SFMOMA Opening Makes a Splash with ArtBash

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Jennifer Raiser
SFWire, May 1 2016

SFMOMA Opening Makes a Splash with ArtBash
SFMOMA threw open and blew open the doors of its dramatic new building with a week-long series of celebrations, culminating in the 3,000 person Art Bash for artists, colleagues, and patrons. Three was the magic number: The $300+ million addition presented a test of endurance for modern art supporters, who waited for over three years for the Museum to reconstruct itself at three times its gallery space to house the 3,000 new and promised works acquired. The impetus for the tripling was the Doris and Donald Fisher Collection, a game-changing trove of contemporary art now gloriously installed in its own series of galleries. Norwegian architects Snohetta imagined a sinuous iceberg of a building, a floating world on Third and Howard streets that is teeming with art and life, inviting engagement through acres of voluminous galleries, a white box performance space, two outdoor verandas, and a coffee recharging station that repeatedly strives for the artistic expression of our time, the perfect design on a latte. (Can you draw a Mondrian on my foam?) The Art Bash turned the whole shebang into a party venue that needed very little decoration; the vibrancy of the collection, combined with the unbridled enthusiasm of the patrons, meant there was no bashing, and some predictable crashing, as one would expect of a Stanlee Gattee party. Guests drifted between McCall’s food and drink stations thematically scattered throughout, excepting the actual galleries: who wants to accidentally drip on a Dali (that would be surreal) or disturb a DeKooning? (Which would be bad modern Mannerist.) Suitably edgy entertainment was scattered throughout time and space; Lines Ballet performed “Faith on the Roman Steps” in front of Sol LeWitt murals, the Haas Atrium was filled with music of the TUnE-yArDs, Shamir, and JD Samson, while Schwab Hall resonated with Kamau Amu Patton and Grouper, and Peggy Honeywell, Sun Foot, and Deerhoof rocked out upstairs in the Pavilion of the Douglas Family Sculpture Garden. The most coveted crush was in the Peterson White Box, which hosted two performances of Rashaad Newsome’s FIVE, a multisensory presentation that conflated dance, opera, percussion, video projection, and hip-hop into a happening that captured the spirit of the evening: fascinating, challenging, intelligent, and open to vast interpretation. Those seeking a liquid buzz could visit the living wall overlooking Tom Marioni’s evanescent installaction, “The Act of Drinking Beer with Friends is the Highest Form of Art,” which invited impromptu participation over a chilled Pacifico cerveza, or the patient perfection of the Sightglass Coffee bar which will thankfully be a permanent installation adjacent to the Pritzker Photography Center. As guests exited the building, they were given a tote bag that said, simply, “I Like You.” SFMOMA, we’ll say it thrice: we really, really, really like you, too.

And who was here, there, and everywhere amidst the 7.2 miles of galleries? More than could ever be seen on this scene. The evening’s chairwoman, Norah Stone wore a custom sequin construction vest and bedazzled hardhat, pairing her usual sense of whimsy and style. Doris Fisher conveyed her usual modesty, welcoming friends and many admirers, along with Museum Director Neal Benezra. his wife Marina Mikela and daughter Ava, Board Chair Charles Schwab and Helen Schwab, Board President Bob Fisher and Randi Fisher, Bill and Sako Fisher, and Lead Architect Craig Dykers/

Artists represented in person and in the collections included a staggering swath of contemporary talent: Chuck Close, Brice Marden, Agnes Gund, James Turrell, Tom Marioni, Charles Ray, Miranda July, Onishi, Paul Madonna, Squeak Carnwath, Takashi Murakami, Bill Viola, Tacita Dean, Robert Bechtel, a veritable who’s who of creative luminaries. They mingled with appreciative patrons Mimi Haas, Becca Prowda and Daniel Lurie, Jeffrey Fraenkel, Frish Brandt, Chris and Nina Buchbinder, Jennifer and Doug Biederbeck, Jill Sterett, Robin Wright, Cissie Swig, Nion McEvoy and Leslie Berriman, Abby Turin and Jonathan Gans, Gina and Stuart Petersen, Janet Barnes and Tom Weisel, Chara Schreyer and Gordon Freund, Helen Hilton Raiser, Lorrie and Dick Green, Nancy and Joachim Bechtle, Diana Nelson and John Atwater, Katie and Matt Paige, Komal Shah, Jan and Maria Minetti Shrem, Lisa and John Pritzker, Tony and Celeste Meyer, Ariane and Marc Trimuschat, Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn, David Mahoney, Candace Cavanaugh, a flight of Fishers, including Lexie and Mark George, Emma Fisher, Rose Fisher, John Fisher, and Laura Fisher, Lydia Shorenstein, Susan Swig, Scott and Lily Michum Pearsall, Shirin Neshat, Allison Arieff, Helena and Ted Nordstrom, Jim and Dana Tananbaum, Angela Chao and Jim Breyer, Pam Kramlich, and Dolly and George Chammas. Fellow Museum and art world leaders who came to congratulate included Nicholas Serota, Colin Bailey, beloved Madeleine Grynstejn, Joe Rosa, Glenn Lowry, Alonzo King, Glenn McCoy, Lisa Podos, John Berggruen, Thaddeus Ropac, Vivian Forevermore, Gary Hutton, and Glen Fukushima. Scribes Charles Desmerais, Jon Steinberg, Alexis Collentine, Sonya Molodetskaya, Jeanne Lawrence, Tony Bravo, Carolyne Zinko, Leah Garchik, and Alisa Carroll were taking copious notes, gathering quotations from the likes of smarties Gary Garrells, the adored Sandra Phillips, Joni Binder Schwarts, Darius Himes, Corey Keller, Jessica Silverman, Matthew Marks, Larissa Archer, Janet Bishop and many other writers, doers and thinkers. It was a night of superlatives, surprises, successes and sweetness, as the world came to see, share, sip, and celebrate SFMOMA.

Author: Reid Hudson

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