Past Commission

Leah Rosenberg

Getting Better Everyday a Color, 2021

September 2021

Bay Area Walls commission
August 3–March 6, 2022
Floor 2


For Leah Rosenberg, color is inseparable from seeing and the thoughts, memories, and emotions that come with experiencing and processing the world. Getting Better Everyday a Color reprises a project she made during a 2015 residency at San Francisco’s Irving Street Projects. Rosenberg began rolling expanses of color onto her mural in Schwab Hall early August 2021. As the artist has noted, the effect is a “continually changing monotone tableau” that takes on increased physicality over time. Before each new application of paint, Rosenberg masked off a three-inch wide stripe of the previous day’s color. Rosenberg removed the stripes of tape after applying the mural’s final and fiftieth layer on November 18. The completed mural is a record of its own making.

Embedded between the painted layers are messages of self-care compiled by Susan O’Malley, Rosenberg’s friend and collaborator who passed away in 2015 at the age of thirty-eight. Rosenberg infuses the minimalist form of her project with O’Malley’s calls to action, some of which she has amended to support a collective need for healing at this moment in time. Phrases such as “Breathe. Remember You Can Always Return to Your Breath” and “Paint Your Room the Color of the Ocean” are hidden between each layer of paint in the mural and are revealed through a color legend that reads like lines of a poem.



Getting Better Everyday a Color was commissioned as part of Bay Area Walls, a series initiated in 2020.

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.