My first visit to San Francisco almost a decade ago was so brief, I ended up just collecting a list of places to see for next time. It took me almost a decade to go back and my list grew in the meantime. I added a few more places – parks, coffee shops and wineries in neighbouring towns and my wish to tour Alcatraz sort of waned. SF MoMA however remained at the top of the list.
The museum shut for renovations for several years, reopening last year with 170,000 square feet of galleries and an extension designed in a wavy white façade embedded with silicate crystals from Monterey Bay that shimmer when caught in sunlight.
Geometric Apple Core – Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen
Colored Vases – Ai Weiwei
I went to San Francisco a few weeks after the museum’s opening and visited with anticipation and excitement.
With more art on display than the MoMA in New York, the space is huge and impressive, from a sprawling outdoor living wall to airy brightly lit galleries that inspires exploration. The main lobby boasts an imposing sculptural staircase, a giant looping weathering steel structure and a massive Calder mobile overhead.
I’m very much a neophyte when it comes to modern art (and all periods of art, for that matter) but I feel like a gallery has done its job if art moves and inspires me. With so much to see, you could happily lose a whole day, perhaps a rainy day.
Sleeping woman – Charles Ray
The museum has seven remarkable floors of galleries with diverse contemporary art and paintings, photography, design and architecture exhibitions and sculptures. There’s also a coffee shop (Sightglass Coffee), a restaurant and a fantastic gift shop. You’ll find influential modern art from renowned artists here, there is a spotlight on West Coast artists through the 20th century as well.
Discovering (new to me) artists is one of the things I love about museums. Njideka Akunyili Crosby’s vibrant collage paintings made me homesick for everyday life in Africa. I thought her painting, Janded was special.