A bigger, bluer-chip SFMoMA reopens after three years

Few museum expansions in recent memory have been as anticipated as that of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMoMA). The city has been without a major Modern art museum since the institution closed for renovations three years ago. The new SFMoMA is due to open on 14 May, having doubled in size, tripled its gallery space and added 3,000 donated works to the collection.

The $305m extension, designed by the Norwegian firm Snøhetta, boasts a rippling façade whose aesthetic is part Christo, part Apple store. Visitors will find outdoor terraces with sweeping city views and a new lobby gallery for large-scale installations that is free to the public, which opens with Richard Serra’s Sequence (2006). “I have a theory that tired legs make for tired eyes,” says Neal Benezra, the museum’s director. “You need to give people a chance to be in a social space.”

Richard Serra’s Sequence (2006) at SFMOMA. © Henrik Kam, courtesy SFMOMA.

The inaugural shows are heavy on gifts and long-term loans, including the collection of Gap founders Donald and Doris Fisher. The blue-chip collection of more than 1,100 works of American and European art, on loan for 100 years, was a major factor in the museum’s decision to expand.