SFMOMA Closing Celebration


Last weekend, SFMOMA (San Francisco Museum of Modern Art) remained open all night Saturday into Sunday, ahead of its three year closure and renovation. Thousands turned out for this event, and plenty has already been written about it. But here are a few words and photos from my own experience.


I finally had the opportunity to see the Lebbeus Woods exhibit. I am glad I did. Woods’ architectural sketches were fantastic and whimsical, but still had a sense of modernism to them with strong lines and geometric shapes. There was a sense that these ideas could be realized as actual structures, even if most of them never were.

I did a quick tour through the permanent collection to see a few favorites one last time, including this piece by Yves Tanguy. There were other familiar works, like the room of pieces by Clyfford Still. But the room with minimalist works (like the chrome wall piece by Donald Judd) were not on display.


Then it was up to the rooftop courtyard for nighttime views, mingling, and some live performances. The first group branded themselves as “eco-sexuals”, with a performance that blended eco activism with a variety of things one might associate with the word “sexual.”


SUE-C and Kevin Slagle presented a series of beautiful hand-made films.


And Rick Prelinger presented some of the home movies collected from his archive, particularly those documenting U.S. cross-country road trips.


Then it was downstairs to the reception room for more performances. First up was jazz singer/chanteuse Veronica Klaus with a very retro set of jazz standards:


Emcee Marga Gomez delivered her interstitial schtick from a desk on the side, in the style of late-night shows.


More performances followed, including some randomized musical readings by Sofía Córdova and a performance descending the landmark SFMOMA staircase by Chris Sollars. Both fun, but challenging to photograph. The next performance by Dia Dear was fairly mindblowing both visually and sonically:


Up next was a trio featuring Dale Hoyt with David Lawrence and Liz Walsh.


They presented a sing-a-long with a somewhat more wistful view of the museum’s closure, lamenting the time away and those who might never have the opportunity to come back. THey closed with a version of Vera Lynn’s “We’ll Meet Again” (made popular as the closing song in the movie Dr. Strangelove).

As it was approaching 3AM, I decided it was time for me to depart. The celebration continued with more performances into the morning and next afternoon and a final processional to mark the closing of the museum. They will be having off-site exhibitions over the next few years at other locations in the Bay Area, and I look forward to seeing them.