Today, or Wednesday, May 28, 2013 at 11:02 a.m. to be exact, various San Francisco dignitaries were joined by the pupils of Bessie Carmichael School to officially kick off SFMOMA’s upcoming two and-a-half years of renovations. They counted down, pushed the lever and flooded the temporary media space with glittering confetti. The glitter certainly reflects the upcoming 4-day long party, which began today with free admission until the museum closes on June 2.
SFMOMA has planned something for everyone. Visitors will have the opportunity to party on the rooftop with cocktails and live music; stay up all night in the galleries and catch performances by 48 artists in a 24-hour variety show marathon. Or they can explore SFMOMA’s landmark photography exhibition “Garry Winogrand” and line up to catch Christian Marclay’s 24-hour video movie “The Clock.”
Museum staff and docents in the galleries will be on hand to talk about their favorite artworks. Visitors can get to know Bay Area makers and artists featured in a special live-format edition of KQED Public Radio’s popular series “The Making Of…” by the award-winning Kitchen Sisters and see a large-scale model of SFMOMA’s new building. There will be a special family day on June 2 and reservations are recommended for that as the museum anticipates a record turn out.
“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.”
He also announced a generous gift to the youth of the city, a 10 million dollar endowment that will allow free admission to visitors under the age of 18.
The new space, designed Oslo-NYC firm Snøhetta, will include 225,000 square feet of gallery space at estimated cost of $610 million. 41,000 square feet of free-access public space has been promised, in addition to a new seventh floor outdoor terrace and massive vertical gardens.
While SFMOMA will be closed until 2016, they haven’t gone away. SFMOMA will be well represented in many around other venues in the Bay Area. Even before the museum closed, it presided over the May 22 opening of the yearlong outdoor exhibition “Mark di Suvero at Crissy Field,” an array of eight monumental pieces that celebrates the influential sculptor’s 80th birthday
On June 28, SFMOMA and the Contemporary Jewish Museum will open “Beyond Belief.” A team of resident and guest curators has chosen 60 works from SFMOMA’s collection. Spanning the years between 1911 to 2011, the exhibition explores the spiritual dimensions of modern art, especially as seen through the lens of Jewish theological concepts. The exhibit will be anchored by a great late abstraction by Mark Rothko (1903-70) but “Beyond Belief” will also bring back to light several things in various media not on public view for many years.
In addition, collaborations with SFMOMA will take form this year and next as exhibitions at local institutions including Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and the Oakland Museum of California, and regional museums in Oakland, Sonoma, Sacramento, Bakersfield and Riverside.
Model of new museum
In July 2010 the museum selected Norwegian architecture firm Snøhetta to design the expansion, which will cover 235,000 square feet of space and triple the size of SFMOMA’s galleries.
Interview of the new museum
The museum envisions adding 100,000 square feet of public spaces and 40,000 for back-shop offices, conservation and an expanded library. The current building is 225,000 square feet, 65,000 of it open to the public. Moving offices to ten stories of the new wing will free up an additional 13,000 square feet of exhibition space in the existing building.
Mario Botta entrance to the current museum
One last shot of the old Mario Botta entrance way which will be demolished to make way for the new renovations. Losing this iconic staircase has proved a controversial decision.
Construction has already started
When the renovations are finished, there will be a new all-glass gallery on Howard Street that is free to the public, a wider entrance stairway and a restaurant in the lobby.
The podium awaits it’s close up
San Francisco dignitaries were joined by the pupils of Bessie Carmichael School to officially kick off SFMOMA’s upcoming two and-a-half years of renovations.
Construction reveals parts of old SF
It’s always interesting to see what parts of the old city are revealed. When the buildings come down, viewers can catch a momentary glimpse of the city that was and is now being destroyed, brick by brick.
Wall of Cookies
The ceremony featured a wall of Snøhetta-inspired cookies created by pastry chef Caitlin Freeman of SFMOMA’s famed Blue Bottle Coffee Bar.
Hard hats and ceremonial shovels
SFMOMA’s groundbreaking celebration before the museum closes June 3 for its expansion included hard hats, confetti, an augmented reality app that allows guests to experience how the new museum will look in the future, a first-grade class from Bessie Carmichael Elementary School.
Dignitaries move to the podium
“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.”
Kids from Bessie Carmichael School take part in the ceremony
Benezra continued, “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. “
An artist-conceived augmented reality mobile application
Developed by Brooklyn-based duo Will Pappenheimer and John Craig Freeman to celebrate SFMOMA’s expansion project, the public art “app-arition” is both an interactive and an animated artist-interpretation of the building’s Snøhetta design.