Michael Jang, Ramones Free Concert, Civic Center Plaza, San Francisco, 1979, gelatin silver print. Courtesy of the artist / © Michael Jang

Michael Jang, Ramones Free Concert, Civic Center Plaza, San Francisco, 1979, gelatin silver print. Courtesy of the artist / © Michael Jang

Talks & Panels

In Conversation: Michael Jang, Sandra S. Phillips, and Nion McEvoy

Michael Jang and Sandra S. Phillips in conversation with McEvoy Arts Founder and President Nion McEvoy about the exhibition Michael Jang’s California.

On the closing day of the exhibition Michael Jang’s California, photographer Michael Jang and curator Sandra S. Phillips are joined by Nion McEvoy for a wide-ranging conversation about the resonances of place, person, and time in Jang’s work. This first retrospective exhibition presents a rare, immersive journey through Jang’s career, from the 1970s to the present, and is curated by Phillips, SFMOMA curator emerita of photography and Jang’s longtime collaborator. It assembles dozens of prints from seminal projects as well as ephemera from his past photographic process. What is apparent is Jang’s uncanny ability to capture both the idiosyncratic and the quintessential in a wide range of subjects. The survey is augmented with photographs from the McEvoy Family Collection by Diane Arbus, Lee Friedlander, and Garry Winogrand that situate Jang’s work among his major influences.


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.

Sandra S. Phillips is curator emerita of photography at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, which she joined in 1987. She has organized numerous exhibitions of modern and contemporary photography including Exposed: Voyeurism, Surveillance and the Camera Since 1870, Diane Arbus Revelations, Dorothea Lange: American Photographs, and Daido Moriyama: Stray Dog, among others. Phillips was previously curator at the Vassar College Art Museum, and has taught at various institutions including the State University of New York, New Paltz; Parsons School of Design, New York; San Francisco State University; and the San Francisco Art Institute. She has authored and co-authored numerous catalogs, including Charmed Places: Hudson River Artists and Their Houses, Studios, and Vistas (New York: H.N. Abrams, 1988); Perpetual Motif: The Art of Man Ray (New York: Abbeville Press, 1989); and André Kertész: Of Paris and New York (Chicago: The Art Institute of Chicago, 1985).