2 Modern Art Museums with Stunning Additions

  • San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

    San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

  • London's new Tate Modern

    London's new Tate Modern

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Two of the world’s most important contemporary art museums have major new expansions as brilliant as the works housed within. Here’s how they stack up.


San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

Opening date: May 14. Architect: Snøhetta.

The Look: A new 10-story building that doubles the size of the original museum, with a facade of rippling fiberglass panels embedded with silicate crystals that evokes the shimmering ripples of San Francisco Bay. Cost: US$305 million. Size: 22,000 square meters.

New Highlights: The soaring-ceilinged White Box performance space; the Pritzker Center for Photography, now the largest photography-devoted space at any American art museum; an indoor sculpture gallery and outdoor sculpture terrace; In Situ restaurant, headed by chef Corey Lee from the city’s Michelin-starred Benu. Seminal Works: Sequence, Richard Serra; Femme au chapeau, Mattisse; No. 14, Mark Rothko; four galleries devoted to Ellsworth Kelly. Claim to Fame: SFMOMA now ranks as the largest contemporary art museum in the United States.


Tate Modern

Opening Date: June 17. Architect: Herzog & de Meuron.

The Look: Joining the Tate’s Turbine Hall and Boiler House on the Thames-side site of London’s decommissioned Bankside Power Station, the angular Switch House is clad in brick lattice inspired by the station’s original masonry. Cost: US$375 million.
 Size: 20,700 square meters. New Highlights: The transformation of underground oil tanks into performance spaces; galleries dedicated to showcasing the 1,600-piece contemporary collection gifted to the museum by Anthony D’Offay; a restaurant, shop, and bar; two street-level green spaces and a roof terrace overlooking the London skyline. Seminal Works: The Three Dancers, Pablo Picasso; Babel, Clido Meireles; Embryology, Magdalena Abakanowicz. Claim to Fame: Hailed as Britain’s most important new cultural building of the 21st century.

This article originally appeared in the June/July print issue of DestinAsian magazine (“Double Vision”).

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