Research + Projects

Overview

Tools of the modern conservator
 

SFMOMA is committed to pushing the boundaries of our field and exploring new ways of thinking about museum practice. Research and project-focused initiatives play a central role in our efforts to preserve and present the art of our time, to understand and improve the visitor experience, and to shape the development of new museum policies.

We have recently been involved in leading-edge developments in the following areas:

We invite you to read about some of these projects below.

Recent Projects

SFMOMA Lab

SFMOMA Lab

The SFMOMA Lab is a cross departmental research and experimentation group dedicated to exploring the intersection of art, design, technology, and museums.

Bearing Witness

Bearing Witness

Continuing SFMOMA's series of public programs on photography, this symposium, held in March 2014, considered how shifting conditions have profoundly affected the ways photography is used to communicate about the world around us.

Story Board

Story Board

Story Board is a digital hub for texts and videos, dialogue, and a constellation of outside links offering windows onto the worlds of SFMOMA artists and artworks.

Robert Rauschenberg, Collection (formerly Untitled), 1954-1955; painting; oil, paper, fabric, wood, and metal on canvas; Collection SFMOMA, Gift of Harry W. and Mary Margaret Anderson; © Estate of Robert Rauschenberg / Licensed by VAGA, New York

SFMOMA Rauschenberg Research Project

SFMOMA has received two grants from the Getty Foundation's Online Scholarly Catalogue Initiative to conduct in-depth research and produce an online catalogue of all the works by Robert Rauschenberg in the permanent collection.

Google Art Project

Google Art Project

SFMOMA is among several California museums included in the global expansion of Google's pioneering Art Project, an online compilation of high-resolution images and virtual gallery tours from a broad range of art institutions.

Is Photography Over?

Is Photography Over?

SFMOMA has been collecting and exhibiting photographs since the museum's founding in 1935 and is dedicated to the examination of the medium in all its forms. A major symposium on the current state of the field, held at SFMOMA in April 2010, was the first in a series of public programs on photography.

Explore Modern Art Project

Explore Modern Art Project

A Museums for America grant from the federal government's Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) enabled SFMOMA to develop Explore Modern Art, the centerpiece of our redesigned website launched in November 2008. This online learning environment is an interactive space that integrates our multimedia interpretive programs, collections information, and calendar of public programs and events. It is designed to encourage greater engagement with modern and contemporary art and with SFMOMA.

Matters in Media Art

Matters in Media Art

Matters in Media Art is an ongoing project that aims to develop guidelines for the care and preservation of time-based media works such as video, film, audio, and computer-based installations. The result of an international research collaboration between the New Art Trust, the Museum of Modern Art, New York, SFMOMA, and Tate, the project was created in 2003 by a consortium of curators, conservators, technical managers, and registrars. SFMOMA's formal commitment to the care and preservation of time-based media works dates back to 1996, when the museum established Team Media, an interdepartmental working group that directs the museum's preservation of media works and manages the challenges of caring for a time-based collection.

Matthew Barney

Matthew Barney: DRAWING RESTRAINT: An Interactive Educational Technologies and Interpretation Initiative

In 2006 SFMOMA commissioned Randi Korn & Associates to undertake a detailed evaluation of the interpretive materials offered in conjunction with the exhibition Matthew Barney: DRAWING RESTRAINT. The study focused on museum visitors' use of and responses to the exhibition and the related audio tour. Available here as a PDF, the study demonstrates the ways interpretive materials can improve the museumgoing experience, particularly for visitors who are unfamiliar with the artist whose work is presented.

SFMOMA Archives

SFMOMA Archives

Established in 2006 with the help of a generous grant from The Getty Foundation, the archives collects and preserves documents and other materials related to SFMOMA's rich history as the first West Coast museum devoted to modern and contemporary art. By making the archives collections available to the public, this project highlights the institution’s role in the evolution of museology as well as its contributions to the study and presentation of modern and contemporary art.

SFMOMA Oral History Project

SFMOMA Oral History Project

The Oral History Project chronicles SFMOMA's history through 50 video interviews capturing the observations, anecdotes, and voices of those who have been involved with the museum's development firsthand. Produced in collaboration with the Regional Oral History Office of the University of California, Berkeley, the new recordings build upon the museum's existing archive of interviews with its directors, curators, artists, and donors produced since the 1970's, offering a unique window on the history and influence of the West Coast’s first modern art museum.

Steve: The Art Museum Social Tagging Project

Steve: The Art Museum Social Tagging Project

SFMOMA is a participating partner in Steve: The Art Museum Social Tagging Project (www.steve.museum), which was awarded a National Leadership Grant from the federal government’s Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The program is modeled on a social tagging system popularized by photo sharing sites such as Flickr, where visitors create labels that describe each image they view. By employing a user-generated taxonomy to describe each museum’s collection, Steve addresses a gap that currently exists between the way that art is described by museums and the way in which it is understood by the public.