Parking Lot Gallery In SoMa Highlights Work Of Longtime SF Photographers

Photos: Courtesy of Troy Holden
By Brittany Hopkins - Published on July 19, 2016.

If you haven't taken a moment to peruse the outdoor photography exhibition that's been livening up the surface parking lot across from Adolf Gasser Photography (181 Second St.) for years, now's the time to drop by. A handful of local photographers spent this past Saturday installing 'City At Large III,' a new exhibition featuring 57 large-scale black-and-white prints for the public to enjoy—free of charge.

Troy Holden, one of the local photographers and curators behind the exhibition, says this is the fourth time a new show has appeared on the brick walls surrounding the parking lot. Years ago, a photography nonprofit residing above Adolph Gasser installed the first showcase; once those photos began to wither, the Adolph Gasser team asked Holden and a few other local photographers who frequent its photo lab to continue the project.

In its first two exhibitions, the group went from showcasing the work of friends to working with better-known photographers, Holden said. This time around, they're using the space to pay homage to photographers who've captured the Bay Area for three to four decades. Of the eight photographers participating, five are over the age of 50 and four are over the age of 70.

The complete exhibition.

One of the featured photographers Holden is particularly thrilled to have on board is Michael Jang. Throughout his 40-year career, Jang has captured subcultures, cultural icons and memorable moments both locally and abroad. 10 of his prints have been acquired by the SFMOMA, including 1987's Golden Gate Bridge Fiftieth Anniversary, which graces the entrance to the SFMOMA's 'California and the West' exhibition. The parking lot gallery has an exact replica of the massive print—minus SFMOMA's $25 admission fee.

Michael Jang standing beneath his photograph, 'Golden Gate Bridge Fiftieth Anniversary.'

Other longtime photographers now on display include Maury Edelstein, who captured the legendary 'San Francisco twins' Marian and Vivian Brown for an entire generation; San Francisco native Dave Glass; and renowned street photographer Ted Pushinsky, best known locally for his work in the Mission.

The 57 large-scale prints, posted high enough to not be obscured by parked cars, have a seamless appearance—but Holden says installing them was no small feat. Each photo was printed across multiple 3-by-4-foot sheets of paper. Using ladders and a lift, they were then glued in place with more than 50 gallons of wheat paste, made of flour, sugar and water. 

The parking lot is void of water and electricity, so the team had to work with the Subway shop next door to run a 200-foot hose through the street and into the lot. They set up a propane camp stove to boil the paste.

Jang is a verb #cityatlarge Thursday July 21, 181 2nd St SF 5:30pm-8

A video posted by Michael Jang (@michaeljangsf) on

14 hours of hard work later, Holden said the exhibition was well worth the effort—especially since it will be on view until the prints fall down in the next nine to 12 months.

All are invited to the parking lot at 6pm this Thursday, July 21st, for a casual celebration with the featured artists. Some, including Jang, will be selling small, affordable prints. 

Otherwise, the parking lot gallery is publicly accessible during Adolph Gasser's business hours: 9am-6pm Mondays through Fridays and 10am-5pm Saturdays.

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