SFMOMA's doors may have closed but nothing about the museum is departed. In fact, it's quite the opposite.
The $610 million renovation and expansion plan will double the museum's current size, in part, to accommodate the new acquisition of Doris and Donald Fisher's private collection of more than 1,100 works. SFMOMA won't reopen again until 2016, which begs the question, where will all that art go?
Instead of hiding their extensive collection in storage, around 29,000 works of art, SFMOMA is partnering with a plethora of outside cultural institutions and cities, along with a substantially beefed up digital component, to launch an aggressive campaign to keep SFMOMA alive for its loyalists. In all certainty, by closing its doors, SFMOMA is more open and accessible than ever. Here are five things to look forward to:
Robert Rauschenberg at work in his Lafayette Street studio, New York, 1968; Courtesy the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation; photo: Shunk-Kender c. Roy Lichtenstein Foundation
1. SFMOMA's gone digital. SFMOMA Art Scope is an expansive, albeit slightly overwhelming, new digital browsing tool that lets you access 6,793 pieces in SFMOMA's collection. If you're inclined you can peruse works from the likes of artists such as Robert Rauschenberg, all 87 works in SFMOMA's collection to be exact, along with the Rauschenberg Research Project, which offers extensive research, written essays, interviews, and other multimedia commentary about the artist and each work of art. Don't click past this consuming online sinkhole of art.
Teresita Fernández, Fire, 2005; Collection SFMOMA, Accessions Committee Fund purchase; c. Teresita Fernández
2. SFMOMA's collection is also dropping in on numerous Bay Area cultural institutions, including the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University, the Legion of Honor and even outside against the foggy backdrop of the bay at Chrissie Field. SFMOMA purists will want to cross these thresholds to get their modern art fix. Beyond Belief: 100 years of the Spiritual in Modern Art at the Contemporary Jewish Museum is a must see, on view through October 27.
Jeremy Blake, Century 21 (video still), from the Winchester trilogy, 2002–4; Collection SFMOMA, Accessions Committee Fund: gift of Carla Emil and Rich Silverstein, Mimi and Peter Haas, Helen and Charles Schwab, and Robin Wright; c. Estate of Jeremy Blake
3. When SFMOMA claims they've "temporarily moved... everywhere," they mean it. Not just taking up residence in other institutions in San Francisco, SFMOMA is even collaborating with other cities -- uh, Los Altos anyone? SFMOMA will host Project Los Altos where national and international contemporary artists, the caliber of Jessica Stockolder, Christian Janowski, Chris Johanson (to name a few), will create commissioned works that respond directly to the unique history of that city. Coupled with works from SFMOMA's collection, these projects will be exhibited in the downtown area, both indoors and out. Project Los Altos runs November 9, 2013 through March 2, 2014.
Josh Faught, BE BOLD For What You Stand For, BE CAREFUL For What You Fall For (detail), 2013; commissioned by SFMOMA, courtesy the artist and Lisa Cooley, New York; c. Josh Faught; photo: Ben Blackwell
4. SECA like you've never seen it before! The Society for the Encouragement of Contemporary Art Award is SFMOMA's prestigious biennial award honoring Bay Area artists. This year's four artists Zarouhie Abdalian, Josh Faught, Jonn Herschend, and David Wilson created "site-responsive projects" that will literally ring from the rooftops of downtown Oakland, inhabit the Neptune Society Columbarium, SFMOMA's website, and various other sites in San Francisco. These amazing projects will be on display September 14 through November 17, 2013 in multiple locations.
5. Is it art? In conjunction with the meandering collection and the artists who make it, Live Projects is SFMOMA's education and public programs, a bimonthly series of talks, interviews, film screenings, poetry readings, workshops and more. Hosted at venues like the historic Castro Theater, Angel Island, SFJAZZ Center and Chrissie Field, you might not even know it's art until it hits you.
For more information on all programming and exhibitions during renovations please visit sfmoma.org.