“I paint objects as I think them, not as I see them.”
With this as his mantra, Pablo Picasso created the Cubism style and became one of the fathers of what is now known as modern art. The movement gave rise to the careers of Henri Matisse, Georgia O’Keeffe, Jackson Pollock, Edvard Munch and more. In early years, art museums were hesitant to showcase the works of these artists, many of whom would go on to great fame.
It wasn’t until 1929 that the first modern art museum was created. Today, there are art museums around the world devoted to showcasing modern art, with many of the best located in the United States. Along with offering views of some of the biggest names in art, these modern art museums provide unparalleled experiences for groups looking to go behind the scenes and dig into the stories behind the artwork.
Here are five leading U.S. museums where groups can see works by Picasso and other modern artists.
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
Since it first opened in 1935, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), the first museum on the West Coast devoted to modern and contemporary art, has been a major player in the modern art movement. At the time, the museum occupied the fourth floor of the War Memorial Veterans Building, and in the early ’70s, it expanded when the third floor became available.
Today, the museum occupies a recently renovated Mario Botta-designed building in the South of Market neighborhood and features 170,000 square feet of gallery space, including 45,000 square feet of free public-access space. The SFMOMA has four main areas: architecture and design, media arts, painting and sculpture, and photography. The painting collection is a highlight for many. Its concentrations are wide-ranging: fauvism, cubism and surrealism from France and modernism from the United States and Latin America.
Groups visiting the museum have access to a dedicated representative to help arrange custom experiences and tours for all ages, interests and backgrounds. The representative also assists in booking additional museum offerings, like boxed lunches at Café 5, preset menu options at In Situ and selecting merchandise from the Museum Store for curated gift bags.
“Groups that book private guided tours bypass lines and are greeted by a private guide upon arrival,” said Lesley Makishima, manager of tourism and group sales at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. “Our private guides share behind-the-scene stories and little-known facts about artists. Our most popular tours are the SFMOMA Highlights Tour and the SFMOMA Architecture Tour.”
Groups also rave about the museum’s rotating special exhibition tours that take visitors behind the scenes of the museum’s current exhibition.