5 Questions: Kent Roberts

This summer, we’re taking our Five Questions series around the office and finding out more about SFMOMA staff members and what’s changed for them now that we’re under construction. Today we’re talking to Kent Roberts, who has been helping design exhibitions at the museum since 1979.


Please describe your job in three sentences or less:

As the Exhibitions Design Manager, I help artists and curators design shows. I’m also responsible for getting all the walls built and the display furniture designed for exhibitions.

What are you thinking about now that you weren’t thinking about before the museum closed?

I’ve been thinking about how we are going to design shows for the new building. I’m really starting to get involved with building models [of the new space] so the curators can design all the new exhibitions for 2016 in a way that is going to be one big show. We’ve never done a show that big, ever. It opens all at once, and that is only two years from now. It’s close.

Do you collect anything?

I collect art. I am a sculptor, and I make things that kind of look like boats and bridges and such, so I also have a collection of model boats I’ve found that other people have made. I have about a dozen.

If you could spend an afternoon with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?

Marcel Duchamp.

If you weren’t Exhibitions Design Manager what would your gig be?

Maybe if I started over again I would be an architect. But the real answer is that if I wasn’t working here, I’d probably just be doing my art, and that’s what I plan to do eventually.

What should I ask you?

What did I do for our Countdown Celebration? I read the title of every exhibition I have worked on at SFMOMA since 1979, with Brian Frasier on drums. It’s not the first time I’ve done it, but it turns out Christian Marclay’s The Clock was my thousandth show.

Watch Kent’s closing day performance here, at 4:55:42.

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