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14,400-Square-Foot Exhibition Space Will Add New Dimension to Museum Experience

Free Admission on Opening Day Thanks to Koret Foundation

Released: January 29, 2009 ·

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) will open a new rooftop sculpture garden on May 10, 2009, one year before the museum’s 75th anniversary. The Rooftop Garden will not only serve as a dynamic space for showcasing SFMOMA’s ever-expanding collection of modern and contemporary sculpture, but it will also provide visitors with a place for reflection, relaxation, and interaction. Free admission on Mother’s Day, May 10, 2009, is made possible by a grant from the Koret Foundation.

“The garden will act as an entirely new kind of gallery, adding a fresh dimension to the museum experience,” said SFMOMA Director Neal Benezra. “The grand scale of this remarkable space will enable us to exhibit large works—and even to extend and play off of the special exhibitions on view in our fifth-floor galleries.”

Artists to be featured in the Rooftop Garden’s inaugural exhibition include Robert Arneson, Louise Bourgeois, Alexander Calder, Luciano Fabro, Ellsworth Kelly, Mario Merz, Juan Munoz, Barnett Newman, Joel Shapiro, Ranjani Shettar, and Kiki Smith. Sculptures will be comprised of works from the museum’s collection that were either recently acquired or that are rarely seen. Highlights include Alexander Calder’s Big Crinkly (1969); Stele I (1973), by Ellsworth Kelly; and Zim Zum I (1969), by Barnett Newman. Also on view will be recent gifts of artwork donated specifically for display in the new space, including The Lens of Rotterdam (1988), by Mario Merz, a gift from the Dodie and John N. Rosekrans Jr.-Runnymede Collection; and Joel Shapiro’s Untitled (1983–87), a gift from Shirley Ross Davis.

The Rooftop Garden, which is partially covered but primarily open air, adds 14,400 square feet to the museum. On its western side, the space shares a panoramic glass wall with the museum’s fifth-floor galleries, providing them with natural light and views of the garden. Access to the Rooftop Garden will be via an enclosed glass-and-steel bridge, which will also be used for displaying art; for the garden’s inauguration, the bridge will feature a specially commissioned project by Bay Area artist Rosanna Castrillo Diaz.

Twelve months prior to the opening of the Rooftop Garden, SFMOMA successfully completed a $24 million campaign to fund the garden and its related programming. This amount included $18 million in construction costs as well as a $6 million permanent operating endowment for an array of programs and services. An additional $1 million in operational funding has been designated for programming in the first two seasons. Lead gifts were given by the Mimi & Peter Haas Fund, Barbara and Gerson Bakar, the Jean and James Douglas Family, Patricia and William Wilson III, and Carolyn and Preston Butcher.


The SFMOMA Rooftop Garden was designed by Jensen Architects, a leading San Francisco–based architecture and interiors firm. The project began with a design competition won by Jensen & Macy Architects in collaboration with Conger Moss Guillard Landscape Architecture. Jensen Architects has been recognized through numerous design awards and publications and has completed educational, institutional, commercial, retail, cultural, and residential projects across the United States and Europe. In 2007, the firm collaborated with artist Ann Hamilton to create Tower, a site-specific sculpture in Sonoma County, California. Jensen Architects’ design team is comprised of Mark Jensen (principal), Dean Orr, Gretchen Krebs, Steven Huegli, and Orit Goldstein-Mayer. Collaborating landscape designers for the project are Kevin Conger (principal) and Rayna Deniord of CMG Landscape Architecture.

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