Kara Walker Receives Major Commission from SFMOMA

Artist Kara Walker has been commissioned by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) to create the first site-specific installation for its Roberts Family Gallery, the institution announced earlier this week.

For the commission, Walker is planning to create a large-scale installation responding to the gallery’s glass enclosure. The piece will also address historical preservation techniques. SFMOMA’s curator of contemporary art Eungie Joo organized the showing, which will be open to the public with free admission in July 2024.

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A fisherman sits along dark blue water fishing.

“Informed by the fear and loss experienced as a global society during the COVID-19 pandemic, Walker’s new commission helps us consider the memorialization of trauma and the objectives of technology. Facing Howard Street and the world, her striking installation will allow us to move towards wonder and healing,” said Joo in a statement.

This is the first time an artist has made a site-specific installation in the space, which boasts floor-to-ceiling windows on two sides. The gallery has previously featured installations by such artists as Richard Serra, Diego Rivera, and JR.

Walker, who is examining histories of anti-Black racism and misogyny, sometimes in controversial ways, has shown work at the museum over the last 25 years.

“The commission is part of our vision to present work that is at once formally innovative and inextricably connected to topics of meaning in our daily lives. At the same time, we are working to increase the spectrum of arts experiences available in our free spaces, to ensure that SFMOMA is welcoming and accessible to as many people as possible. We look forward to sharing this compelling new work with our community,” said SFMOMA’s director Christopher Bedford in a statement.

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