Press Office News


Released: January 14, 2010 ·

In anticipation of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s (SFMOMA) 75th anniversary, the museum has partnered with Bay Area advertising agency Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners (BSSP) to develop a distinctive and impactful advertising campaign designed to create visibility and excitement for the museum’s anniversary and to promote anniversary exhibitions and events.              

The campaign celebrates the emotional connections between people and works of art and features 10 iconic artworks from SFMOMA’s collection alongside 10 distinguished creative individuals—a composer, a fashion designer, a chef, a winemaker, a writer, and a filmmaker, among others—who act as muses in the Bay Area community. The campaign is based on the word “museum,” which is broken in two: muse and um. The handwritten “Um…” line represents a creative pause and the subject’s musings in response to the work of art. The play on words in the campaign illustrates the role that the museum plays as a creative muse or source of inspiration, harkening back to the more ancient meaning of the word museum as “home of the muses.”

“For 75 years SFMOMA has been a cultural beacon that has both inspired and provoked us all. Our goal was to show the participatory relationship that we all share with the institution,” says John Butler, cofounder and executive creative director at BSSP.  

Many of the artworks and the muses in the campaign are also featured in SFMOMA’s new multimedia tour of the collection, Making Sense of Modern Art Mobile, which is scheduled to launch on the anniversary weekend, January 16 through 18, 2010. Three of the artists—Chris Johanson, Leslie Shows, and Larry Sultan—whose work is featured in the campaign also designed limited-edition Gap T-shirts that commemorate the museum’s anniversary. The T-shirts will be on sale at the SFMOMA MuseumStore and at 14 Bay Area Gap locations beginning January 16, 2010.


Colleen Quen and Femme au Chapeau by Henri Matisse

Colleen Quen’s designs are inspired by natural motifs, Impressionism, and modern architecture. With 23 years of experience as a couturier, her designs reflect an intimate and intuitive sense of the art of shaping clothes to the body. Quen’s designs have drawn attention in both the art and fashion worlds; her gowns have been featured in Women’s Wear Daily, The New York Times, Forbes and the International Herald Tribune, and have been worn by celebrities such as Tyra Banks, Geena Davis, and Paris Hilton. She collaborates with Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet, creating costumes that seem to dance along with the dancers themselves. Quen studied at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising and at the Simmone Sethna School of Fashion, where she specialized in French design, modeling, and cutting. A native of the Bay Area, Quen is currently preparing her future International Design commissions at her San Francisco atelier, LeeQuen.

Quen is paired with the painting Femme au Chapeau (Woman with a Hat) (1905) by Henri Matisse in the advertising campaign.

Zoë Keating and Untitled by Clyfford Still

Zoë Keating is a one-woman orchestra. She uses a cello and a foot-controlled laptop to create beautiful and otherworldly music. Born in Canada and classically trained from the age of 8, Keating spent her twenties dabbling in computer software while moonlighting as a cellist in rock bands. She combined the two and developed her signature style while improvising for late-night crowds at her San Francisco warehouse. Her self-produced album One Cello x 16: Natoma has four times been number one on the iTunes classical and electronica charts. From 2002 through 2006 she was a member of the cello-rock trio Rasputina, and she has played cello on the albums of countless artists, including Amanda Palmer, DJ Shadow, and Curt Smith of Tears for Fears. She is currently working on a new album and the score for a new ballet. 

Keating is paired with the painting Untitled (1951–52) by Clyfford Still, and she will be performing at SFMOMA’s 75th Anniversary Celebration on Saturday, January 16 at 7 p.m.

Caitlin Williams Freeman and Les valeurs personnelles (Personal Values) by René Magritte

As an art student at U.C. Santa Cruz, Caitlin Williams Freeman fell in love with the cake paintings by Wayne Thiebaud that she had seen at SFMOMA. With Thiebaud’s art as her muse and inspiration, she learned to become a baker. Freeman, along with Megan Ray, opened Miette Patisserie & Confiserie in 2002. After selling the business in 2008, she started a small pastry program for her husband’s coffee business, Blue Bottle Coffee Co. Shortly thereafter, Blue Bottle was offered a space in the new SFMOMA Rooftop Garden, and Freeman finally found the perfect home for her Thiebaud-inspired cakes. Based on artworks from SFMOMA’s exhibitions, Freeman has created a wide range of art-inspired desserts.

Freeman is paired with the painting Les valeurs personnelles (Personal Values) (1952) by René Magritte.

Flora Grubb and Cityscape I by Richard Diebenkorn

San Francisco garden designer and nurserywoman Flora Grubb has converted gardeners, urban planners, and designers in California and worldwide to her cause of making lavishly beautiful landscapes that require minimal water and chemicals. Her artful Bayview District nursery, Flora Grubb Gardens, has become a gathering place for design-driven gardeners who are pursuing a wiser use of resources. Complemented by a shop with outdoor furniture and garden-related merchandise and books, Grubb’s nursery hosts garden- and art-related events and invites visitors to linger at an in-house branch of Ritual Coffee Roasters. The nursery serves as a base for Grubb and her associates’ work on private garden designs and public greening projects.

Grubb is paired with Richard Diebenkorn’s painting Cityscape I (1963).

Kenny Likitprakong and Two Ways to Organize by Leslie Shows

Instead of becoming a hobo, Kenny Likitprakong became a hobo winemaker. After a pursuing a career as a professional skateboarder, he decided that he would rather make wines for other skateboarders. After graduating from U.C. Davis and working at various California wineries, Likitprakong started The Hobo Wine Company and Banyan Wines in 2002, followed by Folk Machine in 2005. He believes in the possibility for wine to create community, to be history, to tell a story, and to transcend time and place. Likitprakong also seeks inspiration from art and commissions contemporary artists to design his wine labels. He lives in Forestville with his partner Lynn and their two children.

Likitprakong is paired with Leslie Shows’s painting Two Ways to Organize (2006).

Peaches Christ and Michael Jackson and Bubbles by Jeff Koons 

Peaches Christ (the stage name for filmmaker Joshua Grannell) hosts the popular Midnight Mass movie event. This staged celebration of Christ’s favorite cult movies is the longest-running and most successful midnight movie event in the United States after The Rocky Horror Picture Show. The elaborate preshow stage productions, guest stars, and drag spectacles continue to draw sell-out crowds in San Francisco and beyond.  In 2007, San Francisco’s de Young Museum presented A Decade of Peaches Christ, featuring costumes, wigs, and artwork inspired by the underground drag world she inhabits. Christ has received a Certificate of Honor from the San Francisco Mayor’s Office and a commendation from the California State Assembly. Her first feature film and newest project, All About Evil, is coming out in 2010.

Peaches Christ is paired with the sculpture Michael Jackson and Bubbles (1988) by Jeff Koons.

Chris Cosentino and Self-Portrait by Andy Warhol

Chris Cosentino’s passion for food took seed well before he ever donned chef’s whites. He took his first executive chef position in 2002 at Incanto in San Francisco. His innovative interpretations of rustic Italian fare promptly earned the restaurant its first three-star review from the San Francisco Chronicle. Since then, Cosentino has gained national acclaim as a leading proponent of offal cookery. His approach stems from a belief that no part of an animal slaughtered for food should go to waste. Cosentino is committed to sustainable principles and humanely raised meats and is an avid researcher of ancient cooking techniques and culinary lore. Cosentino is cocreator of Boccalone, an artisanal salumeria. His passion for offal has led him to work on the definitive cookbook on the subject, aimed at providing essential instruction on the preparation of offal for both professional and home cooks.

Cosentino is paired with Andy Warhol’s painting Self-Portrait (1967).

Robert Mailer Anderson and My Mother Posing for Me by Larry Sultan

Robert Mailer Anderson is the author of the best-selling novel Boonville. A contributor to The Anderson Valley Advertiser since he was 15 years old, his prose has also appeared in Christopher Street, San Francisco Magazine, the San Francisco Chronicle, Encore, and The San Francisco Examiner, among other publications. His short story “Briley Boy” was included in the anthology San Francisco Noir. Anderson penned the play The Death of Teddy Ballgame and cowrote and produced the film PIG HUNT. Born in San Francisco, where he currently resides with his wife and four children, he has been a board member of the San Francisco Opera Association for five years and is currently on the board of SFJAZZ.

Anderson is paired with the photograph My Mother Posing for Me, from the series Pictures from Home, (1984) by Larry Sultan.

Vendela Vida and Untitled (Figures with black shape) by Chris Johanson

Vendela Vida is the author of the novels And Now You Can Go and Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name, both of which were New York Times Notable Books of the Year. She also cowrote the screenplay for Away We Go, which was directed by Sam Mendes. Vida is a recipient of the Kate Chopin Award and a founding coeditor of The Believer, a monthly arts and literary magazine based in San Francisco. Her new novel, The Lovers, will be published in 2010.

Vida is paired with Chris Johanson’s painting Untitled (Figures with black shape) (2002).

Ivy Calhoun and BREAKAWAY by Bruce Conner

Ivy Calhoun moved to San Francisco from Chicago six years ago with the intention of experiencing California while attending the San Francisco Art Institute. She discovered her love for filmmaking and film editing by accident while going to school for animation. Calhoun enjoyed animation, but felt limited by the constraints of paper and the computer. Toward the end of her studies, she took an editing techniques class, and, after her first assignment, she knew she had finally found her calling.

Calhoun is paired with a still from Bruce Conner’s film BREAKAWAY (1966).


BSSP (www.bssp.com) is a full-service marketing communications agency based in Sausalito, CA. The agency provides services in advertising, online marketing and web development, brand identity and design, and strategic brand consulting. One of the largest independent agencies on the West Coast, BSSP is recognized for its ability to provide highly creative, fully accountable marketing solutions to a broad array of marketers, including RadioShack, MINI Cooper, Priceline, Chipotle, Columbia Sportswear, Greyhound, Mountain Hardwear and Take Care Health Systems. BSSP was just named Best Small Agency of the Decade by Adweek Magazine.

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75 Years of Looking Forward is a series of exhibitions and events organized in celebration of the museum’s anniversary. Major support is provided by the Koret Foundation. Generous support is provided by the Bernard and Barbro Osher Exhibition Fund. Additional support is provided by Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners, the George Frederick Jewett Foundation, Kate and Wesley Mitchell, and The Black Dog Private Foundation. Promotional support is provided by Gap. Media sponsors: KGO-TV, San Francisco Chronicle, and San Francisco magazine. The St. Regis San Francisco is the official hotel of the 75th anniversary.

The 75th Anniversary Celebration is part of 75 Years of Looking Forward. Major support is provided by the Koret Foundation. Generous support is provided by Bank of America and AT&T. Additional support is provided by Art4Moore and Visa Inc. Media sponsors: AT&T Real Yellow Pages, 7 x 7 Magazine, and SF Weekly.

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