Bay Area Walls commission
On view March 7–September 6, 2021
Adrian L. Burrell’s photo-based project responds to the storefront murals and signage that appeared in Oakland during the pandemic. Exploring themes of legacy and family, Burrell tells personal, incisive stories of Bay Area life that provoke larger conversations about the simmering tensions and injustices profoundly felt in these urban spaces.
Burrell’s series It’s After the End of the World, Don’t You Know That Yet? features his grandmother, mother, and sister posing in front of murals across Oakland. Exploring lineages of revolt against racial oppression, the project is a call to action that draws upon Burrell’s own experience with police brutality and interrogates how we confront our past and build our future.
By documenting these murals and people, Burrell preserves the visual conversation taking place within our local communities. Constantly evolving, these living walls reflect collective activism and resistance. A metaphor for his practice, the murals bear witness to an intergenerational layering of histories and make way for new narratives.
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.