News Press Release


SFMOMA Mission Statement and History

Release date: January 1, 2001

SFMOMA Mission Statement and History

SFMOMA Exterior View: Main Facade; © San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; photo: Richard Barnes

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) is a dynamic center for modern and contemporary art. The museum strives to engage and inspire a diverse range of audiences by pursuing an innovative program of exhibitions, education, publications, and collections activities. International in scope, while reflecting the distinctive character of our region, the museum's exhibitions and programs present and interpret compelling expressions of visual culture.

The first museum on the West Coast devoted solely to 20th-century art, the San Francisco Museum of Art opened in 1935 under the direction of Grace L. McCann Morley. After her 23-year tenure, Morley was succeeded as museum director by George D. Culler (1958–65) and Gerald Nordland (1966–72). The museum, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1985, rose to international prominence under the leadership of Henry T. Hopkins (1974–86). "Modern" was added to the museum's title in 1975 to describe its purview more accurately.

John R. Lane was appointed director of SFMOMA from 1987 to 1997. Under his direction, the museum established three new curatorial posts — curator of painting and sculpture, curator of architecture and design, and curator of media arts — and elevated the positions of director of education and director of photography to full curatorial roles. Subsequently, SFMOMA undertook an extremely active special exhibitions program, both organizing and hosting traveling exhibitions. In January 1995, SFMOMA opened a new museum facility in the burgeoning South of Market district, designed by renowned Swiss architect Mario Botta.

 

Media Contacts

  • Miriam Newcomer, 415.357.4170,
  • Robyn Wise, 415.357.4172,

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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 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,  through 2016, SFMOMA is “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 sfmoma.org or call 415.357.4000 for more information.

 

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