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A More Open Approach for the @sfmoma Expansion, Designed by @snohetta

To see more photos from the new SFMoMA, follow @sfmoma and @snohetta on Instagram.

The expansion of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (@sfmoma) includes a second entrance and soaring atriums — light-filled and welcoming places where visitors can spend time for free and view art even if they’re not planning a full museum visit. “It’s a way for the museum to say that this is a new gallery, a new type of work, with a new mission to bring people inside,” says Jon McNeal, the project architect at Snøhetta (@snohetta), the firm that designed the expansion.

The elements in the museum that Jon expects will be photographed the most include the entryways, the dynamic new façade of the building and — perhaps surprisingly — the restrooms. “We designed them to be a visual reset for your eyes,” says Jon, describing facilities that relate to the artwork on each floor and are bathed in the same bright color from floor to ceiling, whether magenta or fire-engine red or bright green. “It’s a clear punctuation mark for your visit,” he says. “When you go back to the gallery, it’s as if you’re entering it for the first time.”

I’m interested only in expressing basic human emotions — tragedy, ecstasy, doom, and so on — and the fact that lots of people break down and cry when confronted with my pictures shows that I communicate those basic human emotions… The people who weep before my pictures are having the same religious experience I had when I painted them. And if you, as you say, are moved only by their color relationships, then you miss the point!

Mark Rothko on the Transcendent Power of Art and How (Not) To Experience His Paintings, via Brainkpickings

Have you ever had a strong emotional experience when viewing a work by Rothko?

“I want to be counted in South African history. [This means] that I have to write that part of history.”

In her photographs, artist Zanele Muholi faces social injustice head on. Best known for her photographic series Faces and Phases, featuring black members of the LGBTI community, Muholi challenges stereotypes of black female sexual identity through what she calls “visual activism.” 

Join us on 3/12 at SFJAZZ to hear from Muholi in person→

“IT’S GRATE - BUT IS IT ART?” by HERB SLODOUNIK

I first saw this photo on sfmoma’s blog about a year ago, without information about the photographer or when it was taken. Today, after re-spotting it - again without credits - I thought I check the web if I can find any reliable information about this photograph, and voilà, here it is:

It was taken by Herb Slodounik, who worked as staff photographer for The Montana Standard where the photo was published in April 28, 1968. For everyone with a newspapers.com account: you can check it here.

The Montana Standard caption:

“GRATE,” BUT IS IT ART? is an example of candid humor where the photographer does not intrude or control the situation. This picture was taken several years ago by staff photographer Herb Slodounik in the San Francisco Museum of Art Shot with a Rolleiflex 2. (+)

 
A few years earlier the photo was published on the famous ‘Miscellany’ back page of Life Magazine / Issue July 26, 1963 (I guess it was taken around that time).

In 1988 it was republished in the book LIFE SMILES BACK by Philip B. Kunhardt, Jr., together with 231 more 'Miscellany’ photos.

LIFE SMILES BACK caption:

“At the San Francisco Museum of Art, an abstract gets close scrutiny.” (+)

 
Herb Slodounik died in 2008 after suffering from cancer. You can find more information about his life here.