The biggest attraction in SOMA is SF MoMA — the spectacular San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, with its collection of 26,000 works (and growing) ranging from painting and sculpture to media arts, located in the SOuth of MArket district. Already a striking structure on the downtown skyline, the current SF Museum of Modern Art (SF MoMA) was moved to the Market Street district of San Francisco in 1995 in a new building that cost $60 million. Swiss architect, Mario Botta designed the museum to showcase the art, using as much daylight as possible.
Even the museum needs a facelift now and then. MoMA has undergone a complete transformation, including a massive new wing. When the new gallery opened some visitors, more accustomed to seeing paintings hung in gloomy rooms, thought the rooms almost outdazzled the collections! A popular feature has been the huge roof garden, which critics call a gallery without a ceiling. Inside, the museum space is illuminated by a huge central skylight that breaths light and air into the exhibits and adds a fresh vibrancy to the artworks.
Today – The Even Newer SF MoMA
The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art reopened in 2016 with a ten-story addition designed by the Norwegian architects Snohetta. The original building facing Third Street was designed in 1995 by the Swiss architect Mario Botta. The facade is covered with rippling white fiberglass reinforced plastic panels. Snohetta reimagined the museum as a more welcoming and public place with a gallery facing Howard Street. A series of stairs cascades down the side of the building with large windows with views out to the city beyond.
The massive expansion (235,000 square feet, nearly five and a half acres) is glass- and light-filled space designed by Snøhetta Architects of Norway.
The expansion is intended to be the new urban center of the Market Street area, with increased public circulation between the museum and the city, free-admission art spaces, and access to the green spaces, including two outdoor terraces and a new sculpture garden.
The Collections of the Museum
The collection of painters represented at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art includes those from most of the major movements of the modern era — including works by Georges Braque, Georgia O’Keefe, Jackson Pollock, Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns, Henri Matisse, Vasiliy Kandinsky, Joan Miro, Frida Kahlo, and Bay Area artists Richard Diebenkorn, Elmer Bischoff, and David Park.
SF-MoMA’s collection has been expanding over the years and will mushroom in size with the new space available.
The permanent collection ranges from modern painting, photography, media arts and design to architecture.
The Koret Visitor Education Center (on the second floor of the 1995 building, check for the new location) features interactive displays that appeal to younger museum-goers. You’ll also want to see Kerry James Marshall’s monumental murals depicting the estates of George Washington’s Mount Vernon and Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello.
It’s probable that free admission to the museum will be included on the two major San Francisco city passes once MoMA reopens in 2016. Be sure to check the links below to save money on tickets, and time standing in line.