SFMOMA Architects: Meet the Public

West
Friday, June 25, 2010
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On Wednesday, SFMOMA held a press preview of its new exhibit, “Calder to Warhol: Introducing the Fisher Collection,” which takes up the top two floors and features whole entire rooms of Calders, Ellsworth Kellys, Chuck Closes, Agnes Martins—a smorgasboard of modern masters, each a few steps from the next. Downstairs in the main lobby, however, there was the opportunity to get to know a different group of artists—the four candidates that are up for the job of designing the SFMOMA’s new extension.

A 12-minute video, displayed on the wall (and, naturally these days, on YouTube), is a terrific way to let the public in on what is going on at the SFMOMA. It opens with SFMOMA director Neal Benezra, who explains how the museum is expanding, and then there’s a few choice quotes from each architect, enough to get a sense of the personalities in the mix.  David Adjaye demonstrates why he was picked to host a TV show; Sir Norman Foster is slick, eloquent and looks a bit like a Rembrandt painting; Craig Dykers of Snohetta is engagingly soft-spoken; and Elizabeth Diller of Diller Scofidio + Renfro has a great line about how galleries are “antithetical to the model of efficiency….it’s not about getting from the tour bus to the gift shop.”

We learned elsewhere that after the architects had their meetings with SFMOMA brass on the top floor of the Gap, they were brought down to the basement, where a film crew was on hand to capture their thoughts. Meanwhile, as part of the museum’s due diligence, Benezra is touring the architects’ buildings—without them on hand—to get a fresh perspective on their work. We’d like videos of that too, please!

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