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November 05, 2013 2:16 pm

Redesigning SF MOMA

By MOAM Staff, Photo Credit:

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One of San Francisco’s most famed art museums, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), recently began its plan to transform the current space it occupies in the SOMA district. Director Neal Benezra is the force behind the redesign, which will involve a 225,000 square foot addition to the existing space. The addition will house a new collection of more than 1,000 pieces of contemporary art, compliments of the Fisher family. The acquisition is predicted to bring SFMOMA up to par with the most prestigious art collections in the world.

The expansion does not come without drawbacks, however. Aside from the $610 million price tag the construction entails, it will take three years to complete the project, which means that San Francisco will be without its best modern art museum until 2016, a move that has some art enthusiasts scratching their heads. Why not house the art in a temporary space, as most other museums have done when making such transitions? Instead, Benezra has decided to split up the collection and share it with other Bay Area institutions. This plan will involve a lot of delicate handling to transport millions of dollars’ worth of floating art around the city in the backs of moving trucks and elevators at any given time over the next three years.

The finished project will feature a glass-walled gallery through which passersby’s on the street can view some of the museum’s artwork. The Fisher collection is one of the greatest private collections of modern art in the world, featuring pieces from Alexander Calder, Chuck Close, Roy Lichtenstein, Agnes Martin, Gerhard Richter, Richard Serra, Andy Warhol and countless others. The couple, Doris and Donald has collected art since the 1970s and are partnering with SFMOMA to make their collection viewable to the public.

Snøhetta, the design firm responsible for designing the addition, is based in Oslo and has previously designed the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet, the Lillehammer Art Museum in Norway and the National September 11th Memorial Museum at the World Trade Center Site. The firm is known for their daring, innovative work, and the stark white addition to SFMOMA is sure to redefine the landscape of downtown San Francisco. 

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