Seymour's Darkroom: Murals
In 1976, Seymour Rosen’s photographs were exhibited at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. That groundbreaking exhibition, commissioned by SFMOMA as part of their bicentennial celebration, titled “In Celebration of Ourselves,” included over 700 photographs as well as materials from 34 California art environments.
Most of the images and objects on display illustrated events, people, and arts that had never before received museum exposure—including street murals. Rosen later published a book with the same title (1979) that documented the range of works included in that noteworthy exhibition - in this book, Rosen reflects on how these murals developed and how they reflect the creative community at the time.
"Murals. In the early 1970s, the barrios of San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Sacramento began turning their walls into political paintings, many imitating the style of the great Mexican muralists and telling stories of the heroes of the Mexican revolution. Estrada Courts, a housing project in Los Angeles, has more than fifty murals in a two block area and another thirty are underway. In San Diego, painters from all over the state are helping paint pylons under the Coronado Bridge as part of a park being built there.
"Fine Arts" committees have recently initiated programs like those of local government agencies which for years have supported, encouraged, and somewhat formalized the mural movement, doing their best to promote a vital art which is slowly spreading throughout the cities. Since the start of the '70s, independent, "non-ethnic" artists, sometimes commissioned by business interest, have also added to the state-wide proliferation of murals."
Enjoy a quick stroll through the streets of California in the 70s with these photos of murals by Seymour Rosen!
Captions have been included where information is available.