Exhibition Press Release


SFMOMA To Showcase Painting And Sculpture Collection Starting July 2004

Release date: May 26, 2004

•   Over half the Museum will feature the collection
•   SFMOMA announces access to the collection online
•   Koret Visitor Education Center now open full-time


Beginning July 1, 2004, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) will turn its entire fifth floor over to Between Art and Life: The Contemporary Painting and Sculpture Collection, a new presentation of the institution's significant collection of post-1960 contemporary art, while expanding its signature modern art (1900–1960) collection on the second floor. With this new exhibition, more than 50 percent of the Museum's exhibition space will be dedicated to its own collection. Following the lead of Picturing Modernity, the ongoing presentation of SFMOMA's world-class photography collection, and The Art of Design, which launched last year to feature the stellar architecture and design collection, this new exhibition will give the Museum an opportunity to reveal its remarkable holdings in painting and sculpture.

"The excitement of our new building inspired the institution to acquire extensively and impressively over the past decade," commented SFMOMA Director Neal Benezra. "Since then we've developed one of the nation's leading collections of modern and contemporary art, including several landmark works such as Robert Rauschenberg's Erased De Kooning Drawing, 1953; Les Valeurs personnelles (Personal Values), 1952, by René Magritte; Louise Bourgeois's The Nest, 1994; and Splitting: Four Corners, 1974, by Gordon Matta-Clark, among many others. This new presentation will emphasize the breadth and depth of our collection and will be updated continually with recent acquisitions and rotating pieces, so there will always be something new for visitors to discover."

Between Art and Life will highlight works from the past four decades. While individual works will rotate occasionally, the galleries will be completely reinstalled once a year—a strategy that accommodates the volume of contemporary works that have been acquired by SFMOMA over the past ten years. The inaugural installation will be organized around the overriding concept of the "gap"—or intersection—between art and life, as made famous by Robert Rauschenberg in 1961 when he said, "Painting relates to both art and life. Neither can be made. (I try to act in that gap between the two.)" Indeed, the work of Rauschenberg, which SFMOMA owns in unsurpassed depth, will form a bridge between the second- and fifth-floor presentations. Between Art and Life will open with the artist's 1998 work Port of Entry. The installation will also include important works such as Sans II, 1968, and Untitled or Not Yet, 1966, by Eva Hesse; Cold Mountain, 1989–91, by Brice Marden; and Jay DeFeo's Incision, 1958–61, as well as groupings of art works by Robert Gober, Sherrie Levine, Gordon Matta-Clark, Bruce Nauman, and Cindy Sherman.

The second-floor presentation, entitled Matisse and Beyond: The Painting and Sculpture Collection, will continue to showcase SFMOMA's modern art holdings beginning with Fauvism and Cubism—including Henri Matisse's seminal Femme au chapeau (Woman with the Hat), 1905, a cornerstone of the SFMOMA collection—and will now conclude with Pop art and Minimalism, movements that set the stage for today's landscape of art practices. The galleries will engender a broader, more inclusive, and more accurate telling of the history of twentieth-century art starting with important works such as Marcel Duchamp's Fountain, 1917/1964; Composition with Red, Yellow, and Blue, 1935–42, by Piet Mondrian; Jackson Pollock's Guardians of the Secret, 1943; and The Flower Carrier, 1935, by Diego Rivera, while also allowing artists such as Bruce Conner, Joseph Cornell, Ellsworth Kelly, Philip Guston, Robert Rauschenberg, Clyfford Still, and Yves Klein to be shown in depth for the first time at SFMOMA. The presentation will also highlight new acquisitions on an ongoing basis and will feature, also for the first time at SFMOMA, a gallery dedicated solely to works on paper.

At the end of the fifth-floor presentation, the New Work series of focused exhibitions will be reintroduced after a five-year hiatus. Three times each year, New Work will feature the brand-new, sometimes site-specific work of one or more artists working today. The initial presentation, also opening July 1, 2004, will feature two Los Angeles–based artists, Evan Holloway and Dave Muller. "We are thrilled to reintroduce the dynamic New Work program," states Benezra. "It forms an exciting, forward-looking coda to our story of art."

Collections Access Online
As yet another way to take a fresh look at the collection, SFMOMA invites the public to discover its rich holdings of modern and contemporary art in cyberspace with the launch of Collections Access Online, a new feature of SFMOMA's Web site (www.sfmoma.org) that will provide access to the collection as a searchable database. Extending the reach of SFMOMA as a vital public resource, Collections Access Online aims to serve a global audience of museum-goers, scholars, educators, and professionals with quick and direct access to its far-reaching collection.

An initial offering of five thousand objects will go live on the Web beginning July 1, 2004. Users will find images and descriptions of a broad selection of works from each subcollection—painting and sculpture, architecture and design, photography, and media arts. This introductory roll out represents roughly 20 percent of the Museum's holdings; over time the number of records and depth of content will grow to encompass some 25,000 objects currently housed in the collection.

"Our online visitors will now experience a more comprehensive view of SFMOMA," says Benezra. "Just as the move to our new building inspired unprecedented growth in acquisitions, Collections Access Online creates a new home on our web site for extended public and scholarly access to the collections database. Virtual access to the Museum's collection and its continually growing archive will be more informative and dynamic than ever."

The result of an interdepartmental collaboration funded by a 2001 NEH seed grant, Collections Access Online will allow visitors to quickly search the collection for a particular artist or object, or browse selections from each curatorial department, often finding links to related interactive features on www.sfmoma.org. Collections Access Online provides the Museum with a vehicle to share a greater portion of its holdings with the public.

Koret Visitor Education Center Open Full-Time
Thanks to a generous grant from Wells Fargo, the Museum's groundbreaking Koret Visitor Education Center will be open full-time during Museum hours beginning spring 2004. Situated adjacent to the second-floor collection galleries, the Koret Center is the only educational facility at an American art museum to offer drop-in public access as well as a full calendar of scheduled programs and activities. The Koret Center opened to the public in October 2002 with limited public hours.

One of the Koret Center's most innovative features is the Learning Lounge, a resource area for visitors of all ages. This multifunctional space offers comfortable seating and a place to peruse exhibition catalogues, themed art activity bins for children, interactive multimedia kiosks, video and DVD viewing stations, online information about SFMOMA's special exhibitions and collection, and access to trained education resource staff who can assist visitors with questions and requests.

Other Koret Center features include:

•   The Lecture Room with flexible seating and state-of-the-art multimedia display technology
•   The Teacher Resource Space with tools for planning Museum visits and classroom curricula
•   The Francis Goldsmith Studio for school tours and teen and family programs
•   Public Programs for adults, including a new screening program of videos related to art in the galleries
•   The Community Gallery for works created by participants in school, teen and family programs
•   Interactive kiosks with such multimedia programs as Artists Working/Artists Talking, a new anthology of interview clips and studio footage of 30 artists represented in the Museum's collection
•   Resource Desk with trained education professionals
•   Pick Up and Go guides to the permanent collection for adults and children, and themed art activity bins for children

Media Contacts

  • Libby Garrison, 415.357.4177,
  • Robyn Wise, 415.357.4172,
  • Sandra Farish Sloan, 415.357.4174,

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San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
151 Third Street
San Francisco, CA 94103

Founded in 1935 as the first West Coast museum devoted to modern and contemporary art, SFMOMA is currently undergoing a major expansion project to open in 2016 that will significantly enhance gallery, education, and public spaces, enabling the museum to better showcase more of its expanded permanent collection. While the museum is temporarily closed for construction, from June 3, 2013 to early 2016, SFMOMA will be “on the go” with an extensive array of off-site programming across the Bay Area, including collaborative and traveling museum exhibitions, major outdoor projects and commissioned installations, and new education initiatives.

Visit our Web site at www.sfmoma.org or call 415.357.4000 for more information.

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