SFMOMA presents a series of commissions by local artists that actively engage with pressing issues of our time. Many of 2020’s inaugural projects delved into the consequences of a year of social isolation and unrest, polarizing news, racial injustice, economic crises, all against a backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now ongoing, the program is designed to support local artists who are keenly attuned to our community and current moment.
Free to See: Emory Douglas’s REPARATIONS (2021)
Through September 1, 2022
Emory Douglas is a pioneering force in the visual language of American protest. As Minister of Culture and Revolutionary Artist of the Black Panther Party from 1967 to the early 1980s, he designed the BPP’s newspaper and deployed a unique combination of graphic design, illustration, photo collage, cartoon, and text to inspire political consciousness. His forthcoming commission REPARATIONS (2007/2021) champions the international movement to secure reparations for descendants of Africans enslaved in the U.S.
Free to See: Leah Rosenberg’s Getting Better Everyday a Color (2021)
Through March 13, 2022
Featuring a color palette inspired by San Francisco’s Sunset District, Leah Rosenberg’s mural comprises fifty painted layers that the artist added incrementally between August and November 2021; Each layer is embedded with calls to action that promote happiness and healing, such as “Focus on This Color for One Minute (Or Longer)” and “Find a Comfortable Space and Trust it for a While,” all adapted from the work of late artist Susan O’Malley. The mural is an uplifting reminder of the everyday ways art can help us heal and honor those who change our lives and communities for the better.
Free to See: Mini Mural Festival’s completed works (2021)
Through January 2022 in the Koret Education Center
Inspired by the historic live art-making exhibition Art in Action at the Golden Gate International Exposition in 1940, SFMOMA’s Mini Mural Festival invited three Bay Area organizations — Acción Latina, NIAD Art Center, and SOMA Pilipinas — to commission and host local artists for live mural painting in the summer of 2021. See the vibrant and powerful murals that resulted in our Koret Education Center and in the Howard Street outdoor corridor.
Liz Hernández’s Conjuro para la sanación de nuestro futuro (2020)
Through September 5, 2022
Artist Liz Hernández works with topics related to her upbringing in Mexico City, creating imagery from memories of buildings covered in handmade signs, chaotic trips to markets, her grandmother’s house, and syncretic healing rituals. For Conjuro para la sanación de nuestro futuro (A spell for the healing of our future) (2020), completed while the museum was closed due to the pandemic, she brings forth symbols and icons from milagros, or miracle charms, to summon a higher power for our community’s health and future.
Twin Walls Mural Company’s Our Ancestors’ Wildest Dreams (2020)
Through September 5, 2022
Elaine Chu and Marina Perez-Wong, together known as Twin Walls Mural Company, deploy themes of healing and resilience in response to imbalances stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, generational trauma, pollution, and inequality, as well as to Perez-Wong’s ongoing battle with stage IV breast cancer. The vibrant work imagines healing for the current world we live in and hope for ourselves and our loved ones, and features portraits of students from Oakland School for the Arts and members of the Radical Monarchs.
Major support for Bay Area Walls is provided by the SFMOMA Roberta and Steve Denning Commissioning Endowed Fund.
Generous support is provided by the Mary Jane Elmore West Coast Exhibition Fund, Randi and Bob Fisher, the Patricia W. Fitzpatrick Commissioning Endowed Fund, Katie Hall and Tom Knutsen, the Elaine McKeon Endowed Exhibition Fund, the Diana Nelson and John Atwater Commissioning Fund, and the Denise Littlefield Sobel Commissioning Endowed Fund.
Additional support is provided by Alka and Ravin Agrawal, Oya and Bulent
Eczacibasi, and Linda and Jon Gruber in memory of Gretchen Berggruen.
Header Image: Twin Walls Mural Company, Our Ancestors’ Wildest Dreams, 2020 (in process); photo: Katherine Du Tiel