San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
|San Francisco Museum of Modern Art|
|Location||151 Third Street
San Francisco, California
|President||Robert J. Fisher|
The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) is a modern art museum located in San Francisco, California. A nonprofit organization, SFMOMA holds an internationally recognized collection of modern and contemporary art and was the first museum on the West Coast devoted solely to 20th century art. The museum’s current collection includes over 26,000 works of painting, sculpture, photography, architecture, design, and media arts. The building complex was designed by Swiss architect Mario Botta.
SFMOMA's Research Library was established in 1935 and contains extensive resources pertaining to modern and contemporary art, including books, periodicals, artists’ files, and lecture recordings. The museum also houses a restaurant, Caffè Museo, and a coffee bar run by the Blue Bottle Coffee Company.
SFMOMA was founded in 1935 under director Grace L. McCann Morley as the San Francisco Museum of Art. For its first sixty years, the museum occupied the fourth floor of the War Memorial Veterans Building on Van Ness Avenue in the Civic Center. A gift of 36 artworks from Albert M. Bender, including The Flower Carrier (1935) by Diego Rivera, established the basis of the permanent collection. Bender donated more than 1,100 objects to SFMOMA during his lifetime and endowed the museum's first purchase fund.
The museum began its second year with an exhibition of works by Henri Matisse. In this same year the museum established its photography collection, becoming one of the first museums to recognize photography as a fine art. SFMOMA held its first architecture exhibition, entitled Telesis: Space for Living, in 1940. SFMOMA was obliged to move to a temporary facility on Post Street in March 1945 to make way for the United Nations Conference on International Organization. The museum returned to its original Van Ness location in July, upon the signing of the United Nations Charter. Later that year SFMOMA hosted Jackson Pollock's first solo museum exhibition.
Founding director Grace Morley held film screenings at the museum beginning in 1937, just two years after the institution opened. In 1946 Morley brought in filmmaker Frank Stauffacher to found SFMOMA’s influential Art in Cinema film series, which ran for nine years. SFMOMA continued its expansion into new media with the 1951 launch of a biweekly television program entitled Art in Your Life. The series, later renamed Discovery, ran for three years. Morley ended her 23-year tenure as museum director in 1958 and was succeeded by George D. Culler (1958–65) and Gerald Nordland (1966–72). The museum rose to international prominence under director Henry T. Hopkins (1974–86), adding "Modern" to its title in 1975. Since 1967, SFMOMA has honored San Francisco Bay Area artists with its biennial SECA Art Award.
In the 1980s, under Hopkins and his successor John R. Lane (1987–1997), SFMOMA established three new curatorial posts: curator of painting and sculpture, curator of architecture and design, and curator of media arts. The positions of director of education and director of photography were elevated to full curatorial roles. At this time SFMOMA took on an active special exhibitions program, both organizing and hosting traveling exhibitions., including major presentations of the work of Jeff Koons, Sigmar Polke, and Willem de Kooning.
Until the opening of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles in 1987 and the modern and contemporary wing of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, San Francisco's museum tended to function as the state's flagship for modern and contemporary art. In January 1995 the museum opened its current location at 151 Third Street, adjacent to Yerba Buena Gardens in the SOMA district. Mario Botta, a Swiss architect from Canton Ticino, designed the new US$60 million facility. Art patron Phyllis Wattis helped the museum acquire key works by Magritte, Mondrian, Andy Warhol, Eva Hesse and Wayne Thiebaud.
SFMOMA made a number of important acquisitions under the direction of David A. Ross (1998–2001), who had been recruited from the Whitney Museum in New York, including works by Ellsworth Kelly, Robert Rauschenberg, René Magritte, and Piet Mondrian, as well as Marcel Duchamp’s iconic Fountain (1917/1964). Those and acquisitions of works by Jasper Johns, Mark Rothko, Francis Bacon, Alexander Calder, Chuck Close and Frank Stella put the institution in the top ranks of American museums of modern art. After three years and $140 million building up the collection, Ross resigned when a slow economy was forcing the museum to keep a tighter rein on its resources. Under current director Neal Benezra, who had been recruited from the Art Institute of Chicago in 2002, SFMOMA has seen an increase in both visitor numbers and membership while continuing to build its collection.
Collections, exhibitions, and programs 
Founded in 1935, SFMOMA has built a reputation as a premier institution for contemporary art. Jackson Pollock had his first museum show there, as did Clyfford Still and Arshile Gorky. The museum has in its collection important works by Andy Warhol, Jackson Pollock, Richard Diebenkorn, Still, Henri Matisse, Paul Klee, Marcel Duchamp and Ansel Adams, among others. Annually, the museum hosts more than twenty exhibitions and over three hundred educational programs.
In 2009, the museum gained a custodial relationship for the important contemporary art collection of Doris and Donald Fisher of The Gap. The Fisher Collection includes some 1,100 works from artists such as Alexander Calder, Chuck Close, Willem de Kooning, Richard Diebenkorn, Anselm Kiefer, Ellsworth Kelly, Roy Lichtenstein, Brice Marden, Agnes Martin, Gerhard Richter, Richard Serra, Cy Twombly, and Andy Warhol, among many others. The collection will be on loan to SFMOMA for a period of 100 years.
In February 2011, the acquisition of 195 new works was announced, including paintings from Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg and Francis Bacon. The works will be displayed along with the Fisher collection upon the museum's expansion, slated to be completed in 2016.
In 2008, the museum launched a re-designed website which enables users to browse the museum's permanent collection.
Selected Collection Highlights 
- Ocean Park #54 by Richard Diebenkorn
- The Nest by Louise Bourgeois
- The Flower Carrier by Diego Rivera
- Frieda and Diego Rivera by Frida (Frieda) Kahlo
- Collection (formerly Untitled) by Robert Rauschenberg
- 1947-S by Clyfford Still
- A Set of Six Self-Portraits by Andy Warhol
- My Mother Posing for Me, from the series Pictures from Home by Larry Sultan
- Untitled, Memphis by William Eggleston
- Where There's Smoke Zig Zag chair (Rietveld) by Maarten Baas
- Living Pictures / Men in Gold by Sylvie Blocher
- Three Screen Ray by Bruce Conner
- Video Quartet by Christian Marclay
- Intermission by Edward Hopper
More from the Collection 
Rothko No 14
Franz Marc. Gebirge (Mountains), 1911-1912
Anna Atkins. Asplenium radicans (Jamaica), ca. 1850
Lewis Wickes Hine. Woman with Folded Headdress, Ellis Island, NY, 1905
Eero Saarinen. Womb Chair, 1946
Carleton E. Watkins. Mt. Broderick, Nevada Fall, 700 ft., Yo Semite, 1861
Paul Klee. A Spirit Serves a Small Breakfast, Angel Brings the Desired, 1920
Simultaneous Counter-Composition 1929 Theo van Doesberg.jpg
Theo van Doesburg. Contre composition simultanée (Simultaneous Counter-Composition), 1929
Sargent Johnson. Forever Free, 1933
Mario Botta building 
Plans to expand the museum at its old site, on upper floors of the Veterans' Memorial Building in San Francisco's Civic Center, were thwarted in the late 1980s. In the summer of 1988, architects Mario Botta, Thomas Beeby and Frank Gehry were announced as finalists in a competition to design the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art's new structure in Downtown. Semifinalists had included Charles Moore and Tadao Ando. The three finalists were to present site-specific design proposals later that year, but the museum cancelled its architectural competition after only a month and went with the 45-year-old Botta.
The new museum, planned in association with architects Hellmuth, Obata and Kassabaum, was built on a 59,000-square-foot parking lot on Third Street between Mission and Howard streets. The south-of-Market site, a district near the convention center mainly consisting of parking lots, was targeted through an agreement between the museum, the redevelopment agency and the development firm of Olympia & York. Land was provided by the agency and developer, but the rest of the museum was be privately funded. Construction of the new museum began in early 1992, with an opening in 1995, the institution's 60th anniversary.
At the time of the new building's opening, SFMOMA touted itself as the largest new American art museum of the decade and, with its 50,000 square feet of exhibition space, the second-largest single structure in the United States devoted to modern art. (New York's Museum of Modern Art, with 100,000 square feet of gallery space, was then the largest single structure, while the nearly 80,000 combined square feet of Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles put it in second place). The museum consists of galleries rising around a central, skylighted atrium. Its structure features a central 130-foot-high cylinder ringed with trees and sky-lit stepped back stone facade. The second floor has skylighted 16-foot-high galleries, traditionally arranged on an axis, and houses the museum's permanent collection of 20th-Century painting and sculpture. From the fourth floor, a flexible space devoted to temporary exhibitions, a double stair inserted between the inner and outer walls of the skylight tower leads to the fifth floor. There, visitors must cross a steel bowstring-truss bridge, under the skylight, to get to the gallery, a single, expansive 23-foot-high space that can accommodate large-scale works. In addition to exhibit space, the facility houses an auditorium, workshop space, a library, restaurant and bookshop. Botta's interior design is marked by alternating bands of polished and flame-finished black granite on the floor, ground-level walls, stair and column bases; and bands of natural and black-stained wood on the reception desks and coat-check desk.
Building and expansion 
In 2009 SFMOMA opened its 14,400 sq ft (1,340 m2) rooftop garden, designed by Jensen Architects in collaboration with Conger Moss Guillard Landscape Architecture. The space serves as an indoor/outdoor sculpture gallery and is connected to the museum's fifth-floor galleries by a glass-enclosed bridge.
But the museum needed more gallery space to show a collection that has doubled over 15 years after the Botta builing's inauguration, to 27,000 objects. SFMOMA plans to open a new wing in 2016. A shortlist released in May 2010 included four firms officially under consideration for the project, Adjaye Associates, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Foster + Partners, and Snøhetta. In July 2010 the museum selected Norwegian architecture firm Snøhetta to design the expansion, which will cover 235,000 square feet of space and triple the size of SFMOMA's galleries. The museum envisions adding 100,000 square feet of public spaces and 40,000 for back-shop offices, conservation and an expanded library. The current building is 225,000 square feet, 65,000 of it open to the public. Moving offices to ten stories of the new wing will free up an additional 13,000 square feet of exhibition space in the existing building. There will be a new all-glass gallery on Howard Street that is free to the public, a wider entrance stairway and a restaurant in the lobby.
The museum expects attendance to jump from the current 650,000 a year to more than one million visitors annually once the new wing opens.
The museum’s endowment is currently hovering around $100 million.
Staff and officers 
The current director of SFMOMA is Neal Benezra, who was appointed in 2002. Previous directors include:
- 1925-1958 Grace Morley
- 1958-1965 George D. Culler
- 1966-1972 Gerald Nordland
- 1974-1986 Henry T. Hopkins
- 1987-1997 John R. Lane
- 1998-2001 David A. Ross
SFMOMA Artists Gallery at Fort Mason 
The museum also operates the Artists Gallery at Fort Mason, a nonprofit gallery located at Fort Mason Center in San Francisco’s Marina district. The Artists Gallery was founded in 1978 as an outlet for emerging and established Northern California artists. The gallery holds eight exhibitions each year, including solo, group, and thematic shows. Works cover a range of styles and media, from traditional to experimental, and all works are available for rent or purchase.
See also 
- List of museums in San Francisco
- America's Favorite Architecture 2007
- 49-Mile Scenic Drive
- Donald Fisher
- San Francisco Art Institute
- Collection, at sfmoma.org.
- Library + Archives at sfmoma.org.
- Food + Drink: Dining at SFMOMA at sfmoma.org.
- Timeline at sfmoma.org.
- Baker, Kenneth (Thursday, 1 October 2009). "Henry T. Hopkins Dies, Put 'Modern' in SFMOMA". The San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2009-10-01.
- History and Staff at sfmoma.org.
- William Wilson (July 7, 1988), San Francisco Art Museum Tells Plans for New Structure Los Angeles Times.
- San Francisco Museum of Modern Art at Glass Steel and Stone
- Scarlet Cheng (January 31, 2010), San Francisco Museum of Modern Art turns 75 with a splash Los Angeles Times.
- Celestine Bohlen (August 18, 2001), San Francisco Museum Director Resigns Suddenly New York Times.
- Robin Pogrebin (November 30, 2011), An Imposing Museum Turns Warm and Fuzzy New York Times.
- Littlejohn, David (Wednesday, 7 July 2010). "SFMOMA Fills in Some Blanks". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2009-07-06.
- Kino, Carol (June 1, 2010). "Private Collection Becomes Very Public". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-08-03.
- Baker, Kenneth. SFMOMA hits jackpot with new acquisitions. SFGate.com. February 3, 2011.
- Suzanne Muchnic (November 18, 1986), Lane Director Of S.f. Modern Art Museum Los Angeles Times.
- John Voland (August 1, 1988), Architecture Los Angeles Times.
- Sam Hall Kaplan (September 29, 1988), S.F.Museum Job Goes to Swiss Architect Los Angeles Times.
- John Boudreaud (September 12, 1990), New Home for San Francisco Art Museum Los Angeles Times.
- Pilar Viladas (January 15, 1995), San Francisco's MOMA Moment Los Angeles Times.
- Michael Kimmelman (January 24, 1995), In San Francisco, a New Home for Art New York Times.
- SFMOMA Rooftop Garden at sfmoma.org.
- Jori Finkel (July 21, 2010), SFMOMA chooses architect for $250-million expansion: Norwegian firm Snøhetta Los Angeles Times.
- "Announces Finalists for Design of Expansion" (Press release). SFMOMA. 11 May 2010. Retrieved 3 August 2010.
- "SFMOMA Selects Snøhetta to Work with Museum on Design of Expansion" (Press release). SFMOMA. 21 July 2010. Retrieved 1 August 2010.
- Mike Boehm (February 4, 2010), SFMOMA says it is more than halfway home in $480-million expansion campaign Los Angeles Times.
- Geoffrey A. Fowler (December 1, 2011), SFMOMA Thinks Big in Expansion Wall Street Journal.
- "History + Staff". San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. 2010. Retrieved 3 August 2010.
- "Artists Gallery at Fort Mason". SFMOMA. 2010. Retrieved 13 August 2010.
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- Official website
- San Francisco Museum of Modern Art MuseumStore
- SFMOMA Artists Gallery at Fort Mason
- Fort Mason Center official site
- San Francisco Museum of Modern Art on MuseumsWiki
- Interactive map of San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
- Rooftop Garden information
- Blue Bottle Coffee site