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The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
Jun 2 , 2011
Prepare to be inspired at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, a beautiful, expansive museum in downtown San Francisco. At SFMOMA, the exhibits have continued to evolve, and now include works by some of the art world's most important contributors.
The first museum on the west coast devoted to twentieth century contemporary art, and one of the first museums in the world to recognize photography as a fine art, SFMOMA now includes over 26,000 works of art in painting, sculpture, photography, and media arts.
Founded in 1935, The Flower Carrier by Diego Rivera was one of the first pieces of the permanent collection, and is still on view on museum's second floor. Originally, the fledgling museum resided in the War Memorial Veteran's Building, on Van Ness Street right around the corner from the Inn at the Opera. However, as the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art grew in scope and gained international recognition, it needed its own building to call home.
Sixty years after its first opening, SFMOMA established its new home at 151 Third Street in a beautiful, sleek, and complex building designed by Mario Botta, a Swiss architect known for his strong, geometrically-based designs. Close to some of the best shopping in San Francisco, this impeccable building is just down the street from some amazing hotels, including the Grand Hyatt and The St. Regis Hotel.
Some of the important artists exhibited permanently at the SFMOMA include Andy Warhol, Jackson Pollock, Henri Matisse, and Ansel Adams. Ever expanding, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is one of the greatest attractions in San Francisco.
Here is a look at some of the artists whose work can be seen in the permanent collection when visiting the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art:
One of the most widely-known figures in modern art—both for his work and famously stoic personality—is Andy Warhol, who lead the way in the influential and iconic pop art movement beginning in the 1960s. As the first museum to focus on twentieth-century art, SFMOMa has wonderful examples of his brilliant work on display, including National Velvet (1963), which features a publicity still from the film National Velvet of Elizabeth Taylor on horseback silk-screened repeatedly and in succession on canvas, and a quintessential Warhol Self-Portrait (1967). These among other rotating pieces by Warhol provide an excellent feel for his controversial, consumer-based, and culturally iconic art.
French artist Henri Matisse is considered one of the three most influential and revolutionary artists of twentieth century art, along with Pablo Picasso and Marcel Duchamp. Matisse is best known for the unprecedented and expressive use of color in his paintings, which can be seen in the pieces at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, specifically Femme au chapeau (Woman with a hat, 1905) and La Conversation (The Conversation, 1938). After meeting in 1904, Picasso and Matisse became friends and artistic competitors, influencing one another—and generations of painters to come—with their bold, avant-garde styles.
Born in 1922, Richard Diebenkorn's work is especially relevant at the SFMOMA. Many of his subjects are Bay Area-based, and he was considered one of the leading abstract expressionists in the west. He later belonged to the first generation of the Bay Area Figurative Movement on the 1950s and 1960s, during which Bay Area artists turned away from abstract expressionism to reclaim figuration in their work, yet returned to the abstract later in his life. His earlier pieces, including Berkeley No. 57, show his evolution from abstract expressionism to the figurative, exemplified in Cityscape I (Landscape No.1). A wide and stunning range of Diebenkorn's work is on display at the museum, providing insight into the evolving schools of thought in the 20th century Bay Area art scene.
Her Depression-era photographs captured and humanized the repercussions of one of the most difficult financial crashes in the country's history, paving the way for photojournalism as art. She turned her keen eye on her subjects, and challenged the viewers of her work to face the realities on their doorstep. Lange's work highlights the very real fears plaguing everyday life of workers, mothers, and children with heart-wrenching and precise detail. White Angel Breadline, San Francisco (1933) and San Francisco Waterfront Strike (1934) show the city where this gorgeous museum resides in quite a different time, and in quite different terms.