The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s Architecture + Design (A+D) collection connects people with pivotal works that influence contemporary culture. By bringing thought-provoking architecture and design into focus, we reveal their powerful ability to inspire, and often transform, our individual and collective experience of the world. More than an object or a space that affects how we act and interact, design is a process and way of thinking that prompts responses to challenging issues that impact the quality of our lives and our communities. Since its founding in 1935, the museum has organized exhibitions of design, and in 1988 formed a department of architecture and design, adding works of graphic design, product design, furniture, and architecture to its permanent collection. The department’s focus is to acquire and present modern and contemporary works that are innovative, represent current ideas within the discipline and culture, and critique the status quo.
At SFMOMA, it is our responsibility to affect positive cultural change, encourage imagination and critical thinking, and present an expansive view of design and designers. Crucially, we must consider how museums, and the disciplines of design, have contributed to inequity and bias, and work to address these disparities. A+D exhibitions and programs strive to increase visibility of works by underrepresented designers, foster dialogue about the built environment, and surface topics that address the unrealized potential of a more inclusive society and a sustainable world.