SFMOMA- An Escape

by Ashwarya Singh


Located in the heart of downtown San Francisco, the Museum of Modern Art is an exquisite escape to the art world. Designed by architects Snohetta and Mario Botta, SFMOMA was founded 1935 under director Grace McCann Morley. Opening as just a single floor, SFMOMA has developed incredibly over the years, with new work from different artists being added every year. In 2000, the Museum of Modern Art and P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center merged together to create the largest platform for contemporary art in America. Neal Benezra is the current director and has brought many significant changes to the museum since 2002. SFMOMA is a place for artists, or aspiring artists, or even someone who doesn’t know much about art but appreciates it. The museum holds works by Henri Matisse, Jean Metzinger, Clyfford Still, among many others.  With a myriad of different galleries and exhibits, SFMOMA brings together diverse, social, and expressive forms of art.

SFMOMA is a museum that one can cover in a day. Downloading the SFMOMA mobile app can make your journey more efficient around the museum, or you can go old-fashioned and grab a physical map. Start with the ground floor and the elevator will navigate you floor by floor so that you do not miss out on any art pieces. At the ground floor, you can grab a souvenir from the Museum Shop so that you have a concrete memory of your visit to the SFMOMA. In the Museum Shop, you get to witness Richard Serra’s walk-in sculpture Sequence with Howard Street in the backdrop.

The second floor of the SFMOMA is home to all the classic permanent collections by renowned artists. Classic hits like Matisse’s Femme au Chapeau and Mark Rothko’s luminous No. 14, 1960 among others. A personal favorite is Frida Kahlo’s self portrait with her husband Diego Rivera and then there are also significant works by Robert Rauschenberg.

The third floor is dedicated to photography. You can gaze out at the beautiful outdoor terrace which holds a huge vertical garden. This might be a great place to take some pictures and capture some exclusive moments of your trip to the SFMOMA.

At the fourth floor, you will find works from Ellsworth Kelly and Agnes Martin. Ellsworth Kelly is known for his hard-edge painting and you can span all the stages of his career. Finishing with seven unique octagonal-shaped paintings by Agnes Martin, your eyes will be left mesmerized.

As you approach the fifth floor, get ready to see the pop and art exhibition of your life with works from Chuck Close, Roy Lichtenstein, and Sol LeWitt. There is also a restaurant, Cafe 5, so grab a bite before you finish up your tour of the SFMOMA!

On the sixth floor, you can find some German collections that are made with such elegance and grace that your jaw will drop. With works from Anselm Kiefer, Gerhard Richter, Georg Baselitz, and Sigmar Polke, you cannot miss out on these renowned foreign artists.   

The seventh floor, the final destination of your art escape will have you feeling overwhelmed of all the beautiful art you have seen. But, this floor is another personal favorite. As you go around this floor, you will see some of the edgier and contemporary art pieces.

A trip to the SFMOMA is the best escape to the art world you can get. In just a day you get to see paintings ranging from soft to “edgy”, but they will all leave you as impressed as ever.