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Painting and Sculpture Interpretive Gallery

SFMOMA

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

Interior / Interactive Design

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art enlisted Belle & Wissell to collaborate on designing the Painting and Sculpture Interpretive Gallery. 

Positioned as the culminating space visitors experience after exploring the Painting and Sculpture galleries, this gallery is devoted to reflection, curiosity, and understanding. Visitors are encouraged to relax and “unpack” what they’ve just seen in the previous galleries through two key experiences.

The first is a large wall experience that presents stories in three formats. Artists at Work features artists in their studios, illustrating their process. New Views on Modern Art explores connections between objects that might not be readily accessible. Getting Closer to Modern Artworks lets visitors physically manipulate key objects from the collection and sheds light on details that are essential to understanding their intent and creation. 

The second experience is a multi-station table. Here, visitors explore tiles that include images of works they've seen and conceptual ideas like “Where are the Women?” or “Jokes”. As tiles are selected, connections are immediately drawn to other tiles—sometimes directly, sometimes more abstractly. These connections ultimately lead the visitor to a personalized collection of stories exploring these relationships. Stories are presented like magazine articles, affording visitors the ability to dig deeper into content that inspires them. 

Both experiences feature “Eyes-Free Mode,” a unique way of engaging with this content for visitors without, or with limited sight. Through audio and on-screen highlighting systems, we are able to preserve the unique presentation of content, but make it accessible to wider audiences. 

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