The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art was the first museum on the western coast of the United States to show only 20th century art. The common acronym for the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is SFMOMA. It did not move to its current location of 151 Third Street in San Francisco until 1995. By then the original name of San Francisco Museum of Art had been changed, it had occupied large portions of the War Memorial Veterans Building in the San Francisco Civic Center. The new structure is a 225,200 square foot paragon of modern art thanks to Swiss architect and designer Mario Botta. Natural light is preferred to illuminate the building’s large open spaces, filling the structure with warm light streaming through thousands of carefully placed windows and skylights.
For those not exactly familiar with the term, modern art refers to any new artwork made after the mid 17th century all the way to the present day in a style dissimilar from that of previous eras. There are dozens of such styles of art which fit into this category including: Fauvism, Cubism, Pop art, Op art, Expressionism, Futurism, Hard-edge painting, Minimal art, and many more. These many forms of art can take place on any imaginable medium. Anything which has a pigment could be used as paint, and anything imaginable could be the canvas. Sculpture could be made with steel, iron, marble, or even cheese if the artist has a mind to. Some of the newest Avant Garde works are composed with raw light and sound being bounced around various rooms to create new sensory experiences.
The museum hosts over twenty exhibitions annually in addition to over 50,000 pieces of art in its permanent collection. Some of the more notable pieces in this collection include works by Ansel Adams, Jackson Pollock, Richard Diebenkorn, and thousands of others. Of these exhibitions, the most eagerly anticipated is the completion and grand opening of the Rooftop Garden. This 14,400 square foot structure is designed to be an outdoor exhibition featuring sculpture, photography, and other artwork which mirrors the mood and mutability of the outdoor world.
The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art also has a department specifically designed for the education of its visitors. There are over three hundred educational programs which the museum hosts annually, at its own expense, for the sole purpose of teaching all comers, regardless of age, of the importance and value of all art in our society and how it enriches our culture and will contribute to its growth over the ages.