Bay Area Walls commission
Michael Jang has spent a lifetime documenting the world around him from a decidedly eclectic perspective. Ranging from 1970s Hollywood to the San Francisco punk scene to his own eccentric family, Jang’s takes on “American culture” focus on the textures of living in a vibrant world rife with humor and curiosity. In February 2021, amid growing violence targeting Asian Americans, Jang clandestinely wheat-pasted several black-and-white images taken from his photographic series The Jangs (1973) over the boarded-up storefront of Goodwill on Clement Street, in the heart of San Francisco’s unofficial Chinatown. Impudently inserted into the visual landscape of this once bustling neighborhood, now silenced by COVID-19 and anti-Asian hate, Jang’s gesture was one of solidarity, belonging, and ownership.
While he has experimented with wheat-pasting excerpts from his archive since 2016, unsanctioned installations became the artist’s primary form during the lockdown of the city, fueling his practice with new energy and ambition. For this Bay Area Walls commission Jang began with the same photographs featured in the original Clement Street project, now brought inside the museum and adorned with an array of new images and designs, including false personas and imaginary products. The artist selected this specific wall in an effort to meet the public in the free spaces of the building. Over the coming year, Jang will intervene in this work by incorporating additional visual and textural layers as a play on the dynamism and temporality of graffiti culture and a way to engage with the public over time.
The Whole Story was conceived and executed by Michael Jang with Brent Wilson as part of Bay Area Walls, a series of commissions initiated in 2020.
Major support for Bay Area Walls is provided by the Roberta and Steve Denning Commissioning Endowed Fund.
Generous support is provided by the Patricia W. Fitzpatrick Commissioning Endowed Fund, the Diana Nelson and John Atwater Commissioning Fund, and the Denise Littlefield Sobel Commissioning Endowed Fund.