The de Young Open Returns in 2023 as a Newly Established Triennial

Apr 12, 2023

The de Young Open 2020

Installation photo of “The de Young Open 2020” at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, September 2020

Photo by Gary Sexton

Image provided courtesy of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

The de Young Open 2023

September 30, 2023 – January 7, 2024  

Juried by Bay Area artists and Fine Arts Museums’ curators, The de Young Open is the only exhibition of its kind at a major US museum

SAN FRANCISCO – Building on the enormous success of the inaugural iteration in 2020, The de Young Open returns this year as a newly established triennial, once again celebrating the diverse talents of the Bay Area arts community at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. The de Young Open is the only exhibition of its kind at a major American museum, inviting submissions from local artists via open call for review by a jury composed of both Bay Area artists and Fine Arts Museums’ curators. All artworks are juried anonymously and exclusively from digital images, without artist-identifying information, and selected for inclusion in the de Young’s largest exhibition on the basis of merit alone. The 2020 call drew nearly 12,000 submissions and saw more than 800 artworks installed in The de Young Open that year, in what one participant called “a giant love letter to the people of the Bay Area.” 

“Launched at the height of the pandemic, The de Young Open 2020 was first and foremost a call to action in support of Bay Area artists,” remarked Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. “We wanted to bolster the creative community in the Bay Area and provide economic opportunities for artists during a very challenging time. The warm reception and resounding community engagement in response to that inaugural exhibition had such an impact, and so thoroughly embodied our commitment to DEIA principles, that we felt The de Young Open surely must become a Fine Arts Museums tradition.”

This year’s presentation will be juried by distinguished Bay Area-based artists Clare Rojas, Stephanie Syjuco, Sunny A. Smith, and Xiaoze Xie. Timothy Anglin Burgard, Distinguished Senior Curator and Ednah Root Curator in Charge of American Art, and the originator of the exhibition, will head the Museums’ curatorial jury that includes Emma Acker, Associate Curator of American Art; Natasha Becker, Curator of African Art; Claudia Schmuckli, Curator in Charge of Contemporary Art and Programming; Associate Curator of Costume and Textile Arts Laura Camerlengo; Christina Hellmich, Curator in Charge, Department of the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas and the Jolika Collection of New Guinea Art; Janna Keegan, Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art; and Hillary Olcott, Associate Curator, Art of the Americas. 

Part of the Mission School, Clare Rojas is a multidisciplinary artist whose work draws from folk art and traditional storytelling to deconstruct gender roles. She is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York (MoMA); San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA); and the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, among others. A queer, nonbinary artist, Sunny A. Smith investigates the cultural phenomenon of historical reenactment as the ritualized performance of unresolved trauma through performance art and sculpture. They have presented their work at museums P.S.1/MoMA, New York; Palais de Tokyo, Paris; SFMOMA; Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA), and others. Stephanie Syjuco is a Filipino American conceptual artist and associate professor of sculpture at the University of California, Berkeley, whose most recent work focuses on the ways in which photography and image-based processes are implicated in the construction of racialized, exclusionary narratives of US history and citizenship. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Tiffany Foundation Award, and a Joan Mitchell Painters and Sculptors Award. Xiaoze Xie is a Chinese American visual artist and professor of art at Stanford University. He is best known for his monumental paintings of library books and newspapers exploring the ephemeral nature of time, history, and cultural memory. In 2022, the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco acquired works by Rojas, Smith, and Syjuco as part of the Svane Foundation initiative supporting Bay Area artists. 

"As a visual artist who grew up in San Francisco, I spent many formative hours in the de Young's galleries, looking and learning from the historical and contemporary exhibitions on view,” remarked juror Stephanie Syjuco. “It's an honor to be part of The de Young Open jury and support the visibility of our Bay Area artist community."

Open to all 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 aspires to magnify the voices and visions of those who are rooted locally, but thinking globally, both about the world we live in and the world of art. Artists accepted to The de Young Open 2023 may offer their works for sale in the Museum’s Herbst Exhibition Galleries—where the installation will be hung salon-style, or nearly floor-to-ceiling, to ensure the greatest possible representation—and will retain 100 percent of the proceeds. Digital artwork, including NFTs, and AI-generated artwork are eligible for this year’s edition—reflecting the rapid expansion of works created digitally. The Fine Arts Museums encourage artists from diverse backgrounds, from those just beginning their artistic careers to established professionals, from the self-taught to the academically trained, to apply. Submissions must be received between June 5 and June 18, 2023, via an online application that will be accessible on the Museums’ website starting June 5. The application will close upon reaching 12,000 submissions or by June 18, whichever comes first. Guidelines are available at All artists will receive notification of the jury’s decisions by mid-August.

“The de Young Open epitomizes the Museums’ ongoing commitment to our guiding principles of diversity, equity, inclusion, and access,” said Timothy A. Burgard. “We aspire to embrace and support our local art communities, in order to model the museum of the future. While the Fine Arts Museums’ acquire a selection of artworks from the exhibition for the permanent collection, the greatest work of art in The de Young Open is the exhibition itself, which is created by and for the people of the Bay Area.”

Celebrating the artists who enrich the Bay Area’s cultural landscape, The de Young Open 2023 opens to the public on September 30, 2023 and runs through January 7, 2024. 

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 provided by Rebecca and Cal Henderson and Zenni. Additional support is provided by Wanda Kownacki 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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