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.
Sadie Barnette: SPACE/TIME (2022)
October 15, 2022–June 2023
Oakland-based artist Sadie Barnette uncovers and reanimates stories of resistance, resilience, and love through an ongoing retelling of her family’s history. SPACE/TIME, a site-specific commission developed in dialogue with Afterimages: Echoes of the 1960s from the Fisher and SFMOMA Collections, celebrates life against the backdrop of political turmoil and everyday moments from the 1960s to today, highlighting intergenerational legacies and collective possibilities. Weaving together images from her personal archive with text-based drawings and her frequently used adornments: spray paint, glitter, and rhinestones, Barnette collapses the expansive arc of time that connects generations and dimensions and points to unknowable futures that for Barnette “need to be imagined and fought for.”
Michael Jang: The Whole Story (2022)
Through June 18, 2023 | Free to See
Michael Jang has spent a lifetime documenting the world around him. In early 2021, he wheat-pasted a series of his photographic images taken in the 1970s over a boarded-up storefront on Clement Street, the heart of San Francisco’s unofficial Chinatown. Unsanctioned public installations have since become his primary form, fueling his artistic practice with new resonance. Jang’s SFMOMA commission departs from his Clement Street project, adorned with new images and designs and anticipating further intervention by the artist during its installation.
Emory Douglas: REPARATIONS (2021)
Through October 30, 2022 | Free to See
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 commission REPARATIONS (2007/2021) champions the international movement to secure reparations for descendants of Africans enslaved in the U.S.
Liz Hernández: Conjuro para la sanación de nuestro futuro (2020)
Through November 6, 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: Our Ancestors’ Wildest Dreams (2020)
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.
SPACE/TIME was commissioned and executed by Sadie Barnette as a part of Bay Area Walls, a series of commissions initiated in 2020.
The Whole Story was commissioned and executed by Michael Jang with Brent Wilson as a part of Bay Area Walls, a series of commissions initiated in 2020.
The presenting sponsor for Bay Area Walls is Gap Inc.
Major support 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.
Header Image: Twin Walls Mural Company, Our Ancestors’ Wildest Dreams, 2020 (in process); photo: Katherine Du Tiel