Spring is the season of kittens and budding flowers, but Autumn... Autumn is completion of the harvest, and on October 4th the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art finally gets to burst out in a bounty of (air-conditoned) shows and programs as it re-opens after six months of Covid closure. Free Community Days are offered for two weeks through Sunday, October 18. Featured exhibitions focus on the kind of contemplation we’ve all experienced during this time of reflection and awakening, so now is the time to step out to see how artists help us envision and interpret these changes. 


David Park went to study at the Otis Art Institute in 1928 and became involved with the Abstract Expressionists, but upon his own reflection, concluded that the style was “egocentric,” too focused on the painter and principles of the movement. He destroyed his own paintings and started over, still retaining some abstract form, but with a focus on the figurative and the human connection with nature.  This first major retrospective of his work will be accompanied by David Park and His Circle: The Drawing Sessions. These thoughtful pieces, currently on view, for inviting opportunities for some welcome visual meditation. 

For those who haven’t seen Dawoud Bey: An American Project, here is another chance to visit with the charismatic educator and photographer, who described his work as “affirming the lives of ordinary Black people.” He was profiled in our Spring 2020 Picture Book.    

And welcome to the first half of Bay Area Walls, which truly and boldly celebrates the local tradition of murals, which are enjoying necessary, proper prominence. After meeting in high school, Elaine Chu and Marina Perez-Wong formed the Twin Walls Murals Company in 2013 and haven’t stopped proclaiming their visual imperatives, especially in this joyous statement of kinship. Their 46 foot mural, Our Ancestors’ Wildest Dreams, takes a star turn on the museum’s 5th floor,  where a giant cherry blossom tree holds humble court amidst the figures of seven young girls of color. The power of chakras as a source of hope and healing during tumultuous times of pandemic, climate change and the fight for equality, symbolize energy and calls to action. 

We’re thrilled to see the imposing art of Juxtapoz favorite, Oakland artist Muzae Sesay, in the form of two eight by six feet murals on the seventh floor. With Resilience, Far Too Long and With Roots Far Too Deep are installed on black painted squares on either side of a chasm barricaded by an ominous chain-link fence, evoking urban eighbrhoods across the country.  In homage to David Hammons’ red, green and black African American Flag, the paintings, in richly applied oils and acrylics, speak boldly for the power of roots and resilience. The axed trees survive and sprout leaves despite the forces of concrete and the blight of poverty, proving Sesay’s message that “Hope survives as the subtle, central subject.” 

We look forward to December when two Bay Area photographers present projects based on the murals painted over the plethora of boarded up businesses. In the meantime, visit sfmoma.org for details.