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Museums

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is one of the most unique art museums that I’ve visited. According to their website, the SFMOMA is the “largest museum of modern and contemporary art in the United States.” After doing some research, I found that in 2016 the museum completed an expansion which tripled its gallery space.  Besides the MET, it is definitely one of the largest museums in the country. 

Entrance to the museum
Inside the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

The Entrance

Walking into the main entrance, you get a sense of the facility’s majesty.  There is an “oculus” that creates a warm atmosphere inside, allowing the entryway to feel open. In order to get to the main floor, there is a grand staircase that takes you to the main desk. The large open space in the entryway is emphasized by the natural light that comes in from the ceiling, welcoming everyone to the museum.  As you enter the building, the bar is set at a high level for what is to come.

SFMOMA painting

History

Normally, before I go to a museum, I tend to research the collection in order to give myself an idea of what to expect. Because the trip to the SFMOMA was spur of the moment, I was not able to accurately prepare myself for what was in store. I did, however, investigate the background of the museum when I left and found out its great history. Founded in 1935, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art had to go through many changes in location before it stayed grounded to its current location. 

Two facts that I found interesting were that Albert Bender, a leader in the development of the arts in San Francisco in the 1920’s and 1930’s, and also instrumental in the early career of the photographer Ansel Adams, was a large contributor to the museum’s main collection. Throughout his life, he donated more than 1,100 objects to the MOMA.   The facility was also home to the first solo museum exhibition of Jackson Pollock held in 1945.

Amenities

Normally, I would not consider amenities an important factor in what makes a museum unique, but when one of the first places you pass when you enter the building is a Sight Glass Coffee Shop. For those that don’t know Sightglass, it is a well- known coffee shop in the San Francisco area.  It’s location here adds to the prestige of the SFMOMA.  In addition, to the complex floorplan, there are many courtyards and open spaces to meet other visitors, or to sit and contemplate in and around the building. There is also a rooftop garden that is a great place to take a break at and enjoy the Bay Area ambiance.  The open design of this museum is unique and provides an inviting atmosphere for its visitors.

Jackson Pollock

The Art

Let me start out by saying, I generally don’t gravitate to modern art. While I appreciate the genre, it takes a backseat to my art preferences. With that being said, there were many interesting concepts inside that I could appreciate. This included a gigantic spider in a structural piece by Louise Bourgeois that is floor to ceiling in height. It is a very intense work of art, as the creatures are frightening, but impressive to view. Touring the museum, bold interpretations of human behavior exist throughout. 

This is the case for large portions of the museum. However, the SFMOMA has many more layers to what makes it so great such aspieces by Andy Warhol, Frida Kahlo, Max Beckmann, and Pablo Picasso.  There is definitely no shortage of great art to view at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Takeaways

I would highly recommend the SFMOMA to anyone who is in San Francisco for a weekend. You will not be disappointed by their deep and extensive collection, as well as the warmth from the architectural composition of the building. 

Outdoor Cafe

Thank you for reading!

Todd

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August 1, 2019

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