SFMOMA is finally getting close to reopening with its brand new expansion, after a three-year hiatus that had us all wishing we had our only really major museum back. (The deYoung, Legion of Honor, and Asian Art Museums are nice and everything, but let's be real.) SFist took a hard-hat tour of the new museum, the expansion of which was designed by Norwegian firm Snøhetta, back in October, at which points things were still pretty well tarped and scaffolded
As the Chronicle reports, in preparation for the May 14 reopening events which will not include another 24-hour free event like when they closed in 2013, despite previous reports to that effect* art is returning to the building and being hung, and there is now triple the amount of gallery space in the museum. Also, SFMOMA will now have 20,000 more square feet of gallery space than its New York counterpart, MoMA.
Filling a lot of this new wall and floor space will be works from the Doris and Donald Fisher Collection some will recall that the Gap founder pulled out of a plan to build a museum for the family collection in the Presidio back in 2009, which led to the Fishers deciding to essentially give it all to SFMOMA, on loan for 99 years. Some 1,100 pieces from the Fisher collection will join SFMOMA's already impressive collection, 260 of which will be immediately on view, including a monumental steel sculpture by Richard Serra that got moved into the ground-floor lobby on the Howard Street side last year. The Fishers have also been big collectors of the sculptures of Alexander Calder, and there will now be a dedicated Calder gallery with adjacent outdoor sculpture terraces.
The first year back for the museum will focus on the collection, with exhibits by California artists like Beat-era assemblage artist Bruce Connor, whose retrospective will travel from New York's MoMa here in late October, and a retrospective of by Los Angeles photographer Anthony Hernandez that will open in September.
Things kick off with the 2016 Modern Ball, on May 12, the gala dinner portion of which is already sold out. The dance party, however, will begin selling tickets in March.
Below, the Chron's rundown of the floor-by-floor galleries and highlights from what you'll find in them come May.
Richard Serra’s “Sequence” (2006): Already visible through the museum’s glass wall on Howard Street, Serra’s monumental steel sculpture occupies its own gallery, which will be open to the public free of charge.
“The Campaign for Art: Drawings, Part I” (through Sept. 18): The museum will have its first exhibition space specifically designed for the special viewing requirements of works on paper (low light levels, intimate spaces). The first of a two-part show, it will highlight new gifts of works made between 1914 and the 1970s.
“Open Ended: Painting and Sculpture Since 1900”: A “primarily geographic” reinstallation of the permanent collection “will feel familiar” to SFMOMA fans, Garrels says, starting with the beloved “Femme au Chapeau (Woman With a Hat)” (1905) by Henri Matisse.
“Paul Klee in Color” (through September): Sixteen paintings and watercolors, the museum’s 45th exhibition of Klee works draws upon an extensive 1980 gift from Carl Djerassi.
“Art of Northern California: Three Stories” (through November): To launch a gallery where the museum plans to regularly present Bay Area and California works, a concise exhibition will deal with Conceptual art (Lynn Hershman Leeson, Tom Marioni, et al.); the UC Davis group including Robert Arneson, Wayne Thiebaud and William T. Wiley; and “personal” approaches of Joan Brown, Jess and Lee Mullican.
“Learning to Love You More” (through Aug. 21): In the new Koret Education Center, San Francisco artists Jonn Herschend and Will Rogan (founders of The Thing Quarterly) will curate a presentation of a Miranda July/Harrell Fletcher project begun in 2002.
“About Time: Photography in a Moment of Change” (through Sept. 25): Most of the third floor is devoted to the new Pritzker Center for Photography, a 15,000-square-foot series of galleries and collection spaces. Effectively a museum within the museum, the center opens with a broad collection survey spanning 180 years of the medium’s history.
“California and the West: Photography From the Collection Campaign” (through Sept. 5): Some 200 newly donated works — “landscape photographs,” broadly defined — made between 1856 and 2014.
“Alexander Calder: Motion Lab” (through Sept. 10): A dedicated Calder gallery, with adjacent outdoor sculpture terraces, will regularly present the witty and inventive works of the much-loved artist. The Fisher Collection, with something like 40 sculptures, is particularly rich in Calder works, greatly enhancing strong existing SFMOMA holdings.
“Model Behavior: Snøhetta’s First Concepts for SFMOMA” (through Jan. 16, 2017): A look at the models and drawings used in planning the new building.
“The Campaign for Art: Modern and Contemporary” (through Sept. 18): Selections from the approximately 3,000 new works donated in anticipation of the new building, including a gallery full of Joseph Beuys works and paintings by Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg and Jackson Pollock.
“Approaching American Abstraction: The Fisher Collection”: Among the highlights are 26 extraordinary paintings and sculptures by Ellsworth Kelly. The entire progression of a visit to the fourth floor dead-ends at an octagonal gallery (“chapel-like,” Garrels calls it) devoted to seven major Minimalist works by Agnes Martin.
“New Work: Leonor Antunes” (through Oct. 2): The Portuguese artist, currently looking great in a group exhibition at San Francisco’s Jessica Silverman Gallery, is designing a site-specific installation that will make reference to design works by such historically significant women as Anni Albers and Ruth Asawa.
“Pop, Minimal, and Figurative Art: The Fisher Collection”: Strong holdings in the work of Philip Guston and a tantalizing mini-survey of Chuck Close stand out, along with a crop of the biggest names in Pop (Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol) and Minimalism (Donald Judd).
“British Sculptors: The Fisher Collection” (through fall 2017): From Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore to Antony Gormley and Anish Kapoor, this is a promising selection to inaugurate an annual sculpture rotation in a sunlit gallery.
“Claudy Jongstra: Aarde”: A big, site-specific, wool and mixed natural media mural by the Dutch designer.
“Typeface to Interface: Graphic Design From the Collection” (through Nov. 27): Some 250 works from the collection, looking at the changes in design from the analog era to the digital.
“German Art After 1960: The Fisher Collection”: Strong ties to the late SFMOMA curator John Caldwell, a specialist in contemporary German art, led the Fishers to invest deeply in Georg Baselitz, Bernd and Hilla Becher, Sigmar Polke, Anselm Kiefer, and Gerhard Richter, each of whom will be presented in galleries dedicated to their work.
“The Campaign for Art: Contemporary” (through Oct. 30): An array of gifts of art made to the museum since 1980
“Film as Place” (through Oct. 30): The museum’s ability to exhibit media arts such as video, electronic and sound works will be greatly enhanced in the new building. This exhibition will combine long-term installations with a rotating program of projections. Among the highlights is sure to be Beryl Korot’s influential “Dachau 1974” (1974), an early example of multi-channel video as art.