Close, among others. There’s also “The Campaign for Art: Modern and Contemporary,” which features paintings by Jackson Pollock and Jasper Johns and stunning photographs by Diane Arbus. Exhibitions on the modernist painter Paul Klee, the innovative sculptor Alexander Calder, and the textile artist Claudy Jongstra are also currently on view. Moreover, the museum hosts regular spotlight conversations about various icons throughout the summer: these 20- to 30-minute sessions will cover Andy Warhol, Alexander Calder, Mark Rothko, Diane Arbus, and Ellsworth Kelly. Check their website for more details.
The SFMOMA’s grand reopening is the perfect symbol of its city’s creative impulses: a constantly evolving mix of old and new, the traditional and the avant-garde, and the canonical and the revolutionary that can’t help but inspire anyone who visits.