The New San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

March 8, 2017

Of all the neighborhood gems that make the 181 Fremont luxury condos so attractive to home-seekers, the nearby San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) might be the crown jewel. Founded in 1935, SFMOMA—where Jackson Pollack had his first museum show—is one of the most important and largest museums of modern and contemporary art in the United States, and it’s just minutes from the luxury condos at 181 Fremont in SoMa. In May 2016, following a three-year closure, the museum unveiled its vastly expanded, reconfigured space, designed by the Norwegian architecture firm Snøhetta. SFMOMA now spans 170,000 feet of space, triple what it had before, with 45,000 square feet of free public space that houses sculptures and installations. As with a neighborhood jogging path or favorite weekend brunch spot, visits to SFMOMA are likely to become a treasured ritual, with exhibitions rotating every few months. Admission is always free for kids 18 and under, and the museum store is the perfect place to find irresistible, well-designed gifts.

The museum’s galleries are divided into several distinct areas for different mediums and from different time periods. The Doris and Donald Fisher Collection, a major gift of bold and colorful contemporary paintings from the founders of the Gap, Inc., includes masterworks by Ellsworth Kelly, Gerhard Richter, Andy Warhol, and Sol LeWitt, among many other luminaries. The new Pritzker Center for Photography, which includes special exhibition galleries, a study center, and the Photography Interpretive Gallery, is a testament to SFMOMA’s pioneering efforts to establish the medium of photography as a form of art, and, at 15,000 square feet, it is the largest museum space in America dedicated to photography. Its latest show, diane arbus: in the beginning, on view until April 30, features early work by the famed American photographer, who began taking candid photographs of her fellow New Yorkers while she was still working professionally as a fashion photographer by day. This exhibition of Arbus’s first forays into documentary photography covers the years 1956-1962 and captures indelible scenes and characters from Times Square, the Lower East Side, and Coney Island. Arbus shot moody, thoughtful portraits of people who were overlooked in the middle decades of the 20th century, including the elderly, cab drivers, exotic dancers, and circus performers, all captured with the dignity and sometimes even the glamour of the fashion models she had been trained to capture on film.

Those who love three-dimensional work won’t want to miss British Sculptors, drawn from the Fisher Collection, which assembles works by some of the 20th century’s masters of abstraction, including Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore. On view through September 3, this installation encourages visitors to walk around each work and explore how their surfaces and forms seem to shift from different vantage points. Likewise, Alexander Calder: Motion Lab, on view through September 10, is sure to be a hit with younger visitors. Calder began making mobile, wind-activated sculptures in the early 1930s, but had already started tinkering with the concepts and construction of these works throughout the 1920s. This exhibition includes a selection of Calder’s “mobiles” from the Fisher Collection, as well as sketches and maquettes that illustrate how he brought his ideas to fruition.

Visitors can keep tabs on current shows, tours, talks, and special events at SFMOMA by visiting the Exhibitions and Events page.

Image courtesy of sfmoma.org