Tag Archives: BAM/PFA


The It List: Five things to do in Berkeley this weekend

Yiddish singer Anthony Russell
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CONVERGENCE One of the highlights of this year’s Jewish Music Festival will be Sunday night’s performance of Convergence by Anthony Mordechai Tzvi Russell, together with Bay Area klezmer trio Veretski Pass. “I knew no precedent of a Yiddish song organically growing out of a Negro Spiritual, but inside my own head — and I hesitate to say this, but in my heart — I felt I didn’t particularly need a precedent,” explains Russell. Convergence combines diverse strains of traditional Jewish and African-American music to explore exile, spirituality, hope and redemption. The performance includes animation work by San Francisco-based artist Meredith Leich. Tickets ($25, $22 for students, seniors and JCC East Bay members) are available from Brown Paper Tickets. 7 p.m. Sunday, March 23, JCC East Bay, 1414 Walnut St.  … Continue reading »

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Review: ‘Yang Fudong: Estranged Paradise’ at BAM/PFA

Yang Fudong: The Evergreen Nature of Romantic Stories, 1999; chromogenic print; 34.65 x 47.24 in.; courtesy of the artist, Marian Goodman Gallery, Paris/New York, and ShanghART
Gallery, Shanghai.
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“Estranged Paradise” — the expansive mid-career survey of videos, video installations, photographs and films by contemporary Chinese artist Yang Fudong at the Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive — is a compelling personal exploration of what it means to be young, or simply alive, in China today. Through still and moving images, Yang  probes the condition of his fellow heirs to an ancient civilization that is transforming itself headlong from Maoist Communist collectivism into the capitalist, consumerist, rapidly urbanizing, still authoritarian country of his birth.

Co-organized by BAM adjunct curator Philippe Pirotte and curator Beatrix Ruf of the Kunsthalle Zurich in Switzerland, where it premiered earlier this year, “Estranged Paradise” brings to Berkeley one of the most influential figures in China’s contemporary art scene and independent cinema movement. Although not chronologically arranged, it offers a fascinating insight into the evolution of this brilliant artist, from his experimental early pieces to his more fully realized recent works. … Continue reading »

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Work starts on new Berkeley Art Museum, to open in 2016

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Construction work has begun on the new Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive which, all things going well, is slated to open in the summer of 2016, bringing bold contemporary architecture into the heart of Berkeley.

The UC Berkeley-owned museum, which includes the Pacific Film Theater, has raised $95 million worth of pledges towards the $100 million goal it needed to create a new home on Center St. at Oxford, the site of a former printing plant owned by the university. The new BAM/PFA is to be designed by New York firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro, architects of New York’s High Line and several museums, including the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston and the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington D.C.

BAM/PFA has been planning to move since 1997 when it was determined that its current building on Bancroft Way — built in 1970 and designed by Mario Ciampi — did not meet present-day seismic standards. It cannot be upgraded without eliminating open exhibition spaces required for the galleries.  … Continue reading »

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Preview: SF International Asian American Film Festival

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The 30th San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival is already under way, with screenings taking place in San Francisco, San Jose, and — as in years past — at our very own Pacific Film Archive. As usual, PFA will be screening some of the Festival’s most interesting and prestigious titles, and the week ahead offers a solid selection of documentaries and dramatic features, with fans of non-fiction cinema particularly well served.

Produced with the assistance of HBO, Iranian-born filmmaker Tanaz Eshaghian’s Love Crimes of Kabul kicks things off at 9:00 pm on Wednesday, March 14th. The director’s previous film, Be Like Others, was an eye-opening and genuinely shocking look at the lives of gay Iranian men forced to undergo sex change operations in order to circumvent their homeland’s onerous morality laws. … Continue reading »

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Shop Talk: The ins and outs of Berkeley businesses

New Molly Mutt HQ in Berkeley
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NEW CAFE AT BAM After a short tenure by Remedy Coffee (which also has a space on Telegraph in Oakland), Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA)’s café on the first floor has been taken over and is now called Babette. The light-filled, concrete-walled space, which gives onto an open courtyard, opened under its new moniker on January 3rd and is serving rustic food — think pulled pork and spicy coleslaw sandwiches and lentil and red chard soup — along with coffee from Ritual and housemade sodas. Husband and wife team Joan Ellis and Patrick Hooker, who live in Berkeley and have 20-plus years of cooking and catering experience under their belts, are at the helm. Babette is open for breakfast and lunch during the week, and coffee and pastries at the weekend. Follow Babette on its Facebook page for menu updates and other news. Babette is accessible through a gate to the right of the museum’s Bancroft Way entrance, and from 2625 Durant Avenue. (Hat tip: Lisa Sibony) … Continue reading »

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The ‘before’ pictures: Berkeley Art Museum/PFA

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Call it “beautiful decay”: these stunning photographs, taken by David Stark Wilson, show the interiors of the future home of the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA).

Just as with the new Magnes, which unveiled its new space on Sunday, BAM/PFA is to be housed in a 1920s-era 1939 building originally designed as a printing plant for UC Berkeley. It is located at 2120 Oxford Street at Center Street, in the heart of downtown.

Is it not fitting that, as the demand for printed thesis, documents, books and monographs has waned, the engine rooms that produced these volumes are now being put to good use while remaining in the cultural realm?

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Reminder: Share your Firestorm memories at BAM

Misrach swimming pool
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As part of a series of public events supporting its current exhibition by Berkeley photographer Richard Misrach, the Berkeley Art Museum is inviting the local community to gather at the museum this Sunday afternoon to share memories of the 1991 Oakland-Berkeley Firestorm.

At the BAM/PFA “Tell Your Stories: Open Mic in the Galleries” event, the museum is turning the microphone over to the community. People will be encouraged to talk about their memories amid Misrach’s compelling photographs, taken 20 years ago during the week following the Firestorm and unveiled for the first time in this exhibition. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley Art Museum mixes old with eye-catching new

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Well over 100 people came out Wednesday night to see for the first time what Berkeley’s new art museum will look like — once it sees the light of day, which will probably be in 2015 when the $90 million required to build it has been raised.

Designs for the Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive were presented by Charles Renfro, principal at New York City-based Diller Scofidio + Renfro, who were appointed to the project in June last year, as … Continue reading »

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Photo essay: Edible learning at the Berkeley Art Museum

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On Saturday, the grounds of the Berkeley Art Museum were transformed into an open campus and living kitchen as myriad food makers and food-related initiatives were displayed to the public — or at least those who had reserved (free) reservations for the event.

OPENEducation was held to commemorate the 40th birthday of Chez Panisse restaurant (wasn’t everything this weekend?). Hundreds of visitors strolled the museum’s gardens and terraces, sipping watermelon agua frescas, tasting fresh-made vegetable tacos while learning about bee-keeping, … Continue reading »

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Berkeley Art Museum selects architects for new home

Charles Renfro, Ricardo Scofidio and Elizabeth Diller of DS+R. Photo: Abelardo Morrell .
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The Berkeley Art Museum-Pacific Film Archive has chosen New York architecture firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro to design its new building in downtown Berkeley. The announcement follows a nationwide search which saw ten architecture firms considered for the project.

DS+R is tasked with transforming the former University of California printing plant at Center and Oxford streets in downtown Berkeley for BAM/PFA, after the museum decided to abandon plans to create a building from scratch. In 2006, the … Continue reading »

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Berkeley Art Museum seeks architect, again

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Following its decision to move into the former University of California printing plant at Center and Oxford streets in downtown Berkeley (pictured top right), the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive is looking for an architecture firm to revamp the space for them.

According to John King  in today’s Chronicle, ten architectural firms have submitted initial proposals and the museum hopes to narrow the list to three and name its designer in June.

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