Case Study | San Francisco Museum of Modern Art | Advanced Sound & Communication


Pro AV Catalog

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

Submitted By

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
Contact Us
Featured Products

Planar Video Walls, Displays and Monitors provide a comprehensive, reliable technology platform that attracts, informs and engages visitors.

On numerous fronts, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) has further cemented its reputation as a forward-looking institution that continually takes steps to remain a relevant, if not transformational, center of contemporary art and artistic expression. Perhaps most dramatic and recent of these steps has been a three-year renovation that tripled the gallery space, inaugurated nearly two dozen exhibitions and embraced digital technology to attract visitors and connect them to the museum in an immersive manner that is now being imitated throughout the museum arena. A key part of the technology strategy has been the implementation of digital video walls, displays and monitors from Planar.

For example, a Clarity® Matrix™ LCD Video Wall is in place to provide recognition to individuals and institutions valued as long-time SFMOMA supporters as well as contributors who played key roles in the renovation process. In other spaces, Clarity Matrix LCD video walls give visitors an engaging view of SFMOMA in its entirety and enable them to explore various genres of artistic work, including sculpture and photography.

Other Planar products – including Planar® PS Series commercial-grade LCD displays, Planar® RA Series LCD video wall, Planar® EP Series Ultra HD LCD displays and the Planar® Helium Series touch screen monitors – are used to welcome museum visitors, advise them of happenings in the museum, as well as to help them explore art and photographic works in detail that – even in a uniquely custom, personalized manner.

Museum leadership, architects, curators, exhibit designers and technology integrators all came together to bring the expansion to fruition and to establish and implement the digital display and video wall strategy. Key members of this team included the museum's staff – notably, Keir Winesmith, Head of Web and Digital Platforms – and the systems integration firm, BBI Engineering, led by Phil Bailey, President. "We benefitted immensely from the expertise and experience of Phil and his team at BBI, and from the proven technology and products of Planar," says Winesmith. "Working closely with these two partners, SFMOMA was able to create a consistent experience for all visitors, and one that we're genuinely proud of."

Planar display products meet targeted needs throughout the museum

Wherever they enter, visitors almost immediately come in contact with a Planar display or video wall. On the first floor school groups and special event attendees have a dedicated entrance which includes a three-wide-by-one-high (3x1) high array of Clarity Matrix LCD video wall displays (MX55HDS) that welcomes them and presents them with digital signage information about SFMOMA and all that they can look forward to during their visit.

Visitors entering SFMOMA on the second floor go first to the membership or ticketing desks where one-wide-by-three-high (1 x 3) Planar RA Series LCD video walls (PR5580) welcome them, show ticket prices or special promotions. Then, a three-wide-by-two-high (3x2) array of Clarity Matrix LCD video wall displays (MX55HDU) depicts the key museum supporters and donors using a visually compelling combination of text and graphics. The video wall draws visitors' attention to its large size, brightness and image quality. "Equally important, we can update the donor list any time any time we choose, and in a matter of minutes. It would be much more time consuming and difficult if we were using traditional signage," Winesmith says.

The second floor also features a Clarity Matrix LCD video wall (MX55HDU) in a large, dynamic platform that is six-wide-by-two-high (6 x 2). The museum describes this video wall as showing SFMOMA to be a living entity. It depicts activity such as the creation and installation of exhibited artworks, new live art spaces, performances and events taking place inside and the connection between the museum and the community.

"Visitors are intrigued by videos of how works are installed, particularly when they're shown life-size or in great detail – in some cases with more detail than can be seen in person by the human eye," Winesmith says. "Using the interactive video wall and tables, visitors explore stories that help them see art and artists in new ways. We're trying to bring the visitors into the artist's world."

The second floor also features a six-wide-by-one-high (6 x 1) array of 46-inch Clarity Matrix LCD video wall displays (LX46HDS) showing digital versions of artwork that can be explored interactively, with the displays protected against damage by a bonded glass surface called Planar® ERO™ (Extended Ruggedness and Optics™) technology. A unique pairing of the Planar Helium Series monitor (PCT2265) and the Planar RA Series lets visitors select (using the Planar Helium monitor) in-depth videos about a wide variety of art on exhibit, and then play them on the adjacent Planar RA Series video wall to learn about them via interviews of with artists, other art experts and museum curators.

In the third floor Photography Interpretive Gallery, unique digital platforms include an 82-inch Planar PS Series display (PS8250) presenting videos of photographers discussing their works and photographic methods, and 70-inch Planar PS Series (PS7050) on which viewers can see themed sets of still images that are exhibited or archived.

Key attributes of the Planar solution

While the museum considered the range of display options available to it, Planar displays and video walls were selected for a number of reasons. For starters, Planar's display designs integrated well with the museum's interior architecture; notably the company's video walls provide a slim profile (sub-four inches total mounted depth in some cases) that makes them naturally feel part of the exhibit space.

Planar's focus on image quality is evident across the range of products. It is reflected in brightness levels reaching 800 nits, Full HD resolution and native 4K content handling capability. Such factors and more naturally attract visitors' attention and maximize the experience of viewing content such as the photography-oriented videos and documentaries.

Robustness and easy serviceability also figured into the selection decision. Planar displays and video walls are purpose-built, commercial displays specifically designed for demanding applications. They are engineered with built-in redundancies and fail-over capabilities to ensure continuous operation and life spans ranging up to 50,000 hours. In the case of video wall such as Clarity Matrix, individual displays can easily be accessed or replaced without an entire array having to be dismantled.

"While almost every Planar display installed at SFMOMA has its own differentiators and distinguishing capabilities, all these displays were engineered for demanding applications. All of them come ready for duty and offer outstanding cost-of-ownership propositions. And each and every one of them has the full backing and support of Planar," concludes BBI's Phil Bailey.