As part of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)’s expansion project, the museum has gone beyond its walls and directly into the community with extensive off-site programming while its building is temporarily closed for construction from June 3, 2013, to early 2016. SFMOMA’s On the Go programming includes a dynamic slate of jointly organized and traveling museum exhibitions, outdoor and sit e-specific installations, and newly created education initiatives throughout the Bay Area and beyond.
During the two-and-a-half-year construction period leading up to the building’s reopening, SFMOMA will experiment with new ideas, engage in dialogue with a range of cultural partners, and create innovative ways for audiences to experience the museum’s collection, bringing the best of these ideas and initiatives back into its newly expanded home.
In collaboration with six partner museums in the Bay Area, SFMOMA will co-organize thematic exhibitions featuring works drawn either entirely or in part from SFMOMA’s holdings. Museum partners include the Asian Art Museum, Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University, Contemporary Jewish Museum, Museum of the African Diaspora, Oakland Museum of California, and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Visitors will also encounter art experiences in unexpected places, with major outdoor projects and specially commissioned installations sited at locations ranging from historic Crissy Field to a costume shop in Silicon Valley. SFMOMA will also bring touring presentations of its renowned photography collection to communities throughout California, create new partnerships with local schools, and develop creative educational projects in collaboration with local and international artists.
“SFMOMA is more than just a building,” says SFMOMA Director Neal Benezra. “We’re a set of intersecting cultural communities. As we reimagine our new home, we’re also rethinking who we want to be in the future, and what better way to find inspiration than in conversation with others. We look forward to fully exploring what it means to be a museum during this phase, while broadening access to our collection in ways that foster a sense of community ownership of the collective cultural riches of the city and celebrate the creative spirit of the region. When our new building is completed in 2016, we’ll bring the best of these experiences back into our new building with a greater understanding of our place in the community.”
“Dialogue with the community has always been important to SFMOMA, and we’re tremendously excited to work with all our museum partners,” says SFMOMA Curator of Painting and Sculpture Janet Bishop, who is leading the museum’s off-site initiative. “Our construction period offers an opportunity to really extend that dialogue and play it out in a variety of new ways. Not only will audiences be able to see and experience the museum in a new light, but we’ll be able to see ourselves in a new light, too, and gain valuable insight from that exchange.”
SFMOMA’s decision to pursue off-site programming during construction evolved from a detailed review of the best options for the museum’s art collection, the audiences it serves, and its vision for the future. Joint programs through partnership further SFMOMA’s mission to make art not only widely accessible, but accessible in continually new and surprising ways.
SFMOMA’s On the Go program is supported by AT&T.
Bay Area Museum Partnerships
At partner venues, SFMOMA will jointly organize major thematic exhibitions—approximately one each season—that highlight both iconic and lesser-seen works from all areas of the museum’s holdings, while providing new contexts for viewing and understanding those artworks. Former partner shows included Beyond Belief: 100 Years of the Spiritual in Modern Art at the Contemporary Jewish Museum (June 28–October 27, 2013) and Flesh and Metal: Body and Machine in Early 20th-Century Art at Cantor Arts Center (November 13, 2013–March 16, 2014). Current and upcoming exhibitions scheduled through spring 2015 include:
- Public Intimacy: Art and Other Ordinary Acts in South Africa (February 21–June 29, 2014)
On view at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
Disrupting expected images of South Africa, the 25 contemporary artists and collectives featured in Public Intimacy eloquently explore the poetics and politics of the everyday. This collaboration with Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA) presents pictures from SFMOMA’s collection of South African photography alongside works in a broad range of media, including video, painting, sculpture, performance, and publications—most made in the last five years. Public Intimacy includes works by Ian Berry, Ernest Cole, David Goldblatt, William Kentridge, Donna Kukama, Terry Kurgan, Sabelo Mlangeni, Santu Mofokeng, Billy Monk, Zanele Muholi, Jo Ractliffe, Athi-Patra Ruga, Berni Searle, and Kemang Wa Lehulere. The exhibition is co-curated by Betti-Sue Hertz, director of visual arts at YBCA; Dominic Willsdon, Leanne and George Roberts Curator of Education and Public Programs at SFMOMA; and Frank Smigiel, associate curator of public programs at SFMOMA.
- Gorgeous (June 20–September 14, 2014)
On view at the Asian Art Museum
A selection of 72 stunning artworks drawn from the collections of SFMOMA and the Asian Art Museum, Gorgeous challenges visitors to confront the extremes and ambiguities of beauty. This special exhibition features an extraordinary mix of objects, spanning more than 2,200 years and dozens of cultures to bring together artworks that, in a variety of ways, extend beyond conventional notions of beauty. Presenting these paintings, sculptures, photographs, design objects, and drawings in new and unexpected contexts, the exhibition aims to stimulate viewers to examine their ideas of what it means for something to be gorgeous. The exhibition is organized by the Asian Art Museum in partnership with SFMOMA. Gorgeous is curated by Allison Harding, assistant curator of contemporary art at the Asian Art Museum, and Forrest McGill, Wattis senior curator of South and Southeast Asian art and director of the Asian Art Museum’s Research Institute for Asian Art, in association with Janet Bishop, curator of painting and sculpture at SFMOMA, and Caitlin Haskell, assistant curator of painting and sculpture at SFMOMA.
- Fertile Ground: Art and Community in California (September 20, 2014–April 12, 2015)
On view at the Oakland Museum of California
Fertile Ground will bring together art and archival materials from the collections of SFMOMA and the Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) to present the stories of four creative communities active in Northern California between the 1930s and the early 2000s. Focusing on the local conditions that have allowed art to flourish, the exhibition will interweave the histories and friendships of artists, collectors, curators, and other individual and institutional collaborators, against a backdrop of transformative social change in California. The four featured communities will comprise: the circle of Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo in 1930s San Francisco; the California School of Fine Arts in the immediate postwar period; the studio art department at UC Davis in the 1970s; and the Mission scene during the first dot-com era. Artists in the exhibition include Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, Mark Rothko, Clyfford Still, Richard Diebenkorn, David Park, Robert Arneson, Manuel Neri, Wayne Thiebaud, William T. Wiley, Barry McGee, Chris Johanson, and Margaret Kilgallen, among others. Fertile Ground is curated by Drew Johnson, curator of photography and visual culture at OMCA; Janet Bishop, curator of painting and sculpture at SFMOMA, Caitlin Haskell, assistant curator of painting and sculpture at SFMOMA, and Peter Samis, associate curator of interpretation at SFMOMA.
- Portraits and Other Likenesses (working title; January–May 2015)
On view at the Museum of the African Diaspora
Featuring approximately 30 artworks, Portraits and Other Likenesses will demonstrate how artists from the early 20th century to our own time have negotiated a vast array of European, African, and American visual-cultural forms to redefine what it means to make a portrait. On view in the newly renovated galleries at the Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD), Portraits and Other Likenesses will feature paintings, sculptures, photographs, and videos from SFMOMA, many of them recently acquired and on view for the first time as part of the collection. The exhibition situates key historical artworks by Romare Bearden, Sargent Johnson, Seydou Keita, and Wifredo Lam in dialogue with recent works by living artists including Njideka Akunyili, Dawoud Bey, Nick Cave, Mildred Howard, Glenn Ligon, Rodrigo Moya, Chris Ofili, Paula Santiago, Yinka Shonibare, Carrie Mae Weems, Jack Whitten, Kara Walker, Fred Wilson, and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, among others. Together, the works assembled demonstrate that as people move between geographies, meanings change too. There is perhaps no clearer evidence of this than the history of the modern portrait, which has evolved from a form of personal identification, to a genre as invested in fiction, subversion, stereotype, and vanity as it is in the sheer description of physical features. Portraits and Other Likenesses is curated by Lizzetta LeFalle-Collins, deputy director and director of curatorial affairs at MoAD; Janet Bishop, curator of painting and sculpture at SFMOMA; and Caitlin Haskell, assistant curator of painting and sculpture at SFMOMA.
Special Presentation of SFMOMA’s Collection
An extended single-gallery presentation at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco will feature highlights from SFMOMA’s collection:
- Matisse from SFMOMA (November 9, 2013–September 7, 2014)
On view at the Legion of Honor, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco
This jewel-sized exhibition features 23 paintings, drawings, and bronzes from SFMOMA’s internationally acclaimed collection of work by Henri Matisse, joined by four important paintings and drawings from the collection of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco (FAMSF). Celebrating the Bay Area’s early and long-standing enthusiasm for the French artist, Matisse from SFMOMA traces four decades of the artist’s career, from a Cézanne-inspired still life and an academic nude from the turn of the last century to his richly patterned interiors from the 1920s and 1930s. Of special note are the vibrantly colored pictures from the artist’s fauvist period, from 1905 to 1908, when the artist first rose to prominence as a leader of modern French painting. Matisse from SFMOMA is organized by Janet Bishop, curator of painting and sculpture at SFMOMA, and Melissa Buron, curator of European painting at FAMSF.
Outdoor Commissions and Site-Specific Installations
SFMOMA will create temporary interventions into the urban fabric of the city, on view for free to the public. Previous projects include 2012 SECA Art Award: Zarouhie Abdalian, Josh Faught, Jonn Herschend, David Wilson (September 14–November 17, 2013), which presented site-responsive projects by winners of its signature SECA Art Award at locations in San Francisco and Oakland, and Project Los Altos: SFMOMA in Silicon Valley (November 9, 2013–March 2, 2014), a multisite exhibition featuring nine national and international artists in the city of Los Altos. Current and upcoming installations include:
- Mark di Suvero at Crissy Field (May 22, 2013–May 26, 2014)
A major outdoor exhibition of Mark di Suvero’s iconic works is on view near the Golden Gate Bridge. Eight large-scale steel sculptures are installed at Crissy Field, a former airfield and military base that is now one of the most visited national park sites within the Golden Gate National Parks. Curated by SFMOMA Director Neal Benezra, Mark di Suvero at Crissy Field is the largest display of the artist’s work ever shown on the West Coast, including a recent sculpture that has never before been on public view. The exhibition coincides with di Suvero’s 80th birthday, taking place more than 70 years after he emigrated from Shanghai to San Francisco—a journey that proved to be a lasting inspiration as the scale and color of the bridge have inspired di Suvero throughout his life. Presented by SFMOMA in partnership with the National Park Service and the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, the yearlong exhibition is free to the public and extends the programs celebrating the Golden Gate Bridge’s 75th anniversary.
- New Work: Markus Schinwald (working title; September 11, 2014–January 2015)
On view at CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts
Markus Schinwald, the next exhibition in SFMOMA’s New Work series, will premiere a new commission by Vienna-based artist Markus Schinwald. On view at the Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco’s Potrero Hill district, this exhibition marks the first collaborative exhibition between the two institutions and is organized by Jenny Gheith, assistant curator of painting and sculpture at SFMOMA, and Anthony Huberman, director of the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts. SFMOMA’s New Work series presents focused presentations of innovative work by national and international artists.
Traveling Photography Exhibitions Around the State
SFMOMA is known internationally as a leader in presenting and collecting photography. Through 2015, the museum will tour exhibitions of work from its collection to communities throughout California.
- Photography in Mexico from the Collection of SFMOMA
Sonoma County Museum, Santa Rosa (September 28, 2013–January 12, 2014)
Bakersfield Museum of Art (September 11, 2014–January 4, 2015)
Haggin Museum, Stockton (April 16–June 14, 2015)
Featuring approximately 100 photographs, this exhibition reveals a distinctively rich and diverse tradition of photography in Mexico. The show begins with works from the medium’s first artistic flowering in the wake of the Mexican Revolution (1910–20) and goes on to explore the explosion of the illustrated press at midcentury; the documentary investigations of cultural traditions and urban politics that emerged in the 1970s and 1980s; and more recent considerations of urban life and globalization. Photography in Mexico includes work by Edward Weston, Tina Modotti, Lola Álvarez Bravo, Manuel Álvarez Bravo, Manuel Carrillo, Graciela Iturbide, Elsa Medina, Pablo Ortiz Monasterio, and Mariana Yampolsky, among others.
- The Provoke Era: Japanese Photography from the Collection of SFMOMA
Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento (October 12, 2014–February 1, 2015)
California Museum of Photography, UC Riverside (March 28–August 15, 2015)
SFMOMA has been actively acquiring the work of internationally recognized artists including Masahisa Fukase, Eikoh Hosoe, Daido Moriyama, and Shōmei Tōmatsu since the 1970s, assembling one of the world’s preeminent collections of Japanese photography. The exhibition begins with the avant-garde tradition that emerged in Tokyo in the 1960s and 1970s and explores its influence on the diverse photographic practice that continues today. The tumultuous period following World War II proved fertile ground for a generation of Japanese photographers who responded to societal upheaval by creating a new visual language dubbed “Are, Bure, Boke”—rough, blurred, and out of focus. Named for the magazine Provoke, which sought to break the rules of traditional photography, this exhibition traces how Japanese photographers responded to their country’s shifting social and political atmosphere.
Education and Public Programs
During the museum’s off-site period, SFMOMA will continue to expand its role as cultural producer and catalyst for creativity through new programs under the direction of Dominic Willsdon, Leanne and George Roberts Curator of Education and Public Programs at SFMOMA.
- Focus on school partnerships
In anticipation of serving a greater high school audience in the expanded building, the Education Department will prototype new partnerships with local San Francisco public high schools, working intensively with cross-disciplinary teams of teachers at selected high schools to engage students in the visual art of our time. Additionally, SFMOMA will continue its teacher training programs that allow Bay Area educators to visit and explore SFMOMA’s off-site exhibitions and installations and develop visual art curriculum in collaboration with museum staff. SFMOMA docents will also lead discussions on modern and contemporary art at off-site program locations as well as classrooms, libraries, and other community centers.
- Live projects and public practice
As part of the museum’s On the Go programming, the Education and Public Programs team has presented live projects that provided intensive immersions in the art and ideas of contemporary artists. Through talks, screenings, performances, new artist commissions, workshops, education activities, family programs, and more, the series explored how the work of selected artists opens new and alternative perspectives on who we are and where and how we live. SFMOMA’s newly created area of public practice will continue this focus on engaging artists with the public in partnership with organizations around the city and region during this period and following the building reopening.
About SFMOMA’s Expansion
Since SFMOMA’s founding in 1935, the museum has drawn nearly 23 million visitors, 50 percent of them since moving to its current location on Third Street in 1995. Over the past 17 years, San Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood has grown up around the museum: new hotels, retail, restaurants, and residential properties were built and continue to thrive, all contributing to the tax base and economic vitality of the city. In 2016, SFMOMA’s new home will again transform the neighborhood as a major tourist attraction and as an employer: upon completion of the expansion, SFMOMA anticipates an over 20 percent increase in number of employees, as well as a 20 percent growth in its audiences, which averaged 650,000 annually in the years leading up to the museum’s temporary building closure for construction. The expansion will create more than 1,400 new jobs in construction and related areas, and SFMOMA will be an even greater economic stimulant when it expands its operations and purchases of goods and services from Bay Area businesses.
To date, SFMOMA has raised more than $570 million toward its $610 million capital campaign goal—a total that includes funds for both construction and endowment.