“Sound can be like a virtual ghost, moving around a space, inhabiting it, so you can almost see it.”—Janet Cardiff

Just installed at Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture: The Forty Part Motet, Janet Cardiff’s moving masterpiece and the grand finale to our SFMOMA On the Go programming! Find out more about this sublime must-see/hear experience, opening this Saturday, November 14 →

When Janet Cardiff’s “Forty-Part Motet” went on view at MoMA PS1 in the weeks following the September 11 attacks in 2001, its joining of collective song and individual voice summoned for many visitors 9/11’s distinctive combination of national tragedy and personal loss. Today, we remember.

*If you missed the Forty-Part Motet at MoMA PS1, or if you can’t get enough (like us), it’s currently on view at The Cloisters.

This stunning photo taken at Fort Mason Center came in from Instagrammer, @luckyjuju, whose response to The Forty Part Motet is actually pretty popular: 

“I went to see/hear Janet Cardiff’s sound installation at Fort Mason today and my instant reaction was a very very strong desire to weep. Wish I could’ve had the room to myself so I could just let go, but alas, public art. This was waiting outside. Unfiltered." 

Join us on the go — tissues are optional. 

ON THE GO NEWS: We’re excited to announce our next and final SFMOMA On the Go collaboration: Janet Cardiff’s remarkable sound masterpiece, The Forty Part Motet, with Fort Mason Center this fall! 

Previously shown at The Cloisters and MoMA PS1 in New York, this exhibition marks the California debut of Cardiff’s installation and the conclusion to our off-site programming. (We move back into our building in spring 2016!)



[Pictured: Janet Cardiff’s The Forty Part Motet installed at MoMA PS1, 2001; photo: courtesy Janet Cardiff and MoMA PS1]

SFMOMA’s On the Go programming is ending on a high note with Janet Cardiff’s The Forty Part Motet.

We’re so excited about our upcoming and FINAL ‪On the Go collaboration with the Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture to present Janet Cardiff’s mesmerizing sound installation, The Forty Part Motet, opening 11/14!

Considered Cardiff’s masterwork, The Forty Part Motet is a forty-part choral performance of English composer Thomas Tallis’s sixteenth-century composition Spem in Alium, sung by the Salisbury Cathedral Choir. Individually recorded parts are projected through forty speakers arranged inward in an oval formation, allowing visitors to walk throughout the installation, listening to individual voices along with the whole.

We’ve added a two-minute sample of the recording here, so pop on those headphones and open your ears! 

[Pictured: Janet Cardiff’s The Forty Part Motet installed at MoMA PS1, 2001; photo: courtesy Janet Cardiff and MoMA PS1]

I want the audience to be able to experience a piece of music from the viewpoint of the singers.

Janet Cardiff

Opening 11/14, The Forty Part Motet, is the last SFMOMA On the Go exhibition before we open in May 2016! With views of the wintry San Francisco Bay at Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture, experiencing this 400-year-old piece will be powerful!

Free tickets are available, but we recommend you reserve them in advance here →