Walking through the illuminated streets of Downtown San Francisco, I peer into the night sky noting the glimmers of stars glossed over by the skyscraping lights. Nearing 2nd street, I hear the sound of rushing water and spot the spouting sprays of projected aqua. My date and I walk into the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art– better known as the SFMoMA- passing the call box only to realize the free tickets in hand expired five years ago. Not letting the minor matter offset the upbeat tempo of the evening, we purchase replacements and wander on in, taking a “MUSE” sticker to “place on whatever inspires you,” the young, edgy employee declares with a smile as we pass.
To anyone who harnesses a rather significant amount of creative energy inside them, the ambiance of a museum in itself creates an invigorating excitement. Comparable to reaching the first peak of the long awaited hike after a stressful work-week, or trying on an evening gown that hugs your body just right; it’s finding comfort and satisfaction in a space unique to the everyday hum drum of life. And with that feeling, I scale the steps up the MoMA.
Passing the second vacant floor, my date and I laughed at the irony of an partially empty museum. Aware of the upcoming installations, we smile hopefully and keep moving upward, anticipating the artwork ahead. Stepping into the white walled room of the “EXPOSED: Voyeurism, Surveillance, and the Camera Since 1870,” our chatter comes to a silence. Watching this short segmented film comprised of sexual interactions filmed from afar, our initial impression of the exhibit consists of head tilting pondering versus a simple commentary. Entering the photography portion of the exhibit, I find myself side-stepping slowly in intrigue and analysis. Seeing these women and couples in such vulnerable, sexually entranced moments would normally be deemed obtrusive or objectifying, yet the collective flow of the art evokes a rather liberating breath of fresh air with a natural aura of sexual energy. Still unable to find words to articulate my thoughts, I remain quiet and content as I move to the next room.
Next, an exhibit comprised of somber photography all of which portray similarly tragic moments in world history. From photographs of World War II concentration camps to 1960 race riots, the collection ignited a gut-wrenching sensation from within. The dreary energy and dismal shots couldn’t help but make my jaw drop at certain moments. Finally able to conjure a sentence after much sensory consumption I disclose, “These exhibits carry such a variety of emotions.”
My date nods and we slowly wander down different paths to the next floor where photography lessens and abstract painting and installations beckon our attention with bright colors, powerful swirls and enigmatic painted trees. The pieces are astounding. My once saddened facial expression instantly lifts with the vibrancy of the artwork. The giant canvasses stretch across the wall like the smile spanning my face. No words or faces were needed- their beauty champions on its own without question.
This floor undoubtedly stands as my favorite. The creativity popping through each piece left us both staring in gleaming admiration for the masterpieces in front of us. This feeling of glowing passion signaled the exact inspiration I had hoped to find here- unparalleled artistic creations which compare to visions in dreams and defy societal labels.
As the security guard’s voice echoed across the floor, “the museum will be closing in five minutes!” we both murmur in disappointment, hastening through the remainder of the exhibits to catch our last glimpse of artistic invigoration. Lastly, we explore the “How Wine Became Modern” exhibit, which is nothing short of intriguing, leaving my senses feeling engulfed in the pleasant aroma of Pinot Noir and various worldly wines.The security guard beckons once more and we meander down to the gift shop.
A variety of emotions were felt that night at the SFMOMA. The culmination of images left us both in a calming state- a definite natural high of inspiration, grateful that such beauty can be found so close to home in the creative hub of San Francisco.
Not only did the SFMOMA contribute to a memorable Thursday evening at only $9, but more importantly ignited a spark in my then fizzling artistic fire- a gift to my personal Muse that I am genuinely grateful for. I highly recommend this set of exhibits and plan to revisit the upcoming installations. Anything less would only be neglecting my Muse and the creative flames within.
EXHIBIT: Exposed & How Wine Became Modern
WHEN: Exhibits run until April 17, 2011.
Monday – Tuesday 11:00 A.M. – 5:45 P.M.
Thursday 11:00 A.M. – 8:45 P.M.
Friday – Sunday 11:00 a.m. – 5:45 p.m.
WHERE: Museum of Modern Art
151 Third Street San Francisco, CA 94310
SFMOMA members FREE
Click here to purchase tickets
Kids 12 and under, accompanied by an adultFREE
Thursday evenings: Half-price admission
First Tuesday of each month: FREE