Press Office News

SFMOMA Reopens to the Public on Sunday, October 4, 2020

Museum Reopens with a Heightened Focus on Visitor and Staff Health and Safety

Exhibition Program Features Bay Area Artists Including Major Presentation by David Park, and Site-Specific Commissions by Local Artists

Museum Offers Two Weeks of Free Admission to the Community

Released: September 17, 2020 · Download (3952 KB PDF)

SAN FRANCISCO, CA (September 17, 2020) — The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) today announced it will reopen to the public on Sunday, October 4 with two weeks of Free Community Days and free parking through Sunday, October 18. After more than six months of closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, SFMOMA embraces a heightened focus on visitor and staff health and safety and is implementing new precautionary measures for reopening, including limiting the number of visitors each day to 25% of regular capacity with timed tickets, requiring masks for all visitors and staff, providing hourly sanitation of public areas and requiring social distance throughout the museum. These measures and others will ensure SFMOMA is a safe space for its community and staff.

The museum will offer special preview days for members from October 1–3 before its Free Community Days for the public October 4–18. Tickets will be available for members on September 23 and for the public on September 25. Advance timed reservations for all SFMOMA tickets are strongly encouraged and can be made at sfmoma.org/tickets. Tickets are required for all visitors including those 18 and under who always enjoy free admission.

SFMOMA will have new public hours when it reopens: Friday through Monday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Thursdays from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. The museum will be closed on Tuesday and Wednesday.

“We are elated to welcome our community back to SFMOMA after more than six months of closure,” said Director Neal Benezra. “I’m grateful for our dedicated staff who helped care for the museum and keep its spirit alive during this challenging time, and for the many who helped make it possible to reopen our doors. We look forward to offering visitors a respite from the smoky air and inspiration in our soaring galleries and vibrant exhibitions.”

The museum will reopen with a focus on Bay Area artists including David Park: A Retrospective, the first major retrospective of the beloved Bay Area figurative painter, a companion exhibition, David Park and His Circle: The Drawing Sessions, as well as site-specific commissions by local contemporary artists as part of a new series titled Bay Area Walls. Large-scale painting commissions by Muzae Sesay and Marina Perez-Wong and Elaine Chu of Twin Walls Mural Company will debut at reopening. In December 2020, the museum will present additional commissions by Liz Hernández, Erina Alejo and Adrian L. Burrell in addition to Close to Home: Creativity in Crisis, an exhibition highlighting seven local artists’ responses to the pandemic.

Extended presentations of the critically acclaimed retrospective Dawoud Bey: An American Project (through October 12) and Thought Pieces: 1970s Photographs by Lew Thomas, Donna-Lee Philips, and Hal Fischer (through Fall 2020) will also be on view. Additional exhibitions featured this year include Future Histories: Theaster Gates and Cauleen Smith now opening October 17, 2020, and Off the Wall, opening in December 2020.

Health + Safety

Following guidelines and best practices recommended by the State of California and the City of San Francisco’s Departments of Health, the Center for Disease Control and the American Alliance of Museums, SFMOMA is implementing the following changes for the health and safety of its visitors and staff:

  • SFMOMA’s Third Street doors will be the only public entrance until further notice.
  • Daily attendance will be capped at 25% capacity. Admission tickets will be timed to help pace entry into the museum and in the galleries. Elevators will be limited with no more than 4 people per ride.
  • Masks will be required in SFMOMA and the Museum Store for all guests 3 years and older. SFMOMA will provide complimentary masks to those arriving without one. Durable, reusable SFMOMA-designed masks will be available for purchase in the Museum Store.
  • Touch-free hand sanitizer stations will be available throughout the museum.
  • Visitors and members are encouraged to reserve timed tickets at sfmoma.org/tickets. Tickets will be available to members on September 23 and to the general public on September 25.
  • Ticketing and Membership desks as well as transaction stations in the Museum Store will have Plexiglass shields installed and offer touchless payment options for visitor and staff safety. Public spaces will be sanitized hourly with an emphasis on high-frequency spaces and surfaces, using disinfectants that are appropriate for curtailing viruses.
  • Interactive experiences and in-gallery videos will be looped to limit high-touch activities.
  • Audio guide device rental is suspended; visitors may download SFMOMA’s free app to enjoy audio tours.
  • SFMOMA’s water fountains and staffed coat check will be closed. A self-service coat check will be available in Haas, Jr. Atrium off Third Street. Public restrooms will remain open with hourly sanitization.
  • Health and safety, directional wayfinding and social distancing signage will be installed throughout SFMOMA’s galleries and public spaces.
  • SFMOMA’s climate control and filtration systems provide the highest standard of museum quality air purification.
Twin Walls Mural Company, Our Ancestors’ Wildest Dreams, 2020 (in process); commissioned by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, courtesy the artists; photo: Katherine Du Tiel, courtesy SFMOMA

Exhibition + Program Updates

The reopened SFMOMA will present a robust portfolio including:

  • Dawoud Bey: An American Project – on view through October 12, 2020
  • Thought Pieces: 1970s Photographs by Lew Thomas, Donna-Lee Philips, and Hal Fischer – on view through November 1, 2020
  • David Park: A Retrospective – open
  • David Park and His Circle: The Drawing Sessions – open
  • *New* artist commissions by Muzae Sesay and Twin Walls Mural Company – open
  • Future Histories: Theaster Gates and Cauleen Smith – opens October 17, 2020
  • *New* artist commission by Liz Hernández – opens December 2020
  • *New* photography commissions by Erina Alejo and Adrian L. Burrell – opens December 2020
  • *New* Close to Home: Creativity in Crisis – opens December 2020
  • Off the Wall – opens December 2020

In a groundbreaking partnership with City College of San Francisco (CCSF), SFMOMA will host Diego Rivera’s monumental mural The Marriage of the Artistic Expression of the North and of the South on the Continent — more commonly known as Pan American Unity — in the museum’s free Roberts Family Gallery beginning in Spring 2021. An accompanying exhibition, Diego Rivera’s America, which offers the most in-depth examination of the artist’s work in more than 20 years, will now open at SFMOMA in 2022.

In accordance with City and State guidelines, on-site tours including public, school and scheduled self-guided tours are suspended through 2020 as is SFMOMA’s Art Express program for K–6 grade classes. Artwork guides, art project instructions and more are available for all ages at sfmoma.org/visit/sfmoma-for-kids.

SFMOMA will continue to offer a wide array of virtual public programming, including bi-weekly Instagram Live events and monthly roundtable art talks and family programs.

David Park, Two Bathers, 1958; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, purchase through gifts of Mrs. Wellington S. Henderson, Helen Crocker Russell, and the Crocker Family, by exchange, and the Mary Heath Keesling Fund; © Estate of David Park; photo: John Wilson White

Amenities at the Museum

Cafe 5 will reopen on October 4 and will offer grab-and-go dining with socially distanced tables and outdoor seating in the museum’s fifth-floor Jean and James Douglas Family Sculpture Garden. Initial operating hours will be Friday through Monday 11:30 a.m. –2:30 p.m. service (open until 3 p.m.); Thursday 1–6:30 p.m. service (open until 7 p.m.). In Situ, the museum’s fine dining restaurant, and SFMOMA’s coffee bars will reopen at a later date. External food and beverages are not allowed in the museum. SFMOMA’s parking garage is open and will offer free parking to all visitors during Free Community Days on October 4–18. After October 18, parking tickets can be self-validated at the Ticketing Desk.


Museum Stores + SFMOMA Artists Gallery

SFMOMA’s main Museum Store off Third Street will reopen on October 15, 2020. Store hours will be Friday through Monday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Thursday from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m.; closed Tuesday and Wednesday. Shoppers can enjoy the custom prints web store open now at customprints/sfmoma.org. The full online web store will open on October 1. The reopening of the Museum Store at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) will be announced at a later date.

The Artists Gallery at Fort Mason Center for Arts and Culture remains closed for in-person visits but its art buying and lending programs are fully operational. Book a video appointment or browse the Gallery’s catalogue of works from local artists available for purchase or lease at artistsgallerycatalogue.sfmoma.org.

New Hours + Free Access Programs

Until further notice, SFMOMA’s new public hours will be:

  • Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday: 10 a.m.–5 p.m.
  • Thursday: 1–8 p.m.
  • Closed Tuesday and Wednesday

In addition to offering Free Community Days throughout the year, SFMOMA participates in free access programs including Discover & Go and the City of San Francisco’s Museums for All. More information can be found at sfmoma.org/deals-discounts.

Support for SFMOMA Free Community Days is provided by Martha and Bruce Atwater, Concepción S. and Irwin Federman and The Hearst Foundations.


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

SFMOMA is dedicated to making the art of our time a vital and meaningful part of public life. Founded in 1935 as the first West Coast museum devoted to modern and contemporary art, a thoroughly transformed SFMOMA, with triple the gallery space, an enhanced education center and new free public galleries, opened to the public on May 14, 2016.

Visit sfmoma.org or call 415.357.4000 for more information.

** Follow us on Twitter for updates and announcements: @SFMOMA_Press

Jill Lynch 415.357.4172 jilynch@sfmoma.org
Clara Hatcher Baruth 415.357.4177 chatcher@sfmoma.org