A greatly expanded SFMOMA will open to the public on May 14.  (Henrik Kam/Courtesy SFMOMA)

A greatly expanded SFMOMA will open to the public on May 14. (Henrik Kam/Courtesy SFMOMA)

Scoop: A tantalizing sneak preview of grand new SFMOMA

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art gave the media a sneak preview of its renovation at a grand all-day affair (complete with tasty snacks) on Thursday, showing off the new 10-story structure — three years in the making — that’s nothing short of fabulous.

Hundreds showed up to take a look at the widely expanded collection (with 19 exhibitions) and the new building at Third and Howard streets, which opens to the public on May 14. (But opening day tickets are sold out.)

Remarks by officials were appealingly brief.

Board chair Chuck Schwab invited folks to enjoy the expansive offerings and director Neal Benezra reiterated one of the institution’s main missions: “to mean more to more people than ever before.”

Board president Bob Fisher had a few anecdotes about his parents Donald and Doris Fisher, whose significant donations really have upped the collection (Fisher said his mom’s favorite painting is Agnes Martin’s “Night Sea,” which is on the fourth floor), and curatorial director Ruth Berson said she looked forward to the media’s many, varied stories about the new SFMOMA.

Craig Dykers, founding partner of the architectural firm Snøhetta and the project’s lead designer, said the building is about diversity, and “about place rather than spectacle.” He added, “Each stair is a different experience. Take the stairs, you’ll like them.”

Curators and tour leaders throughout the building often repeated that admission will be free for ages 18 and younger when the museum opens. In addition, there will be free public access to galleries on the ground level. Richard Serra’s awesome, massive 2006 walk-through sculpture “Sequence” — 200 tons of contoured steel — is in an inviting glass-walled space off Howard Street.

Chuck Close's colorful mosaic-like portraits of his friends display in the Pop, Minimal and Figurative Art exhibition at the new San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) on Third Street in San Francisco, during an opening press preview on Thursday, April 28, 2016. The newly expanded SFMOMA will officially open to the public on Saturday, May 14, 2016. (Ekevara Kitpowsong/Special to S.F. Examiner)

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Chuck Close's colorful mosaic-like portraits of his friends display in the Pop, Minimal and Figurative Art exhibition at the new San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) on Third Street in San Francisco, during an opening press preview on Thursday, April 28, 2016. The newly expanded SFMOMA will officially open to the public on Saturday, May 14, 2016. (Ekevara Kitpowsong/Special to S.F. Examiner)

QUICK TAKES

Investigators are looking into whether Prince died from a drug overdose, a new report claims. … The formerly estranged Courteney Cox and rocker Johnny McDaid apre back together, and engaged (again). … Gloria Steinem described Donald Trump as having “Barbie-doll hair” and a “gelatinous mask” during her annual Ms. Foundation for Women’s Gloria Awards. … Ronald Reagan’s family is not pleased about Will Ferrell’s portrayal of the president in an upcoming film, saying “Alzheimers is not a a comedy.”

HAPPY BIRTHDAY

Actress Uma Thurman is 46. … Tennis player Andre Agassi is 46. .. Singer Carnie Wilson of Wilson Phillips is 48. … Actress Eve Plumb is 58. … Actress Michelle Pfeiffer is 58. … Actor Daniel Day-Lewis is 59. … Comedian Jerry Seinfeld is 62. … Singer Tommy James is 69. … Singer Willie Nelson is 83. … Musician Toots Thielemans is 94.

— Staff, wire reports

Bob FisherChuck SchwabCraig DykersDonald FisherDoris FisherMuseums and GalleriesNeal BenezrareopenRichard SerraRuth BersonSan Francisco Museum of Modern ArtVisual Arts

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