Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco Announce “The de Young Open”, Open Submission Exhibition to Showcase Bay Area Artists
The de Young Open
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In celebration of the de Young museum’s 125th anniversary, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco announced today The de Young Open, a juried community art exhibition welcoming submissions by artists from the nine Bay Area counties: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, and Sonoma.
“As the de Young celebrates its distinguished 125-year history in 2020, we are proud to announce The de Young Open, creating a platform for the visionary artists who enrich the Bay Area’s cultural landscape,” states Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. “Amid these uncertain times, this new initiative expands the Fine Arts Museums’ ongoing commitment to the Bay Area community and serves as a celebratory sign of our community’s strength and resilience. From local artists to art lovers, we look forward to welcoming our visitors back to the de Young museum this summer with this epochal exhibition.”
The de Young Open continues the museum’s long-standing tradition of engaging the local community and showcasing the talent of Bay Area artists. The optional theme for the exhibition, “On the Edge” derives from both the Bay Area’s geographic location on the Pacific Rim, but also the region’s historical reputation for leading-edge, cutting-edge, or edgy culture and creativity. Local artists were invited to submit their artworks to the exhibition June 1–14, 2020. 6,188 artists applied to be featured in the exhibition, submitting more than 11,514 individual artworks.
Timothy Anglin Burgard, Distinguished Senior Curator and Ednah Root Curator in Charge of American Art, headed up a curatorial jury to select the artworks in the exhibition that included Claudia Schmuckli, Curator of Contemporary Art and Programming, Karin Breuer, Curator in Charge of the Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts and Jill D’Alessandro, Curator in Charge of Costume and Textile Arts at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, in addition to renowned Bay Area artists Enrique Chagoya, Hung Liu and Mildred Howard.
“The Museums want to support our local art communities, particularly at a time when they are experiencing the negative impacts of the COVID-19 crisis,” says Burgard. “This innovative exhibition will provide a unique opportunity for our visitors to view the extraordinary breadth and depth of art created in the Bay Area.”
In total, 762 artists were selected for The de Young Open with a total of 877 artworks to be on view. These artists exhibiting work will be able to offer their works for sale and to retain 100 percent of the proceeds. Access The de Young Open Web Gallery to explore artworks in the exhibition.
The de Young Open is installed in all nine of the de Young’s Herbst Exhibition Galleries. Works in multiple media, representing a wide range of artistic styles, are grouped according to theme: Black Lives Matter and other political and social movements, COVID-19, the city of San Francisco, abstraction, nature, and the human figure. Works created by video and film artists will be featured in the museum’s nearby Media Room.
The first gallery of the exhibition showcases artists responding to political and social movements, particularly that of the contemporary Black Lives Matter movement. On May 25, 2020, George Floyd was killed by police officers in Minneapolis. A range of artistic responses that examine Floyd’s life and legacy are featured as our point of departure. When countless other Black lives have been lost to police brutality and racial injustice, and in a year with a divisive election looming, artists in this gallery have used their chosen medium as forms of protest. Other issues addressed include American politics, global warming, patriarchy, feminism, and LGBTQ rights.
As the COVID-19 pandemic began to disrupt our lives in unfathomable ways, artists featured in the second gallery responded to this incomprehensible time. Works reflecting a new reality characterized by shelter in place, social distancing, face coverings, online video meetings, mortality, and life in isolation serve as markers of this moment.
The exhibition’s third gallery explores our complex relationships with the city many call home. The artworks celebrate San Francisco’s iconic landmarks and architecture, as well as the beauty of its geographic location and its people. These artworks also spotlight the issues that beset our daily lives as San Franciscans—including homelessness, gentrification, income disparities, and the shrinking diversity of the population.
The fourth and fifth galleries of the exhibition showcase numerous forms of abstraction. Styles on display include gestural abstraction, color field images, hard-edge geometric works, surreal and imaginary imagery, and works inspired by cartoons and graffiti.
The sixth gallery pays homage to the natural world that surrounds us. From the vast Pacific Ocean to its dramatic headlands, from the blue waters of San Francisco Bay to the peaceful marshes of the delta, these works capture the distinctive topography of the Bay Area and California. Other works in this gallery address both the positive presence and the negative impact of human beings in and on the environment.
The seventh and eighth galleries are devoted to the human figure, including family, loved ones, workers, performers, religious and mythological subjects, and nudes. Other works address art, architecture, and art history.
The ninth gallery encompasses an array of smaller thematic groupings, including both mechanical and virtual machines, California and world history, suburbia, still life, and a series of images incorporating letters, words, and texts.
Finally, in the museum’s Media Room near the Herbst Exhibition Galleries, the work of 18 film and video artists will be on view. Artists in this program embrace a multiplicity of styles that include animation, documentary, computer-generated imagery, montage, and narration. The themes range from identity, community, homelessness, hardship, and shelter in place to new technologies, climate change, medical science, and art itself.
Together painting a picture of an extraordinary time in recent human history, and representing both resistance and resilience, the diverse and inspiring artworks in The de Young Open are a testament to the creativity of the artists whose visions and voices enrich the San Francisco Bay Area’s cultural landscape.
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Enrique Chagoya (b. 1953)
Enrique Chagoya juxtaposes secular, popular, and religious symbols in order to address the ongoing cultural clash between the United States, Latin America and the world as well. He juxtaposes secular, popular, and religious symbols in order to address the ongoing cultural clash between the United States, Latin America and the world as well. Chagoya has been exhibiting his work nationally and internationally for over two decades. He is Full Professor at Stanford University’s Department of Art and Art History. His work is in many public collections including The National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC, MoMA, the Metropolitan and the Whiney museums in NYC, SFMoMA and the De Young in SF, among others. He received an Honorary Doctorate from the San Francisco Art Institute in 2017.
Hung Liu (b. 1948)
Known for paintings based on historical Chinese photographs, Hung Liu’s subjects over the years have been prostitutes, refugees, street performers, soldiers, laborers, and prisoners, among others. As a painter, Liu challenges the documentary authority of historical Chinese photographs by subjecting them to the more reflective process of painting. Much of the meaning of Liu’s painting comes from the way the washes and drips dissolve the documentary images, suggesting the passage of memory into history, while working to uncover the cultural and personal narratives fixed – but often concealed – in the photographic instant. Washing her subjects in veils of dripping linseed oil, she both “preserves and destroys the image.” Liu has invented a kind of weeping realism that surrenders to the erosion of memory and the passage of time, while also bringing faded photographic images vividly to life as rich, facile paintings. She summons the ghosts of history to the present. In effect, Liu turns old photographs into new paintings.
Mildred Howard (b. 1945)
Bay Area-based artist, activist, and educator Mildred Howard has consistently engaged and served her community for more than forty years as a professional artist. Besides having taught at every major art institution and university in the area, including the San Francisco Art Institute, Howard has worked extensively in schools and with at-risk and underserved populations such as the homeless and the incarcerated. She continues to put the faces, voices, hopes and dreams of her community at the very heart of her work, whether in her extensive and highly decorated public art career or in her consistent production of sculpture, assemblage, and works on paper.
Howard is a highly visible figure in the landscape of public art in the Bay Area, with permanent large-scale works at the San Francisco Airport, in the Western Addition and in downtown San Francisco. Her Moving Richmond, a work in which a poem by Macarthur Fellow Ishmael Reed was incised into two forty-foot walls of faceted steel, can be seen at Richmond, California’s BART Station.
Howard has received numerous awards including an NEA Grant in Sculpture, two Rockefeller Artist’s Fellowships, the Joan Mitchell Fellowship and an Anonymous Was a Woman Fellowship. Her work is included in major collections such as the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the de Young Museum, and has been widely exhibited internationally at venues in Cairo, Berlin, Paris, London, Egypt, Ghana, and Morocco. She also spent eleven years working in the Institute for Inquiry at the Exploratorium integrating and developing curriculum in Art & Science. Howard has been represented by Gallery Anglim Gilbert for twenty-five years. Her large piece The House That Will Not Pass for Any Color Than Its Own, will be mounted in Battery Park City Authority in 2020.
In 2011, the City of Berkeley proclaimed March 29th “Mildred Howard Day”; in 2012, Howard was inducted into the Alameda County Hall of Fame and received San Francisco’s prestigious Silver SPUR Award.
Howard is a pillar of the Bay Area art world whose diverse outputs as an artist, educator, and activist are singularly linked by an unswerving dedication to the equally diverse communities that surround her.
Visiting \ de Young
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Open Tuesdays–Sundays, 9:30 am–5:15 pm starting September 25, 2020. More information regarding tickets can be found at deyoungmuseum.org. John F. Kennedy Drive is closed to vehicular traffic from Kezar Drive to Transverse Drive. Paid parking is available in the Music Concourse garage as of September 21, 2020, which may be accessed from the Fulton Street and 10th Avenue entrance. For information on public transportation, please visit SFMTA.
The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco are profoundly grateful to the 2,375 donors who generously contributed to the Museums’ recovery efforts. Their critical support was a lifeline for the Museums during the COVID-19 pandemic and supported the presentation of The de Young Open.
The Museums are especially indebted to the extraordinary generosity from presenting sponsors John A. and Cynthia Fry Gunn, San Francisco Auxiliary of the Fine Arts Museums, Sherman Fairchild Foundation, The Hearst Foundations, Jessica and Jason Moment, and Diane B. Wilsey.
Lead support is provided by the Ray and Dagmar Dolby Family Fund, Margaret and William R. Hearst III, and Helen and Charles Schwab. Major support is provided by Bank of America, The Bryant Estate, The Diana Dollar Knowles Foundation, The Herbst Foundation, Inc., Leonard and Judy Lauder, George and Judy Marcus, Marissa Mayer and Zachary Bogue, Denise Littlefield Sobel, Paul A. Violich, and Barbara A. Wolfe.
Significant support is provided by The Bernard Osher Foundation, Bettina Bryant, The Fieldwood Fund, The Harris Family, Lorna Meyer Calas and Dennis Calas, Susan and Bill Oberndorf, Lynn and Edward Poole, Mariana Gantus Wall and Douglas Wall and the Vance Wall Foundation. Generous support is provided by Anonymous, Alliant Insurance Services, Inc., Jack Calhoun and Trent Norris, Kate Harbin Clammer and Adam Clammer, Phoebe Cowles and Robert Girard, Kate and Bill Duhamel, East West Bank, Max Boyer Glynn and David Glynn, Lucy Young Hamilton, Marie and George Hecksher, Frances Hellman and Warren Breslau, Rebecca and Cal Henderson, The Ive Family, Christine and Pierre Lamond, Mauze Family Charitable Fund, Leslie Berriman and Nion McEvoy, Meehan Family Trust, Harriet Heyman and Michael Moritz, Merrill Private Wealth Management, Yurie and Carl Pascarella, John Pritzker Family Fund, Shelagh and Thomas P. Rohlen, MaryBeth and David Shimmon, and Margaret O. Wadhwani and David Wadhwani. Additional support is provided by The Annenberg Foundation, Janet Barnes and Thomas W. Weisel Family, Nancy and Joachim Bechtle, Brigitte Sandquist and Phil Black, Mrs. George Hopper Fitch, Frank-Linn Charitable Fund, George F. Jewett Foundation, Maurice W. Gregg, Lauren L. T. Hall and David Hearth, Debbie and Blake Jorgensen, Mrs. Gretchen B. Kimball, Wanda Kownacki, Kyogoku Family Charitable Fund, Cathy and Howard Moreland, Katie and Matt Paige, Pamela and Richard Rigg, Arthur and Toni Rembe Rock, Lisa Sardegna and David A. Carrillo, Laura Scher and Ian Altman, Lisa and James Zanze, and Anne M. Zucchi.
About the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco
The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, comprising the de Young in Golden Gate Park and the Legion of Honor in Lincoln Park, are the largest public arts institutions in San Francisco. The de Young originated from the 1894 California Midwinter International Exposition in Golden Gate Park and was established as the Memorial Museum in 1895. It was later renamed in honor of Michael H. de Young, who spearheaded its creation. The present copper-clad landmark building, designed by Herzog & de Meuron, opened in 2005. Reflecting an active conversation among cultures, perspectives, and time periods, the collections on view include American painting, sculpture, and decorative arts from the 17th to the 21st centuries; arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas; costume and textile arts; and international modern and contemporary art.
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