SFMOMA Rose to International Prominence Under Leadership of Henry T. Hopkins

SFMOMA Rose to International Prominence Under Leadership of Henry T. Hopkins

Former San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) director Henry T. Hopkins passed away on September 27, 2009.

During his twelve-year tenure (1974-86), Hopkins sought to establish SFMOMA as the West Coast's premier museum of twentieth-century art through a deliberate plan of accelerated activity, determining new directions for both the exhibition program and the permanent collection and launching the museum on a course of renewed excitement and expansion.

"Hopkins's leadership at SFMOMA was distinguished by outstanding intellect and creative vision," said Neal Benezra, SFMOMA director.

"In addition to organizing important exhibitions - including Ed Ruscha's first museum show-he transformed the collection through acquisitions of major work by Philip Guston and Clyfford Still, and led the museum to the forefront of the international art community."

Among Hopkins's first accomplishments was to rename the institution as the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in January 1976, adding the word "modern" to more accurately reflect the identity and mission already established during its earliest years.

He also created more gallery space for the museum in its War Memorial Veterans Building, which SFMOMA was quickly outgrowing.

In addition, the scope of the exhibition program was expanded to emphasize not only painting, sculpture, photography, and architecture and design, but also experimental forms related to performance and Conceptualism.


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