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Who is Michael Jang?

San Francisco-based photographer Michael Jang’s SFMOMA mural installation, The Whole Story (2022-23), was previously on view and free to see on Floor 2. The mural featured Jang's playful photos outlandishly staged as graphic posters or musician portraits, wheatpasted with an ever-changing landscape of writing and drawings. An ode to the city's storied graffiti community, Jang’s frequent interventions mean repeat visits to SFMOMA were rewarded as the mural constantly evolved.

Who is Michael Jang? Jang (b. 1951) moved to San Francisco in the 1970s to earn a MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute. While working in commercial photography, Jang was also busy documenting the sub-cultures and intimate social circles around him, immersing himself in the city's lively punk scene. This included a pioneering series in which he photographed his extended Chinese American family nd their suburban surroundings. In addition to his joyful or joking portraits, his documentary-style photography offers an honest view of quintessentially Californian moments, like the huddled mass gathered on the Golden Gate Bridge for its fiftieth anniversary, or Sex Pistol concerts and David Bowie sightings.

Michael Jang Zine Lunch Special Published by SFMOMA Cover ImageInterior Image Michael Jang Zine Lunch Special published by SFMOMA

In celebration of his visitor-favorite mural, Jang worked with the Museum Store to produce a collection available only at SFMOMA. In May of 2023, Jang’s limited-edition zine Lunch Special   was released, a document of his wheat-pasted works throughout San Francisco over the last two years. Through these installations, Jang expresses his unique perspectives on the Chinese-American experience, recent waves of racial hatred, and popular culture, all with his customarily playful wit and acute social awareness.

Michael Jang x SFMOMA exclusive t-shirt

The Michael Jang x SFMOMA T-shirt  features an image from the mural and is available in adult sizes small through XL.

Michael Jang x SFMOMA exclusive pin

The Michael Jang x SFMOMA Enamel Pin,  featuring graphics from the mural is an ode to perception. "Do you actually see upside down? Because the front of the eye is curved, it bends the light, creating an upside down image on the retina. The brain eventually turns the image the right way up."

 Michael Jang Golden Gate Bridge Fiftieth Anniversary 1987 custom print SFMOMA

In addition to products inspired by the mural, the Museum Store has collaborated with Jang to produce a custom print  of his photograph Golden Gate Bridge Fiftieth Anniversary, (1987), which is in SFMOMA’s permanent collection.

Who is Michael Jang book published by Altelier Editions D.A.P.

Required reading: In 2019 Atelier Editions published Jang’s first major monograph, Who is Michael Jang,  highlighting his most important bodies of work and featuring an introduction by his longtime collaborator and SFMOMA Curator Emerita of Photography, Sandra Phillips.

Jang's Bay Area Walls project, Michael Jang: The Whole Story (2022) is free to see through June 18, 2023.

Michael Jang

San Francisco photographer Michael Jang has spent a lifetime documenting the world around him. In early 2021, he wheat-pasted a series of his photographic images taken in the 1970s over a boarded-up storefront on Clement Street, the heart of San Francisco’s unofficial Chinatown. Unsanctioned public installations have since become his primary form, fueling his artistic practice with new resonance.