Jenifer K Wofford’s vibrant Pattern Recognition speaks for itself. Instead of POW! BANG! or WHAM!, comic-book speech bubbles exclaim RUTH ASAWA! BERNICE BING! CARLOS VILLA! and the names of other Asian American artists who lived and worked in the San Francisco Bay Area. These familiar cartoon graphics give voice to Wofford’s mural, which embeds recognizable Asian decorative patterns within a festive 1980s design vocabulary to celebrate Asian American immigrant histories and cultures.
Pattern Recognition’s speech bubbles shout out the names of local Asian American artists as a playful way to reconcile historical omissions. For the patterned background, Wofford chose motifs found in works in the museum collection as well as traditional designs drawn from Asian cultures represented in the surrounding communities.
By showcasing the cultures of local immigrant communities and home-grown artists with friendly graphics and familiar patterns, Wofford, a San Francisco–based Filipina American artist and educator, aims to welcome the museum’s neighbors, to let them know that this is a place where they belong.
About the Lawrence and Goretti Lui Hyde Street Art Wall
Pattern Recognition is the first commission for the Lawrence and Gorretti Lui Hyde Street Art Wall, a 7-by-30-foot site on the exterior of the Akiko Yamazaki and Jerry Yang Pavilion. A new space in the city for the presentation of public art, the art wall will host an ongoing series of commissioned works primarily by Bay Area Asian American artists. Facing out toward the Tenderloin, the Lui Art Wall is a prominent venue to recognize local talent, raise issues relevant to our neighbors — from immigrant traditions to concepts of sanctuary — and address the Asian American experience more broadly.
Learn more about the Bay Area artists Wofford honors in her mural.
Image: Pattern Recognition (detail), 2020, by Jenifer K Wofford (American). Acrylic on aluminum. Commissioned by the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, courtesy of the artist. Photograph courtesy of the artist.