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Sunday 27 June 2021

A Visit to SFMOMA

During our recent trip back to the Bay Area, Mathilde and I spent an afternoon exploring some amazing art exhibitions at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, better known as SFMOMA. 

We'd visited SFMOMA many times in the past when we lived in the Bay Area, so the museum itself was nothing new to us, however with ever new exhibitions on display there is always something fabulous to see, even if you think you've seen it all before. So while Ava and Lola spent a day catching up with friends in Berkeley Mathilde and I took Bart into the city to check out some art.

While the permanent exhibitions at SFMOMA are always impressive and thought provoking, there are currently a few fabulous exhibitions at SFMOMA that I was keen to check out. The first exhibition I was excited to see was Contemporary Optics. The highlight of this particular exhibition that focuses on color and light is the one way "Eliasson Tunnel" by Olafur Eliasson located on the walkway at the top of the museum. This spectacular tunnel appears to change color depending on the angle you view it from. When you first enter it appears as dark blues and purples with yellows and greens on the outside. When you turn around it becomes a stunning kaleidoscope of pinks, blues and purples. The sunlight from the roof's windows sparkles on the glass panels adding to the installation's magical appearance. As you can imagine, this particular exhibition is rather popular so depending on the day, visitors may need to sign up to a virtual queue and may have a limit of forty five seconds in the tunnel. We visited on a Saturday and it was very busy, so these restrictions were in place. Forty Five seconds goes by quickly, but it was just long enough to capture the magic of this artwork. Not quite long enough for me to make camera adjustments though!

Contemporary Optics also features artworks from SFMOMA's collection by Terestita Fernandez, Anish Kapoor and Studio Other Spaces. 

Contemporary Optics is on display through March 27th 2022.

The second temporary exhibition we checked out was the Nam June Paik exhibition. This exhibition features over 200 works in a variety of mediums from the groundbreaking experimental artist. Nam June Paik (1932 - 2006) had a career than spanned five decades and many countries, including South Korea, Germany, Japan and the United States. His works connected art, performance, technology and music in ways that had never been seen before, and are an influence on artists and performers to this day. Many of the installations in this exhibition are interactive as you'll see below, with cameras including visitors in various exhibits (can you see Mathilde's face on that astronaut tv?) or with buttons that can be pressed to control actions. Like the Contemporary Optics exhibition, the Nam June Paik exhibition is quite popular and a virtual queue may be in place depending on the day of your visit. 

Nam June Paik is on display through October 3rd 2021.

Along with these two temporary exhibitions we also checked out some of the permanent collections, with Mathilde's favorite, as always, being the Sculpture Garden and the Living Wall. I love seeing how much the Living Wall has grown since our last visit. It truly is beautiful slice of nature in the city. 

Inside the museum some of our favorites from the permanent collection included Andy Warhol, Alexander Calder, Roy Lichtenstein and Henri Matisse among others. 

Planning a visit to SFMOMA? Here are some tips for you...

SFMOMA is located at 151 Third Street San Francisco. 

The museum's parking garage is located on Minna Street. SFMOMA is a short walk from both Powell and Montgomery BART stations. 

Entry is currently by timed ticket. You can reserve your tickets online in advance here.

Tickets are $25 for adults, $19 for young adults (ages 19 - 24), $22 for seniors, and children under 18 are admitted free of charge but will still require a ticket. 

Popular exhibits may have virtual queue waitlists on busy days. Your best bet is to visit these exhibits first to add your name to the waitlist. You will receive a text message when it is time to come back to the exhibit. 

All areas of SFMOMA are ADA accessible and strollers are allowed unless otherwise sign posted. 

Eating and drinking in galleries is not allowed, however there are designated eating areas. The museum's cafe, Cafe 5, is currently closed. 

SFMOMA is open Friday through Monday from 11am to 5pm, and Thursdays from 1pm to 8pm. The museum is closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays. 

For more information visit sfmoma.org.

We have visited SFMOMA many times in the past and you can see some of our previous visits here and here.

Looking for more things to do in San Francisco with kids? Make sure to check out my San Francisco city guide here.

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