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Media Arts

From cinema and television to surveillance and the Internet, media plays a major role in everyday life. Our Media Arts collection reflects how artists have used various technologies and processes in their work since the 1960s. The collection encompasses a diverse range of time-based media artworks, including video, film, slide, sound, computer-based, and online projects as well as live performances.

Ranging from immersive installations to participation-based pieces, the works in the Media Arts collection become activated when exhibited. We not only commission new work for our dedicated galleries, but also explore how to create engaging experiences in public spaces throughout the museum. We also organize select film and video programs in the Phyllis Wattis Theater and online.

The Department of Media Arts, established in 1987, was among the first of its kind in the United States. SFMOMA is part of an international consortium with the New Art Trust, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Tate in London, devoted to developing guidelines for the care and preservation of time-based media artworks through the research initiative Matters in Media Art. Reflecting the Bay Area’s tradition of technological innovation and forward thinking, SFMOMA is a leader in the presentation, collection, and preservation of time-based media works.

Candice Breitz, Working Class Hero (A Portrait of John Lennon) (detail), 2006; Collection SFMOMA, Purchase through a gift of Pam Kramlich, Elaine McKeon, the K. Hart Smith Trust, and the Accessions Committee Fund

Collection Highlights

Explore more works in the Media Arts collection

Online Artworks

SFMOMA launched its first website in 1995. Media Arts soon after began commissioning web-based projects, and today hosts key online artworks from the collection to explore here.


The Artist Initiative: Julia Scher

With the support of Artist Initiative team members, Julia Scher developed a new iteration of her artwork Predictive Engineering 3 (1993present).

A series of faces with their mouths open are projected onto a black wall receding into the distance See All