San Francisco MOMA

Hello! In today’s post, I am going to be writing about the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. During my trip to San Francisco, my family and I visited the city’s famous MOMA. The museum recently underwent a huge renovation, and it was closed for three years, just re-opening under a year ago. The San Francisco MOMA is now the largest Modern art museum in the States, and it is one of the most famous museums in the city. I hadn’t planned to do an entire post on the museum, but I was so pleasantly surprised by it that I thought it deserved an entire article. 

As I mentioned, the MOMA just a little while back went through an enormous renovation. It is now three times larger than before! The outside architecture of the building is much more appealing as well (sadly I didn’t get a good photo of the actual building).

Floor 1:

Here is the entryway and first floor of the museum. There’s not much to see on the first floor, other than the Museum Store

The museum’s hours run from 10am to 5pm Friday to Tuesday, until 9pm on Thursdays, and it is closed Wednesdays. 

P.S. Keep this bridge in mind… it will make another appearance later in this post!

Floor 2:

Tickets to the museum are free for anyone under 18, $19 USD for young adults, $25 USD for adults, and $22 USD for seniors. They are free for members, so if you live in the area you may consider purchasing a membership! 

Click here to purchase tickets, and here to purchase a membership. You can also purchase tickets at the ticket booth on Floor 2 of the museum. 

Something I found really impressive about the updated museum is that they have an app! The app allows visitors to experience the museum in a whole new way, with audio-content that guides you through the museum’s art. Sadly, the app is only available on iPhones, but the museum does have audio devices available for rent if you don’t have an iPhone. Another thing to know is to bring headphones (!!) because the free ones handed out at the museum aren’t the greatest, although that is quite understandable as they are free. 

Floor 3:

As soon as we climbed up the stairs to the third floor, we were greeted with this sculpture garden! It is complete with a “living wall”, which features native California plants totaling to over 19,000 plants on the entire wall. The sculpture shown above is by Alexander Calder, and it is called “Big Crinkly”.

Once we were done exploring the sculptures outside, we found ourselves in the “Alexander Calder Motion Lab”. This exhibit features some of Calder’s famous mobiles, a type of sculpture that introduces movement into regular sculptures. The sculpture shown above is called the “Tower with Painting”, made in 1951.

One of the most interesting exhibits for me was called “Japanese Photography from Postwar to Now”. It highlights Japanese photography, specifically from Post World War II to the present. Obviously, this was really interesting to me as I love photography, though I’m sure that anyone else would also like this exhibit. Unfortunately this exhibit closed on March 12th and it is no longer in the MOMA.

After about an hour in the museum, we decided it was time for a snack. Conveniently enough, the museum café was right next to us! Here’s what we got. I had a vegan chocolate cake and it was really good.

Another exhibit we visited on the third floor was called “Diane Arbus: In The Beginning”. It displayed photos from the first seven years of New York photographer Diane Arbus’ career, ranging from 1956 to 1962. Unfortunately no photos were allowed in that exhibit, so I don’t have anything to show from it.

Floor 4:

The first thing I noticed when I climbed up the stairs to the fourth level was this statue. I found it really fascinating because depending on the angle that you looked at it from, it looked the figure was running towards something or running away from it. 

The main exhibit on the fourth floor is titled “Approaching American Abstaction”, and it is full of many abstract art pieces from American artists (as you could inference from the title). Shown above is “Spectrum I” by Ellsworth Kelly in 1953.

By far, my favourite thing I saw in the entire museum would have to be this display. The display features photographs of world capitals made with a ton of smaller photos of the city collaged together. Above is a photo of Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. Unfortunately, I don’t know what the exhibit was called or who the artist that made this is named. Also, well I was there I was told that the artwork was going to be shipped to London the next day! At least I was lucky enough to see them while they were there.

Floor 5:

My favourite floor of the MOMA would have to be the fifth floor. It had so much in it, and most of the artwork I liked best were on this floor! One of two of the main exhibits from this floor was called “Pop, Minimal, and Figurative Art”. The piece shown above is by Chuck Close and it is called “James”. You can’t tell too much from this particular photo of it, but if you look closer you can see that the piece is made up of a bunch of different mosaics. 

One of the more well-known pieces in the MOMA is this neon sign, entitled “Life Death/Knows Doesn’t Know” by Bruce Nauman. It is also part of the same exhibit as the last piece, “Pop, Minimal, and Figurative Art”.

A really interesting “piece” (not so sure what to call it) is “Wall Drawing 273” by Sol LeWitt. Basically, the artist created very specific instructions on how to draw his artwork onto a walkway/wall, and his instructions were used in this area of the MOMA to recreate his work! When this exhibition is done, the artwork will be painted over and replaced with other paintings. But, the artwork isn’t lost forever, as there are a set of instructions on how to recreate it.

Here is another “piece” by LeWitt, called “Wall Drawing 1A: Drawing Series II 18 (A & B)”. It is also achieved by a set of instructions, these telling the artist recreating it exactly where to place the lines, how dark to make them, and more.

Remember that bridge I told you to keep in mind at the beginning on this post? Well here it is… from the fifth floor! This bridge is known as the Oculus Bridges, and it is the same bridge that you can see from the first floor entryway of the museum. 

Another cool thing on the MOMA’s fifth floor is the sculpture terrace. This area is a nice place to get some fresh air after exploring the museum for a few hours, and it features a few more art pieces as well as a view of the beautifully designed MOMA. Across from the sculpture terrace you will find a restaurant, which is very convenient if you are looking for a place to have a meal.

Floor 6:

One of two of the sixth floor of the MOMA’s main collections is called “German Art after 1960”. As you can guess from its name, this exhibit is full of photos and paintings by German Artists after World War II. My favorite piece in this exhibit is a photograph titled “Musée du Louvre Paris VII” by Candida Höfer, and it is of an empty hallway of the Louvre.

The second main exhibit on the sixth floor is “Stillness in Motion – Cloud Cities”, and it is a work of art by Tomás Saraceno. 

Floor 7:

Lastly, the seventh and final floor of the MOMA. A really neat art piece I found here was this – sadly I can’t find the name of this piece or the artist who created it, but I still really wanted to include it. As you can tell, even through a screen, the painting seems to have a crumpled effect, but it’s really just flat. I would advise you not to look at the piece for too long or you might get a headache!

That’s it for my tour of the MOMA! I hope you enjoyed. What is your favourite piece featured in this post? Let me know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading. 

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  1. JW
    March 26, 2017

    My favorite piece was the first Wall Drawing and the statue of the man. The whole post was really interesting to read. Thanks for writing it.

    1. Hannah Travels
      March 26, 2017

      The Wall Drawing is one of my top favourites as well!

      No problem, thank you so much for reading and commenting 🙂

  2. IC
    March 26, 2017

    I’ve been waiting to see the renovated SF MoMa for a couple of years now! You’re so lucky to go!

    1. Hannah Travels
      March 26, 2017

      Whenever you have the chance to visit, definitely go. It’s really impressive!

  3. nana jw
    March 27, 2017

    Loved the post on the modern art museum your writing and photography is amazing I loved the stillness in motion and and the German art Iwould love to visit the art museum one day N J W

    1. Hannah Travels
      March 29, 2017

      Thank you Nana! The German Art museum was one of my favourites as well.

  4. Lorelei
    March 27, 2017

    That’s quite the museum! My favourite piece would have to be the neon sign as it is very bright and colourful. Amazing photos too!

    1. Hannah Travels
      March 29, 2017

      True! I loved the neon sign too. Thanks for commenting.


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