SFMOMA reveals new look, it is sexy

Pub date February 14, 2013
SectionPixel Vision

We were a bag of mixed artfan emotions when SFMOMA sent us a peek at what the museum will look like in early 2016, when the renovations that will shutter its doors in June are complete. The bad: our city’s preeminent modern art museum will be sorely missed — after all, who else would have let us bring Boychild, Lil Miss Hot Mess, and Lady Bear to run amok in the upstairs cafe on a Thursday night? (Memories.) But, the good: there is a lot of good. Read on for the highlights of what we can expect from the museum’s new incarnation, and what’s going to be happening while we wait.

– In the new building, designed by Oslo-NYC firm Snøhetta, gallery capacity expanded by 130,000 square feet. 

– That number up there includes a 15,000 ground floor that won’t have to pay to access, but which is nonetheless packed with exhibitions. For when the admisison price just isn’t stoking your creative fires.

– SF’s largest public native plant vertical garden, located on a brand-new seventh-floor outdoor terrace. The perfect place for checking out the expressive skyline that exists in those parts of downtown — two floors higher than the sculpture garden, two floors of view, baby. 

– A new all-white performance space that’ll be the spot for dance, sound, etc. in addition to the Phyllis Wattis Theater, which is also getting a facelift.

– More space designated for education — that means the amount of schoolchildren benefiting from programming will go up to 55,000 from 18,000. 

– “SFMOMA is more than just a building,” said SFMOMA director Neal Benezra in the press release. “We’re a set of intersecting cultural communities.” That’s good for us — it means the museum’s collections won’t be moldering in a basement somewhere (entirely) during the two-and-a-half years of renovations. First up: “100 Years of the Spiritual in Modern Art,” a multi-denominational show that opens June 27 that examines art inspired by faith, at the Contemporary Jewish Museum. 2014 offerings will include a multimedia meditation on intimacy during apartheid in South Africa at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and a look at what “gorgeous” means by divergent art pairings at the Asian Art Museum.

– Other things to look forward to include a Chrissy Field site-specific installation of Mark di Suvero sculptures, the largest exhibition of the work of that artist, who moved to SF from Shanghai and was constantly inspired by the same Golden Gate Bridge that’ll look over the exhibition, which’ll set up shop in June through May 2014. That’s the first of many SFMOMA outdoor exhibitions that’ll take place in Los Altos and elsewhere.

More details on the renovations available here and here