Groundbreaking triennial The de Young Open features 883 Bay Area artists

Aug 28, 2023

De Young Open

Installation Photography of “The de Young Open” at the de Young Museum.September 2020. Photo by Gary Sexton. Image provided courtesy of the Fine Arts Museums ofSan Francisco.

The de Young Open 2023

September 30, 2023–January 7, 2024 

883 artworks across nine mediums explore the issues shaping life in the Bay Area and beyond

SAN FRANCISCO The de Young Open returns this fall as a newly established triennial, building on the success of the hugely popular inaugural iteration in 2020. Designed for local artists from diverse artistic backgrounds and free to enter, The de Young Open is the only exhibition of its kind at a major US museum. This year, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco received a resounding 7,766 submissions during the open application period from June 5 through 18. Of those submissions, 883 will be installed salon-style, or nearly floor-to-ceiling, in the de Young’s largest galleries from September 30 in the celebratory exhibition one past participant called “a giant love letter to the people of the Bay Area.”

“The de Young Open is a joyful celebration of the creativity that abounds throughout the Bay Area, and we are delighted to bring it back this fall as a triennial exhibition,” remarked Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. “It is rare to be able to offer a platform to hundreds of artists in one's community simultaneously, and as the city’s museum, FAMSF is both honored and proud to host an exhibition that connects our diverse audiences with the work of nearly 900 local artists.”

Open to visual artists 18 years of age or older from the nine Bay Area counties— San Francisco, Marin, Sonoma, Napa, Solano, Contra Costa, Alameda, Santa Clara, and San Mateo—The de Young Open is a unique exhibition created by and for the people who call the region home. New this year, the call for submissions capped entries to one per applicant, enabling 1,574 more artists to participate over 2020. The works on view in the Museums’ Herbst Exhibition Galleries from September 30, all made over the past three years, take the pulse of creative energy and culture across the region. Arranged in the galleries to draw out dialogues that emerged organically among the 883 accepted works, the exhibition shines a light on the concerns and practices that propel artistic inquiry and production in the Bay Area today. The exhibition is installed loosely by thematic topics, which include historical and contemporary politics and social issues, the urban environment, nature, abstraction, surreal imagery, and the human figure. The broad range of media represented in The de Young Open 2023 includes painting, photography, drawing, and prints, fiber, sculpture, video, film, and digital art. Information about this year’s participating artists can be found here.

Serving local communities and celebrating the artists who enrich the Bay Area’s cultural landscape, the new triennial is designed to enhance access to the greatest number of applicants. Participants are again able to sell their artworks, retaining 100 percent of the proceeds, throughout the run of the exhibition. This year, they will also receive a complimentary one-year membership as part of the Fine Arts Museums’ new Artist Membership program launching in September. With an open application process and anonymous jurying solely from digital images, The de Young Open represents an inclusive and accessible community-oriented model for exhibitions. This year’s presentation was juried by Bay Area artists Clare Rojas, Stephanie Syjuco, Sunny A. Smith, and Xiaoze Xie, the first three of whom have works in the de Young’s recently acquired Svane gift of Bay Area art. Timothy Anglin Burgard, Distinguished Senior Curator and Ednah Root Curator in Charge of American Art, headed the Museums’ curatorial jury that included Emma Acker, Curator of American Art; Natasha Becker, Curator of African Art; Claudia Schmuckli, Curator in Charge of Contemporary Art and Programming; Curator in Charge of Costume and Textile Arts Laura L. Camerlengo; Christina Hellmich, Curator in Charge, Department of the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas and the Jolika Collection of New Guinea Art; Isabella Lores-Chavez, Associate Curator of European Paintings; and Hillary C. Olcott, Curator of Art of the Americas.  

“This community-based exhibition serves as a snapshot in time of artists who are working locally, but thinking globally—both about the world of art and also the world we live in,” noted Timothy Anglin Burgard, the originator and curator of the triennial. “The de Young Open represents a significant paradigm shift from historical perceptions of museums as gatekeepers of art—often imported nationally or internationally—to a more democratic model in which museums foreground the voices and visions of local artists.”

The de Young Open 2023 opens to the public on September 30, 2023 and runs through January 7, 2024, and is free to all who visit on Saturdays. Tickets for the exhibition are available to the public on August 30.


Exhibition Organization 

The exhibition is organized by the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. Major support provided by The Herbst Foundation, Inc. and Jason E. Moment. Generous support is provided by Rebecca and Cal Henderson, The Wattis Family, and Zenni. Additional support is provided by Wanda Kownacki, Dorothy Saxe, and Nancy and Alan Schatzberg.

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 institution in San Francisco.

The de Young museum originated from the 1894 California Midwinter International Exposition in Golden Gate Park. 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. The Legion of Honor museum was modeled after the neoclassical Palais de la Légion d’Honneur in Paris. The museum, designed by George Applegarth, opened in 1924 on a bluff in Lincoln Park overlooking the Golden Gate. It offers unique insight into the art historical, political, and social movements of the previous 4,000 years of human history, with holdings including ancient art from the Mediterranean basin; European painting, sculpture, and decorative arts; and the largest collection of works on paper in the western United States.

The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco respectfully acknowledge the Ramaytush Ohlone, the original inhabitants of what is now the San Francisco Peninsula, and acknowledge that the greater Bay Area is the ancestral territory of the Miwok, Yokuts, Patwin, and other Ohlone. Indigenous communities have lived in and moved through this place over hundreds of generations, and Indigenous peoples from many nations make their home in this region today. Please join us in recognizing and honoring their ancestors, descendants, elders, and communities.

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