The cluster of exhibitions featured in newly expanded museum differs sharply from Public Information in that it is much more collector-driven and much less curator driven, fully in keeping with the mandates of museums to become repositories of wealth-made-visible, and of institutional marketers to manifest as much crowd-pleasing spectacle as possible. Into the foreground comes the idea of the museum as trophy hall, even as the idea of the museum as a playground for the educated mind slips into the background. Here, we clearly see the results of the ways that art fairs have been re-defining the artistic landscape for the past 21 years, recasting works of art as buy-low-and-sell-high financial instruments. Anybody who has read what I have been writing during that time will know that I am no fan of this transformation, and he or she will also know that I think that the arrogant a-historicism undergirding it bodes ill for the continued existence of serious art production, not to mention the continued existence of the subtlety and sophistication that is necessary to recognize consequential art production in its emerging phases. But I am also aware that our new moment could care less about what I or any one else thinks about it, as the rampant financialization of all things renders any contest of discourses moot. All that is left for us is to enjoy what remains of the ride, which is what my good friend the smoking cockroach and I intend to do.
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The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) reopens on May 14, 2016.
Frank Lostaunau says
Not all San Franciscans can afford to enter the new SFMOMA. There are many disabled vets, physically and mentally challenged adults, Senior citizens, and artist’s living on a very limited income that can afford the entry fees. There’s a $20 discount for Seniors but many need the $20 to help pay the rent, purchase nutritious food, and medications to survive.
I’m a disabled artist and I need medications to survive. I earned a BFA/69 and an MFA/71 from CCAC(CCA) and I taught painting at CCAC, Cal State University, Humboldt, and Cal State University, San Jose. I also earned an MSW from UC Berkeley, Graduate School of Social Welfare and worked with various inner-city poor populations for years. I was even invited to participate in a group exhibition at the former SF Museum of Art on Van Ness Avenue, SF.
I would love to enter the new SFMOMA and study the new structure and paintings that I have never seen. That would truly be a gift!
The new Berkeley Art Museum offers Free Entry on Family Day. For that, I am grateful. Thank You.
Hopefully, the SFMOMA will someday open its doors to all of us so that we can share their vision.
I continue to paint and make art. I am forever grateful.
Robert Atkins says
Is there a dumber idea than building a 450,000 square foot museum today? There are no architectural models for museums of this size except for l9th century institutions like the Metropolitan, which are housed in symmetrical, classicistic buildings, or the sterile pastiches of New York MoMA and the Mall of America. Given the inherent difficulties of working around an existing building with an iconic silhouette and a site with no views, not to mention a functional program requiring not just galleries, but terraces, a second entrance, restaurants, offices, library, auditorium, conservation labs, education center etc, Snowhetta did a credible job. But it’s worth remembering that the museums people love are no more than 100,000 square feet in size and tend to be domestic in character–even if it’s the character of a medium size palace.
Michele Theberge says
I had to chuckle at “the rather Napoleonic title of ‘The Campaign for Art’. ”
The new space is so huge that I could not take it all in last Thursday evening. But I am loving the space beyond what I could have anticipated and the seemingly purpose built galleries, especially for the Ellsworth Kellys and the Agnes Martins truly demonstrate who much architecture can support a work.
I especially loved the modest exhibit devoted to the development of the Snøhetta edition. The multiple models showing the creative process and how the new wing was designed to integrate with the existing structure.
Seeing these galleries of “master works” of the Fisher collection left me feeling slightly underwhelmed, however, as the collection lacked the freshness, sense of surprise, curiosity or discomfort new art can offer.
Also, as Mark, importantly points out, this collection was built with a fortune built on sweatshop labor and though I boycott Gap/Old Navy & Banana Republic for this reason, as an artist I will not be boycotting the SFMOMA for this reason. It’s discomforting, however. And I hadn’t realized who the Fishers were before reading this article. Though our values on all points may not align, I am grateful for their generosity in developing this new wing and sharing their monumental collection with the public.
It’s been exciting for me to watch the SFMOMA grow up since I first moved here in 1988. From it’s humble quarters in the War Memorial Building, to the 3rd Street Botta designed space. Now, it feels at last that San Francisco has a world-class institution with works of high caliber.
Marsha Klein says
A stunning but biting encapsulation of the new sfMoma and the entire artworld’s apparent direction.
Exciting, over the top and trying to hang on and enjoy the ride!