Closed for almost two and a half years now, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art will reopen next year -- May 14, to be exact -- at nearly three times its original size. The addition by architecture firm Snøhetta is now visible from Third Street, rising above the 1995 Mario Botta building like a rippling cruise ship improbably docked in narrow alleys of SOMA.
The museum, which was cagey about an official date until now, made the announcement in conjunction with the launch of a newly-designed and extremely pared-down sfmoma.org, complete with their very own eponymous font.
At a hard hat tour on Wednesday, members of the board, the museum’s president Neal Benezra, curator Gary Garrels and Snøhetta principal architect Craig Dykers enumerated the many changes the period of closure spelled for the museum (and its collection).
While the physical expansion took place, the museum raised $610 million in contributions from 500 donors, which covers construction costs and triples the museum’s endowment. A simultaneous campaign to expand the collection gathered 3,000 artworks to fill the new 460,000-square-foot museum. (For comparison, the MoMA in New York measures at 630,000 square feet and the new Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive will check in at 83,000 square feet.)
This mass of newly-acquired and promised work is in addition to the Doris and Donald Fisher Collection, which consists of over 1,100 works on loan to SFMOMA in a 100-year partnership that will eventually mingle the Gap founders’ postwar and contemporary art with the museum’s own holdings.
But perhaps the biggest news was the smallest number related to the expansion: zero, the new price of admission for museum visitors age 18 and younger. If this spells a change in ticket prices for adults ($18 before the close), it wasn’t a topic of conversation at the hard hat tour, but it is perhaps a hopeful step towards what other museums like Los Angeles' The Broad and UCLA's Hammer Museum have adopted in recent years: free admission for all.