SFMOMA / PHOTOGRAPHY BY LO MIN MING

Till Next Time, SFMOMA


June 2nd was the last day to visit SFMOMA before it drew its curtains and turned dark for 2.5 years. It was a packed Sunday —families with kids, tourists with cameras, hipsters with skinny jeans, and me — just someone traveling from Palo Alto to catch the last glimpse of SFMOMA.

A crowded SFMOMA

It was quite peculiar that San Francisco, known for its hipster and expressive culture, did not already have a much bigger contemporary art museum. I always felt that SFMOMA was shrouded in the city. Flanked beside two tall hotels - The St. Regis and W Hotel, it is difficult to spot it from afar unless you are facing directly in front of it. Unlike the Tate Modern in London or Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, SFMOMA lacked an iconic design to be immediately recognizable. In fact, one could have easily walked along 3rd street and past the museum without realizing it. For a place that was supposed to hold modern art pieces, SFMOMA was a really dull building. I am glad that the renovation will sprinkle some flare to it.

Andy Warhol, Self-Portrait, 1967

The new Fisher collection will add the much needed expansion to SFMOMA’s collection. Yesterday, I only managed to see two less known pieces of Dali, and a couple of works from Matisse and Warhol. Besides the abstract pieces from Clyfford Still, there were no memorable art. Pollock abstract paintings and Man Ray photos were sadly missing from the collection.

Clyfford Still abstract paintings
“You don’t know how much you treasure something until you lose it (or are about to).” 

I think San Franciscans really felt it in the last week. Being the only modern art museum in the Bay Area, one would need to go to MOCA in LA to view the nearest Dali or Matisse. I was glad that SFMOMA will have a better home in 2.5 years, a relatively short time compared to the 10 years renovation for Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. Till next time. Looking forward to see you in 2016, SFMOMA.