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The New SFMOMA Ready for Opening

  • SFMOMA opening
April 29, 2016
Gordana Sretenović. Teaching English and writing for a living. Obsessed with Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg. Desires to travel the world and not have a permanent address. Occasionally writes poetry.

In only two weeks, the Bay Area will get its landmark back. The SFMOMA opening, or reopening if you will, has been announced, and it will most certainly draw the attention of the public when its doors are opened. The work on the outside of the building is completed, and the inside is still being worked on. After the long three years of renovations, the SFMOMA will finally reopen on May 14th and allow the visitors to bask in its new glory, twice as large as its previous locale. The grand opening of San Francisco Museum of Modern Art has been anticipated for a long time, and when we take into consideration its rich history and bad luck, it is no wonder!

SFMOMA opening tickets terms member press search room expansion 2016 street
The San Francisco Museum of Art in 1965. It was renamed the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in 1975. Photo: Joe Rosenthal, The Chronicle via

Power, Money, Nature

The history of San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is a lengthy one, and it began only a few years after the devastating earthquake of 1906. The San Francisco Art Association decided to make a museum which will exhibit contemporary artwork, and the first instance of that idea opened its doors in 1916, only to fail after a decade. But in 1935, the San Francisco Museum of Art has been successfully founded. However, blame it on bad luck or whatever you want, the first director of the institution Grace McCann Morley, faced a sea of troubles and strife regarding the funding and location. Over the next two decades, Morley managed to organize many exhibitions of well-known artists such as Ansel Adams, Alfred Stieglitz, Jackson Pollock, and Henri Matisse. World War II brought a series of exhibitions such as Twentieth Century German Art (Banned) that displayed banned artwork in Nazi Germany.

SFMOMA opening tickets terms member press search room expansion 2016 street
The new SFMOMA will open May 14, 2016. (Photo: Henrik Kam) via

Post-War Period

After the war, the museum showed a myriad of memorable displays, such as the 1969 Jay DeFeo’s The Rose, a painting so heavy that the documentary on it has been made. In late 1969 the museum was the only one on the West Coast to show the controversial Contemporary Black Artists exhibition. Gerald Nordland, the then director, managed to grow the prestige of the institution, which expanded to the third floor of the Veteran’s Building and founded the Museum Intercommunity Exchange dedicated towards the collaboration with its New York, Washington D.C., and European peers.

Fast forward to the 1990s, when the museum acquired notable works by Robert Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol, and Brice Marden, as well as those of Ellsworth Kelly, Charles Sheeler, and Rene Magritte. It began focusing more on digital art and launched an online curatorial network called In 2001, SFMOMA exhibited 010101: Art In Technological Times, and in 2002 it opened the Koret Visitor Education Center which was the first drop-in center of that kind in a U.S. museum.

SFMOMA opening tickets terms member press search room expansion
The steps of the new gallery, with Richard Serra’s Sequence. Photograph: © Henrik Kam, courtesy SFMOMA via

SFMOMA Opening and Future

When the highly-anticipated opening date arrives, the visitors will be able to see the expanded spaces of the museum, adorned with stairs that mimic the streets of San Francisco, as well as the new contemporary photography center. The new space, that we have already written about, will become a home to over 250 artworks acquired from the Doris and Donald Fisher Collection, and around 3000 new pieces, as an addendum to the museum’s collection. The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art will open its doors on May 14th, 2016 at 151 Third St., S.F. The galleries will be opened from 10 AM to 8 PM on the opening day, and the regular hours will be from 10 AM to 5 PM, every day but Thursday.

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All images are for illustrative purposes only. Featured image: The exterior of the Howard St. side of the newly completed SFMOMA addition Photo: Michael Macor, The Chronicle via