Michael Jang’s California
Curated by Sandra S. Phillips, curator emerita of photography at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Michael Jang’s California is the first retrospective exhibition of the artist, on view September 27th, 2019 to January 18th, 2020 at McEvoy Foundation for the Arts (San Francisco, CA).
It assembles dozens of vintage and contemporary prints as well as notebooks and ephemera from seminal encounters over the years. This survey presents a rare journey through Jang’s career, from his early student work in the 1970s to commercial headshots of aspiring TV weather reporters in the 1980s to his series on teenage garage bands in the early 2000s. A selection of works from the McEvoy Family Collection by Diane Arbus, Lee Friedlander, and Garry Winogrand situates Jang’s work among his major influences.
Michael Jang’s California explores the artist’s career as a portrait and street photographer in California, concentrating on Jang’s early work as he was discovering the medium.
While Michael Jang has had a significant career as a professional portrait photographer, he has also been photographing people in the streets for over fifty years. As a student at California Institute of the Arts and the San Francisco Art Institute in the 1970s, he demonstrated an uncanny ability to capture both the idiosyncratic and the quintessential in a wide range of subjects, from his own family at home in suburbia to celebrities of the era partying at the Beverly Hilton.
In conjunction with the exhibition, Who is Michael Jang?, the first monograph of Jang’s work, is to be released by Los Angeles’ Atelier Éditions this Fall.
Michael Jang spent nearly four decades working as a successful commercial portrait photographer. Unbeknownst to the world, however, he was assembling a vast archive of thousands of remarkable images, authoring several now-iconic series: The Jangs (1973), Beverly Hilton (1973), San Francisco (1973–1987), Summer Weather (1983), College (1972–1973), Punks & Poets (1978–1980), and Garage Band (2001). Jang revealed nothing of that vast archive for almost 40 years until 2001, when he submitted a number of images for consideration to San Francisco’s Museum of Modern Art. His work attracted immediate acclaim, and for the past fifteen years, he has revealed those images in a series of national and international exhibitions and books.
The artist’s first major monograph, Who Is Michael Jang?, introduced by long-time collaborator and his exhibition curator Sandra S. Phillips, offers readers an eagerly anticipated examination of Jang’s truly idiosyncratic oeuvre.
About the Author
Michael Jang (b. 1951) is a photographer who has documented a number of groups and subcultures from all strata of society. He has earned a living as a portrait photographer, capturing iconic figures such as Jimi Hendrix, Ronald Reagan, and Robin Williams, among others.
His work is featured in the collections of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, Cooperstown; the New York Public Library; the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Cleveland; and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Who is Michael Jang? (Los Angeles: Atelier Éditions, 2019), the first monograph of Jang’s work, is to be released this Fall. Jang received his BFA from California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, and MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute. He lives and works in San Francisco.
More info about the exhibition on McEvoy Foundation for the Arts website.
Hardcover: 280 pages
Publisher: Atelier Éditions (September 17, 2019)
Size: 9 x 1 x 12 inches
Weight: 4.1 pounds
Michael Jang (born 1951) has practiced photography in San Francisco for more than 50 years. After decades of successful commercial portraiture, Jang began to revisit the vast archive of unseen, spontaneous images he has amassed, many of which betray the influence of celebrated street photographers such as Lee Friedlander, Garry Winogrand and Lisette Model.