Profile - Santa Monica Museum of Art


The Santa Monica Museum of Art presents dynamic exhibitions of contemporary art in all mediums and across disciplines that reveal the vibrant, untold stories in the art and culture of our time. SMMoA: the Small Museum that takes Big Risks is the only non-collecting museum in Southern California. The museum devotes its exhibition spaces—the main gallery and two Project Rooms—to exploring and advancing the work of important contemporary local, national, and international artists whose unique bodies of work merit sustained inquiry and recognition. The museum offers a wide range of thought-provoking lectures, symposia, gallery talks, film screenings, performances, and outstanding educational programs for people of all ages. These events have involved such renowned individuals as architects Frank Gehry and Thom Mayne, critic Dave Hickey, illusionist Ricky Jay, composer Michael Nyman, and artists Kerry James Marshall, Raymond Pettibon, Diana Thater, and the late Allan Kaprow. In addition, SMMoA diversifies its artistic vision by inviting distinguished guest curators to organize selected exhibitions. Such individuals have included Chrissie Isles (Whitney Museum of American Art), Thelma Golden (The Studio Museum in Harlem), Lynne Cooke (DIA Art Foundation), Michael Duncan (Independent Curator), and the late Walter Hopps (The Menil Collection).

Since opening in 1988, the museum has presented work by more than one thousand artists, 40% of who are artists of color and 46% percent are women.
SMMoA serves approximately 35,000 visitors a year and has an educational outreach audience of 8,000. The museum’s website,, presents information about current, past, and future exhibitions as well as news, publications, membership, and volunteer opportunities. The site averages 200,000 unique visitors per month. An online catalog, the Artist Project Series, documents site-specific installations commissioned by SMMoA from 1988 to 1998.

The newest addition to the museum is GRACIE: Shop/Storage/Installation, a unique format for a museum store. Highlighted in the Los Angeles Times, Metropolitan Home, Interior Design, LA Architect, and Art-Talk Magazine, GRACIE was conceived by Rome Prize-winning artist and architect Allan Wexler as an extension of Wexler’s April 2006 exhibition Too-Large Wall. The structure architecturally and sculpturally encompasses the museum lobby and extends outwards to occupy the building exterior towards the parking lot. The work itself is a multifunctional exhibition, bookshop, storage, and reception area. Carefully selected content within GRACIE creates a sense of discovery; the architectural and sculptural elements draw in and delight visitors.

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