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San Francisco Museum Of Modern Art

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Art Museums, Arts & Culture, Arts, Culture & Humanities

Mission: Sfmoma is dedicated to making the art of our time a vital and meaningful part of public life. For that reason we assemble unparalleled collections, create exhilarating exhibitions, and develop engaging public programs. In all of these endeavors, we are guided by our enduring commitment to fostering creativity and embracing new ways of seeing the world.

Programs: Exhibitionsa key objective of sfmoma's mission is to present exhibitions that explore works by leading modern and contemporary artists and the most significant artistic directions of our time, in the context of an active dialogue with local, national and international art communities. The museum seeks a balanced exhibition program that includes monographic and thematic exhibitions of broad appeal as well as those that reflect sfmoma's distinctive curatorial voice in contemporary painting and sculpture, photography, media arts, and architecture and design. The exhibitions program includes twenty to twenty-five presentations annually, of which 75 percent are organized by sfmoma and 25 percent are traveling exhibitions organized by other institutions. During fiscal year 2014, sfmoma temporarily closed its doors for the building expansion construction. In the interim, sfmoma has been actively running its on the go exhibition program, which has included new offsite artist commissions, collection tours, and partnership exhibitions with other bay area institutions including the contemporary jewish museum, asian art museum, fine arts museums of san francisco, yerba buena center for the arts, museum of african diaspora, oakland art museum, cantor arts center, the san francisco art institute, the wattis institute for contemporary art, and the city of los altos. Recent exhibitions organized by sfmoma include: beyond belief: 100 years of the spiritual in modern art contemporary jewish museum flesh and metal: body and machine in early 20th century art cantor center for the artspublic intimacy: art and social life in south africa; matisse from sfmoma; mark di suvero at crissy field; 2012 seca art award; project los altos; photography in mexico from the collection of sfmoma. Sfmoma's exhibitions tour widely and have been presented nationally and internationally at such venues as the albertina museum, vienna; art institute of chicago; the center for creative photography; corcoran gallery of art; dallas museum of art; fundacion bbk, bilbao; galerie rudofinum; galleria civica di modena; the jeu de paume: los angeles county museum of art; the metropolitan museum of art; modern art museum of fort worth; museum of contemporary art, chicago; museum of contemporary art, sydney; museum folkwang; museum of modern art, new york; museum wiesbaden; norton museum of art; philadelphia museum of art; tate modern; vitra design museum, rhein; walker art center; wexner center for the arts; and whitney museum of american art.

collections and purchase of artone of the most important functions of a museum is to develop an outstanding collection of works of art, thereby creating and offering an artistic legacy to the community, nation, and the world. Since 1935, sfmoma has been a pioneer among modern and contemporary art museums in collecting and programming in the fields of photography, architecture and design, and new media, even as it has assembled premier holdings in the more traditional media of painting and sculpture. Sfmoma's collection begins in the twentieth century (with the exception of photography, where the full history of that medium, from its inception in 1839 to the present, is within the scope of museum activity). The museum has more than 30,000 objects. The collection is regional, national, and international in scope and reflects distinct collecting strategies within each of the four curatorial departments and the special collections of the research library. Department of painting and sculpturethe collection of painting and sculpture forms the backbone of sfmoma's permanent collection and represents the full legacy of the museum's activities. Although the department of painting and sculpture was formally established in the mid-1980s, sfmoma has been actively engaged in the acquisition, research, presentation, and interpretation of a diverse range of modern and contemporary works since the museum's founding in 1935. The collection is distinguished by its concentrations in fauvism, german expressionism, surrealism, latin american art, abstract expressionism, pop art, postminimalism, german painting, art from the san francisco bay area, and major large-scale installations from artists working in the 1990s. While these masterworks form the foundation of the collection, the museum is actively building a preeminent collection of contemporary art. The department focuses its current collecting practices toward acquiring the masterworks of tomorrow, following mid-career and emerging artists who are working at the highest levels of artistic maturity. Department of photographysfmoma was among the first american art museums to recognize photography as an art form. The museum has been dedicated to the acquisition, research, presentation, and interpretation of photographs for more than seventy-five years, making sfmoma's holdings one of the oldest collections of photography among art museums nationwide. The photography collection is also the museum's largest collection. The museum's collection is particularly well-regarded for its photography of california and the west, the european avant-garde, and american modernism. Other areas of strength include japanese photography, vernacular photography, landscape photography, and a growing nineteenth-century collection. Department of architecture and designthroughout its history sfmoma has been an active forum for examining formal and conceptual issues in the fields of design. The museum presented an impressive number of architecture and design exhibitions before an official curatorial department was founded in 1983. Five years later, the museum began collecting significant works of design; to date, there are over 5,000 design works in the museum's permanent collection. Featuring both modern and contemporary works, the collection focuses on the areas of architecture, landscape architecture, furniture design, product design, and graphic design. Sfmoma is now recognized as one of the foremost museums invested in modern and contemporary architecture and design; the collection is international in scope while reflecting the distinctive character of california. Over the past two decades, the collection's main strengths are identified as experimental contemporary architecture, bay area design, and iconic furniture. Department of media artsthe sfmoma department of media arts, established in 1988, was among the first of its kind in the united states. Media arts organizes exhibitions and participates in related educational events and publications. The media arts collection encompasses the diversity of time-based media works and installations, including video, film, slide, sound, computer-based, online projects and performances. Reflecting the history of technological and conceptual developments in art since the 1960s, the media arts collection and exhibition program features local, national, and international artists. Bay area artists are one ongoing focus of the collection and provide a context for understanding the region as a historic center for experimental media. Along with tate, the museum of modern art, new york, and the new art trust, sfmoma is an active member of matters in media art, an international consortium dedicated to establishing best-practice guidelines for the care, installation, and preservation of time-based media works. Special collections in the sfmoma research librarythe sfmoma research library has acquired special collections materials since the museum was founded. The library's special collections holdings are particularly rich in artists' books and artists' serials, which have been collected for their research and aesthetic value, commentary on the phenomenon of artists' engagement with the book or serials, experimentation with the book's physical format, and relation to the museum's permanent collection. Collecting focuses on artists represented in sfmoma's permanent collection who create books and serials as part of their oeuvres as well as non-permanent collection artists who engage creatively with the structure, content, and physical materials used to make their book work. While these art books and objects held within the sfmoma research library are not accessioned works of art, they represent a significant contribution to the museum's collection.

education and public programs education department-the education department creates accessible learning activities for various audiences of all ages. During the museum's off-site period, sfmoma will continue to expand its role as cultural producer and catalyst for creativity through new programs under the direction of dominic willsdon, leanne and george roberts curator of education and public programs at sfmoma. Families-sfmoma is committed to providing accessibility to art for families of all ages. During the offsite period sfmoma families hosted hands-on, artist-based activates for family days in conjunctions with live projects. Families also participated in community-based events such as sunday streets. Students and teachers-sfmoma's school tours encourage students to think creatively while stimulating an interest in modern and contemporary art. In anticipation of serving a greater high school audience in the expanded building, the education department will prototype new partnerships with local san francisco public high schools, working intensively with cross-disciplinary teams of teachers at selected high schools to engage students in the visual art of our time. Additionally, sfmoma will continue its teacher training programs that allow bay area educators to visit and explore sfmoma's off-site exhibitions and installations and develop visual art curriculum in collaboration with museum staff. Sfmoma docents will also lead discussions on modern and contemporary art at off-site program locations as well as classrooms, libraries, and other community centers. The museum's online curriculum artthink and artist-made assignments open studio, support integrated arts learning in schools. Public programs- as part of the museum's on the go programming, the education and public programs team has presented live projects that provided intensive immersions in the art and ideas of contemporary artists. Through talks, screenings, performances, new artist commissions, workshops, education activities, family programs, and more, the series explored how the work of selected artists opens new and alternative perspectives on who we are and where and how we live. Public practice-in fy14 education at sfmoma created the public practice discipline designed to explore the meaning and impact of modern and contemporary art in public life. This new area will include discursive programs, informal and continuing education, commissioned projects from artists working in social, discursive or educational modes, and projects addressing issues in civic life.

4. Collectors forumcollectors forum is dedicated to encouraging the collection of art and enhancing its members' knowledge of it. Collectors forum supports exhibitions and museum accessions. To encourage membership, sfmoma offers several educational programs each year and one or two trips to cities of interest. 5. Foto forumfoto forum brings together a diverse group of people who share an enthusiasm for photography. Members include collectors, practicing photographers, scholars, arts professionals, and others who enjoy looking at photographs and want to learn more about them. From september through june, foto forum presents programs on all types of photography, conducted in an informal, friendly atmosphere. The majority of annual dues collected from foto forum members go toward the purchase of photographs for the museum's permanent collection. 6. Seca (society for the encouragement of contemporary art)founded in 1961, seca brings together art enthusiasts, collectors, curators, and arts professionals through a variety of events that strengthen members' knowledge of contemporary art. The group works closely with sfmoma curators to identify the best new art in the bay area and to present the highly respected biennial seca art award and its associated exhibition and catalogue at sfmoma. Throughout the year seca organizes special events and exclusive visits to art galleries, private collections, and artist studios for its members as part of its ongoing support of contemporary art in our region. 7. Architecture + design forum (a+d forum)the architecture + design forum extends and complements the activities of the department of architecture and design at sfmoma. It serves as a lively forum for viewing and interpreting significant design practices. The a+d forum is a diverse group of individuals who share a common enthusiasm for design and a collective commitment to supporting sfmoma's design-related programs. A+d forum members are invited to a wide range of events, including exhibition previews, local and regional excursions, parties, studio visits, and building tours. 8. Artists gallery the artists gallery, located in fort mason center, has been committed to promoting contemporary art in the bay area for thirty years. In partnership with over 700 new and established artists in the community, the gallery maintains an extensive selection of artworks for rent and for sale. Seasoned collectors, corporate clients, and art-world newcomers have the opportunity to enjoy original works of art in their homes and offices while supporting local artists. The gallery also helps sustain a vibrant local art scene with a dynamic exhibition program featuring new works by the artists we represent. The majority of the artists gallery proceeds from rentals and sales go directly back to the artists in the community. The remainder supports exhibitions and educational programming at sfmoma.

Community Stories

3 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters


General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

This museum provides a great outlet for artistic expression and great place to bring your children. There are lots of great exhibits and I thoroughly enjoy myself every time I come.


Client Served

Rating: 4

The SFMOMA has a great permanent collection as well as exciting exhibits that they introduce frequently. The museum also has a great kids area to make art fun and interesting for children too. The price isn't bad for students but general admission can be pretty expensive depending on the exhibition.

Review from CharityNavigator

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This is one of the absolute best art museums in the country. Their scholarship has produced some excellent exhibitions which have toured and been exhibited at other museums for decades. Additionally, their online content is superb. Check out this feature on Philip Guston: http://www.sfmoma.org/multimedia/interactive_features/2 They also have one of the funniest twitter feeds online: @SFMOMA