A SOARING WELL OF LIGHT

MARIO BOTTA DESIGNS AN ELEGANT MUSEUM FOR SAN FRANCISCO. NOW THE INSTITUTION MUST LIVE UP TO ITS NEW ENVIRONS

The best new museum building America has seen in years opened last week in San Francisco, amid relentless social fanfare: the city's much awaited-and badly needed-Museum of Modern Art. Since 1935, Bay Area art lovers have had to content themselves with the old SFMOMA, a makeshift affair housed in the Beaux Arts-style War Veterans' Memorial Building and so cramped that the permanent collection had to be taken down whenever a temporary show went up. In 1990 designs for a new building were made public. It would cost $60 million, all in private money, and the architect was an Italian-Swiss little known...

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