SFMOMA closes for construction; new museum to open in 2016

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art will close on June 2, 2013, in order to prepare for an expansion that will open in early 2016. Founded in 1935 as the first West Coast museum dedicated to modern art, SFMOMA expects attendance to jump from their current 650,000 annual visitors to over one million once the new building opens. In the meantime look for their travelling exhibitions in various locations around the Bay Area.

To kickstart this new chapter, the museum is hosting a free four-day countdown celebration from May 30 through June 2. Festivities include a 24-hour live art variety show, all-night access to the gallery, a rooftop party, and live music. Once the museum closes you can still find SFMOMA programming at the Contemporary Jewish Museum, the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, the Asian Art Museum, and Crissy Field which will feature a year-long outdoor installation of Mark di Suvero's large-scale sculptures.

SFMOMA was built on the idea that art can transform lives by encouraging new ways of thinking. The museum prides itself on a collection of more than 27,000 pieces, including innovative exhibitions that bring together some of the most groundbreaking and conceptual art of the 20th and 21st centuries. The new building will double their exhibition space, further enabling their mission of making art a central and meaningful part of public life.

Designed by the award-winning architecture firm Snohetta, the expansion features seven floors of indoor and outdoor gallery space, the largest living wall of native plants in San Francisco, incredible terrace views, and increased public access. A free ground-floor gallery will offer a gathering place at the entrance of the museum, and the additional space will increase visits from K-12th grade students from 18,000 to 55,000 annually. The new energy-efficient structure is expected to receive LEED Gold Certification, which would put SFMOMA at the vanguard of sustainability for art museums globally.  

In a statement on their website, Museum Director Neal Benezra says: "SFMOMA is more than just a building. We're a set of intersecting cultural communities. As we reimagine our new home, we're also rethinking who we want to be in the future... When our new building is completed in 2016 we'll bring the best of these experiences back into our new building with a greater understanding of our place in the community."

SFMOMA, located in the SOMA district near the Yerba Buena Gardens, is 5 blocks from the San Francisco Downtown Hostel and 9 blocks from the San Francisco City Center Hostel.

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