Marsha Cottrell, A Black Powder Rains Down Gently On My Sleepless Night (detail), 2012; iron oxide on mulberry paper; Courtesy the artist; © Marsha Cottrell

If you are contemplating a trip to San Francisco in the next year, do it before June 2013. That’s when the entire SFMOMA will close down til early 2016 for construction of a significant expansion. As the second largest contemporary art museum in the United States, SFMOMA will be tripling its endowment and adding 78,000 square feet of additional indoor gallery and public space (SFMOMA currently has 59,500 square feet of galleries and a 15,000 square foot Rooftop Garden added in 2010.) Unlike MOMA’s alternative space at PS 1, SFMOMA hasn’t announced anything specific for that 3 year hiatus.

In addition to the Cindy Sherman show which ends on October 8, SFMOMA had a number of other memorable exhibits. My favorite was Field Conditions. Here is the description of the show:

Can there be architecture without buildings? What if a wall or a floor went on forever? What happens when people move through a room? From immersive installations to intricate drawings, the works in Field Conditions pose provocative questions about the construction, experience, and representation of space. This exhibition assembles an array of projects by both noted architects and contemporary artists — including Stan Allen, Tauba Auerbach, Sol LeWitt, Daniel Libeskind, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Lebbeus Woods, and others — that redefine the relationships between invisible and visible, field and boundary, finite and infinite. Field Conditions invites us to imagine beyond the frame.

Marsha Cottrell‘s stellar drawings (pictured above) were included in the exhibit and unforgettably masterful.

In the permanent galleries I was pleased to see a number of Bruce Connor works on display. (I am a big fan and have written about him in several posts here including Authentic Tomfoolery) and Moving in the Landscape as One of its Details.) I was also delighted to see a rich and dense Petah Coyne sculpture, a wall of Joseph Cornell boxes and some timeless Ray Johnson collages from the 60’s and 70’s that look completely contemporary. (He is so underappreciated.)

In an effort to support the local art scene, one gallery is devoted to San Francisco’s Mission School, part of the “lowbrow” art movement that took its cues from street culture (and highlighted in the excellent documentary, Beautiful Losers: Contemporary Art and Street Art Culture, directed by Aaron Rose and Joshua Leonard.) Several San Francisco Mission School artists have become well known such as Barry McGee and Margaret Kilgallen.


Marsha Cottrell, Hypothetical Place 2, 2002; inkjet print on paper; 35 x 47 in. (88.9 x 119.38 cm); Collection SFMOMA, Accessions Committee Fund purchase; © Marsha Cottrell


Petah Coyne


Bruce Connor


Wall of Joseph Cornell boxes


Ray Johnson

And a bonus shot: Louis Vuitton’s windows facing Union Square sporting an homage to Yayoi Kusama‘s brilliant show at the Tate Modern in London and most recently at the Whitney Museum…


Kusama display at Louis Vuitton

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Read the FAQ about SFMOMA’s expansion here.

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