In 1973, when he was 21, Michael Jang signed up for a summer photography course with Lisette Model, whose most famous student was Diane Arbus. Jang needed a place to stay, and had cousins in the Bay Area who offered him a room. Jang thought he might wander around the city snapping street scenes, but he soon realized that his cousins offered even better subject matter, so he started recording their domestic life. The resulting collection, The Jangs, provides a glimpse of the decade that shimmers with a Lynchian dark innocence. In one black-and-white photo, a young boy lifts an extended pop bottle to his mouth while, outside on the deck, a man hefts a golf club. Another captures a woman in a leisure suit watering a garden in the dark. Jang has that elusive eye for the evocative that makes seemingly ordinary images timeless. Images from The Jangs have made their way into SFMOMAs permanent collection; tonight, the artist hosts a reception at a venue that reflects, he says, his desire to give back to the community that provided an early inspiration.
Oct. 24-Nov. 21, 2008