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San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is back

Associated Press Associated Press 23/05/2016

The revamped San Francisco Museum of Modern Art re-opened this month with a marching band, jumbo red balloons and red confetti raining down from the top of the new 10-storey white building with a bulging side.

The celebration comes after a three-year redesign that nearly tripled the building's gallery space and added sculpture gardens, education spaces, a giant living wall and outdoor terraces with sweeping city views.

"The new SFMOMA is a manifestation of our city's deep respect for creativity," said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, who along with San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, museum board chairman Charles Schwab and board president Bob Fisher, spoke during the re-opening ceremony.

Pelosi called the building redesigned by the Norwegian firm Snohetta "a living temple for imagination".

The $US305 million ($A422.00 million) expansion includes almost 15,794sq m of new and renewed indoor and outdoor galleries, museum officials said.

It opened to the public with 19 inaugural exhibitions showcasing painting and sculpture, photography, and architecture and design work by top artists, including Frida Kahlo, Henri Matisse, Andy Warhol, Charles Ray, Diane Arbus and Mark Bradford.

Highlights include 260 pieces of art from the collection of Doris and Donald Fisher, who founded the Gap, more than 600 works promised through the museum's Campaign for Art, and pieces from the New Pritzker Center for Photography Inaugurate Museum, museum officials said.

The renewed museum, the lobby of which welcomes people with a massive spiralling sculpture by Richard Serra, will also offer free access to 18-year-old and younger visitors and will open every day.

Yachiyo Hamilton of Richmond, California, was one of about 5000 people who snatched free tickets last month to visit the museum on opening day. She, her daughter and mother arrived an hour before the museum opened.

"I love art, and my daughter is taking a photography class so I wanted her to see what they have and experience this new space," Hamilton said.

She said she and her mother were also excited about the living wall, which was sustained by rain and recycled water and featured more than 15,000 plants.

"The wall has native California plants, and my mom has a green thumb. It's something we want to see!" she said.

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