SFMOMA’s new Snøhetta-designed stair (view from Third Street entrance), shown here with previous atrium art installation by Sol LeWitt (inaugural art installation for 2016 reopening to be announced); rendering by Steelblue
One of the first museums to recognize photography as a legitimate art form, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) has been collecting and exhibiting photographs since 1935. The more than 15,500-square-foot center will nearly triple the current amount of space for photography and extend the museum’s deep history of groundbreaking engagement with and commitment to the medium. The museum’s expansion campaign will enable the creation of a new curatorial position dedicated specifically to contemporary photography; expanded exhibition development; and increased conservation and education efforts geared towards photography.
Stephen Shore’s “Fifth Street and Broadway, Eureka, California, September 2, 1974” is one of hundreds of photographs recently acquired by SFMOMA, whose expanded building will include the new John and Lisa Pritzker Center for Photography. Copyright Stephen Shore.
This involves the addition of a Snøhetta-designed grand stair-case which will greet visitors in the museum’s existing Haas Atrium and invite them into the heart of its new 235,000-square-foot building expansion. The John and Lisa Pritzker center for Photography within the new building space, will be the largest exhibition space for photography and among the most advanced photographic arts center of any art museum in the United States. The combined investment in its physical space and its endowed resources will build on the museum’s historical role in fostering appreciation of photography and support its work in illuminating the medium as it evolves into the 21st century.
The Pritzker Center will fill the majority of the third floor when the museum re-opens in 2016 following its expansion. The museum’s photography collection will live on-site, divided between two state-of-the art storage vaults. One vault will be adjacent to the center’s print study room, allowing researchers and students to have greater access to the collection, and the other will be a new cold storage vault for color photography on the museum’s lower level.
“Crowd on Market Street, San Francisco, 1948” by Pirkle Jones is one of hundreds of photographs being given to SFMOMA for its expanded building, which will include the new John and Lisa Pritzker Center for Photography. Copyright The Pirkle Jones Foundation.
The collection traces the development of the medium from its invention in 1839 to present-day digital technology. Among the distinguishing features of the collection are the finest holdings of Japanese photography outside Japan; a strong body of Surrealist and avant-garde European work, from Man Ray to László Moholy-Nagy; extensive holdings of 1970s experimental photography; and a concentration of work that explores the nature of the documentary tradition, from the 19th century to the present.
Moreover, a large group of work from David Mahoney and Winn Ellis, enhance already deep holdings of pictures of Western culture and landscape that span three centuries, from Carleton Watkins to Anthony Hernandez. These include key works by Edward Weston, Minor White, and Imogen Cunningham, as well as important artists who worked in the West in the 1960s and 1970s, such as Jay DeFeo, Robert Heinecken, Lewis Baltz, and John Divola. It will also include photographs by other key artists already held in SFMOMA’s collection, such as Ansel Adams, Ken Graves, John Harding, Hal Fischer, Michael Jang, Pirkle Jones, Dorothea Lange, Mark Ruwedel, Stephen Shore, and Larry Sultan; and portfolios of photographic work by Andy Warhol and Robert Rauschenberg.