Recognizing that 3 posts about SFMOMA may have been overkill, I would be remiss if I didn’t share some observations on the functional space and the technology in addition to a couple of warnings that may save you from some awkward museum moments.
Everything about the new building orchestrates visitors to the Fisher collection, which I felt was unnecessary since so much of the collection was distributed throughout the museum. Nevertheless, the Red elevator bank is prominently situated next to the ticket area and leads specifically to Fisher collections on Floors 5 & 6. This wouldn’t have been much of an issue except for the fact that I nearly missed visiting the 7th Floor Campaign For Art collection because it can only be reached by a separate Silver elevator bank or a fairly obscured stair case.
Despite numerous technological innovations launched by SFMOMA, the self directed guide hardware was a non-starter for me. The device is too clunky for a mobile dependent city like San Francisco. As a whole, museums need to find a way to integrate mobile applications far better than they are now.
I was really disappointed in how the Botta lobby was treated like a neglected afterthought. While the new open staircase provides better views of the Oculus and second floor lobby, it appears disjointed and doesn’t harmonize with the existing space. With the exception of the Museum Store, the abandoned coat check area and former Schwab Room (undergoing renovations for a new restaurant), looks like sad cast aways that have seen much better days. This was particularly sad to me for sentimental reasons. I hope they find a better way to activate this space for public use. At a minimum they could bring back the original Lewitt wall drawings that flanked the original entrance 10+ years ago.
When art has a warning sign on it, TRUST IT. The strobe lights in Takeshi Murata’s “Melter 3-D” made me dizzy, but that’s probably because I tried to film it. I also tapped into some latent vertigo I never knew I had walking across the Oculus bridge, but that didn’t stop me from crossing it multiple times, because it is beautiful. I loved seeing pictures of it glowing in purple gels for the preview gala last Friday night.
Someone will accidentally kick rocks out of alignment in the Autumn Circle installation on the 5th floor. I saw someone do it and so help me it was awkward for all involved–of course I laughed which made it worse. I can hardly blame them though, there’s enough art here to make anyone disoriented. Luckily there are plenty of “palate cleansers” and spaces to give visitors a seat, some fresh air and opportunities direct their gaze to city views from the large windows that circle the museum.
So now that SFMOMA has officially put San Francisco’s art scene on the map be sure to experience so many of the area’s culturally rich institutions nearby. The area remains my favorite block in the entire city.