San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA): Chronicles of San Francisco

Finalist 2020

“The Chronicles of San Francisco” is a new art installation at SFMOMA, designed by internationally recognized artist JR and installed by SNA Displays, to celebrate the city's extraordinary and diverse people on a state-of-the-art, 107-foot-long digital canvas. The goals of this project were to celebrate the diversity of the city of San Francisco and to bring a modern, approachable exhibit to SFMOMA where people could literally see themselves.

To create the piece, JR set up a mobile studio in 22 locations around the city, where he filmed, photographed and interviewed more than 1,200 people from across San Francisco's multifaceted communities.

“This is giving museums the ability to bring video art out of the traditional darkened room and into wide-open spaces like the Roberts Family Gallery at SFMOMA,” Sensory Interactive Managing Director Christopher Graefe said. “We think we’re seeing the beginning of a trend toward more of these types of high-profile installations.”

A key part of this effort was finding the right display configuration, size, and placement to create the most inviting and immersive experience for viewers. As part of this effort, Sensory Interactive, SNA Displays, and the JR team worked together to explore a variety of design options, particularly for joining the two planes of the display at their intersection. Ultimately, the team settled on a curved connection and a slightly concave angle for the two planes. This approach draws visitors into the space and maximizes their sense of immersion as they are surrounded by the massive, slowly moving digital image. The massive LED display, featuring a 2.5 mm pixel pitch, was manufactured and installed by SNA Displays. The digital display contains nearly 26 million pixels and is likely the highest-resolution LED screen in the U.S.

“It’s pretty special to be part of a project that merges art and digital technology in such a bold, beautiful way,” said SNA Displays Senior Director of Marketing Gerard Shallo. “And this installation really highlights the fact that the right technology can help bring world-class artwork to life.”

Presented in SFMOMA’s soaring Roberts Family Gallery, “The Chronicles of San Francisco” runs for approximately one year. The exhibition is free and accessible to the public.

Design Firms: 

Sensory Interactive, JR

Client: 

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)

Project Area: 

1,748 sq ft

Open Date: 

May 2019

Project Budget: 

N/A

Photo Credits: 

SNA Displays & Sensory Interactive

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