SFMOMA Debuts Massive Mural By French Artist JR At Director’s Dinner

JR, The Chronicles of San Francisco, 2018

Photo Credit: JR – art.net

Last week SFMOMA hosted its annual director’s circle dinner. The director’s circle is a group of top donors who help support the museum by funding programs, artist commissions, and more. This year’s event coincided with the revealing of a magnificent new piece, by French artist, JR.

Neal Benezra and JR at the dinner

Photo Credit: Drew Altizer

The 36-year old JR is a photographer known for his large-scale panoramic works of real-life people. He got his start in graffiti and then moved on to photo-based work after he came across a camera on the Paris Metro. He takes massive black and white xeroxed photos and pastes them to unusual places like on the sides of buildings or on the tops of buses.

JR

Photo Credit: JR – art.net

His latest piece, his first major installation in the Bay Area is called The Chronicles of San Francisco and was made possible by Lynne and Marc Benioff, two members of the director’s circle. The Chronicles of San Francisco is a black and white collage of people, some moving like in a gif or iPhone’s live photo.

Inside JR’s studio truck

Photo Credit: Marc Azoulay, JR – art.net

Over two months in early 2018, JR traveled throughout the city in a specially crafted mobile studio. He invited anyone and everyone, from homeless people to principal dancers at the San Francisco Ballet to local politicians to drag queens, to sit for a moving portrait. JR snapped 1206 different subjects and put them together to create a huge digital mural. The Chronicles of San Francisco takes up over 100 feet of the Roberts Family Gallery on SFMOMA’s ground floor.

Norman Stone and Norah Stone

Photo Credit: Arthur Kobin for Drew Altizer Photography

It’s a fascinating piece that one could stare at all day and never see everything. There’s a Where’s Waldo-quality to it as you come across public figures like basketball star Draymond Green and first partner of California, Jennifer Siebel Newsom. Each person that posed for a photo was asked to share their story. JR and his team recorded what they had to say and these recordings, the untold stories of the faces of SF, can be heard on iPad kiosks adjacent to the mural. JR’s exhibit formally opens to the public on Thursday, May 23 and all 1206 subjects are invited to the opening.

Douglas Durkin and Clara Shin

Photo Credit: Drew Altizer

The 300 or so guests who attended the dinner last week could not stop raving about JR and his incredible study on life in San Francisco. After the artist addressed the crowd, the group headed upstairs for a lively and delicious sit-down dinner catered by McCall’s. The four-course meal consisted of a light lettuce salad with shaved asparagus and fresh English peas, warm baked camembert and Tartine bread, salmon with leek fondue, young potatoes, and horseradish beurre blanc, and a dessert bar with ice cream. Notables in attendance included Norman and Norah Stone, Komal Shal, Sabrina Buell, and Yves Behar.

Komal Shah and Janet Barnes

Photo Credit: Arthur Kobin for Drew Altizer Photography

Matthew Goldman, Ivette Esserman and Jason Goldman

Photo Credit: Arthur Kobin for Drew Altizer Photography

Eric Grayson and Jonathan Heileger

Photo Credit: Arthur Kobin for Drew Altizer Photography

Michelle Meany and Sophia Kinell

Photo Credit: Arthur Kobin for Drew Altizer Photography

Susan Swig, Nick Swig and Randi Fisher

Photo Credit: Drew Altizer

Yves Behar, Sabrina Buell, Sara Williams, Evan Williams

Photo Credit: Drew Altizer

Leah Hearst and Dennis Hearst

Photo Credit: Arthur Kobin for Drew Altizer Photography

Loader