In this large-scale commission for SFMOMA’s lobby, Barbara Stauffacher Solomon (b. 1928) connects the striped motif of the museum’s 1996 Mario Botta–designed building with the open space of the 2016 expansion designed by Snøhetta. Strips of Stripes is the newest of her signature “supergraphics,” first developed in the 1960s for the Northern California coastal development The Sea Ranch. Here, bold environmental stripes and the letters “OK” span walls and ceilings in response to the surrounding architecture.
After studying “international style” graphic design at the Institut Kunst in Basel, Switzerland, Stauffacher Solomon opened a design office in San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood in the 1960s, bringing with her the crisp Swiss typeface Helvetica and a fluency in the formal rules of her training (along with a penchant to break them). Between 1962 and 1972, she designed SFMOMA’s monthly program guides with bright letters and graphics that stretch to the edges of the page. This commission builds on Stauffacher Solomon’s long relationship with SFMOMA, boldly activating our public space and welcoming visitors in.
Major support for Barbara Stauffacher Solomon: Strips of Stripes is provided by the Roberta and Steve Denning Commissioning Endowed Fund.
Generous support is provided by the Patricia W. Fitzpatrick Commissioning Endowed Fund, Diana Nelson and John Atwater Commissioning Fund, and the Denise Littlefield Sobel Commissioning Endowed Fund.
Community support is provided by Joachim and Nancy Hellman Bechtle and The Agnes Cowles Bourne Bay Area Contemporary Arts Exhibition Fund.
Header image: Barbara Stauffacher Solomon, Strips of Stripes, (installation view) 2023; photo: Don Ross