Tag Archives: Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive
“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 »
Interested in postponing the start of fall? Then indulge in some classic films at the (free) Endless Summer Cinema outdoor movie series.
Endless Summer Cinema, presented by the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive and the Downtown Berkeley Association, features two nights of free short movies and feature films screened outdoors on the Crescent Lawn at Oxford Street between Center and Addison.
On Friday, Sept. 27, sit back, perhaps with a blanket, to enjoy Philip Kaufman’s 1978 remake of the 1950s vintage science fiction thriller Invasion of the Body Snatchers, which tackled the perils of mass conformity. The newer film follows a health inspector (Donald Sutherland) who uncovers the existence of a growing species of “pod people” inhabiting the bodies of human clones hiding among us in plain sight. The movie was shot in San Francisco and, along with Sutherland, stars Brooke Adams, Jeff Goldblum and Leonard Nimoy. (115 minutes)
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Although you might not guess it right away, Zarhouie Abdalian’s spare, enigmatic audio-visual sculptural installation at the Berkeley Art Museum has deep roots here. The Free Speech Movement was born at UC Berkeley in the 1960s, after all, and Abdalian’s elegant, cryptogrammatic forms, once they’re deciphered, add up poetically to a complex meditation on suppression of free speech and its implications for democracy.
Unlike overtly political art, Abdalian’s conceptual, minimalist ensemble acts upon the visitor stealthily, like a three-dimensional rebus. Its play between silence and sound, the visible and the invisible, demands imaginative leaps. The effort pays off with expanding reverberations of allusion and meaning. … Continue reading »
PARKS MAKE LIFE BETTER The City of Berkeley is hosting Parks Make Life Better month, and this weekend a celebration at San Pablo Park will cap off the festivities. Volunteers will be able to plant trees across Berkeley from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., with transportation from San Pablo Park provided, followed by a community barbecue from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. The barbecue will be followed by a carnival and landscaping and tree-climbing demonstrations until 3 p.m. The event will begin at 2800 Park St. on Saturday July 20. Free admission. View the full Parks Make Life Better flier.
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Try to conjure a pantheon of great painters from the 16th through the 21st centuries — the likes of Brueghel, Rubens, Renoir, Munch, Beckmann and Pollock — channeled through the sensibility of a contemporary artist with a diabolical sense of humor, a darkly critical take on culture and society, an eclectic appetite for influences from everywhere and extraordinary painterly skills, and you’d still never imagine the paintings in Nicole Eisenman/MATRIX 248 at the Berkeley Art Museum.
Her “Tea Party”, 2011 (above), reveals a quartet of hardcore white Americans (one’s even in clown-like white-face) hunkering down in their windowless survival bunker awaiting… what? The end times? The zombie apocalypse? The lone woman dozes, clutching a rifle. Two men furl sticks of dynamite while a decrepit, ragged Uncle Sam, tea bag dangling from one hand, hunches glassy-eyed over his American-eagle-decorated mug. Man’s best friend curls at his feet, fast asleep, next to an all-American hooked rug. The shelves behind them are stacked with supplies: cans of Bumble Bee tuna, a jug of water, gold bullion. It’s a group portrait of deluded, impotent defeat in the guise of readiness. … Continue reading »
In our wired era of ubiquitous information and perpetual image bombardment, all of human history, cultural production included, is online and available for plunder: to sample, remix, recycle and repurpose. This embarrassment of riches has not been lost on artists. In music, film, TV, literature, performance, visual art, you name it, today’s artists steal voraciously from everywhere.
But when everything is up for grabs 24/7, it’s a rare artist who can exploit this vast archive to make distinctive works that speak eloquently to our contemporary condition. Maybe it takes an artist who’s a cultural hybrid him- or herself, who inhabits disparate communities and has a polyglot sensibility, to craft unexpected and compelling forms from the multifarious influences we are bathed in from birth.
Berkeley is currently hosting two exhibitions by contemporary visual artists who meet, even exceed, the requirements for inspired appropriation: “Freedom of Expression: The Work of Enrique Chagoya” at Kala Art Institute through July 6, and Nicole Eisenman/MATRIX 248 at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive through July 14. … Continue reading »
FINAL COUNTDOWN Classical music concerts often have some programmatic idea: works that influenced each other, or pieces that provide an interesting tonal contrast. But The Opus Project has a particularly audacious notion: its Saturday night concert features 21 Opus 5 pieces by composers ranging from Stravinsky to Cage to Britten (it’s the centennial of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring — an Opus 5!). The multi-media Opus 5 follows on, unsurprisingly, from Opera 1 through 4 (pedantic, moi?). The earliest work on Saturday will be a movement from Schoenberg’s Peleas und Melisande; the most recent Rabbits Frolicking Through the Meadow by 20-year old Anthony Ragus, composed this year. Opus 5 is at 8 p.m. on Saturday, May 25, at Berkeley Arts Festival, 2133 University Avenue. Tickets are from $10. … Continue reading »
“It’s been a long hard road. Standing here today I feel both relief and excitement,” Lawrence Rinder, Director of the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive said, speaking on Tuesday in the shell of a building that will one day be a gleaming new cultural center in the heart of downtown Berkeley.
Building work has begun in earnest on converting the Art Moderne former UC Berkeley printing plant on Center St. into a strikingly contemporary museum designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro. Plant Construction, who have worked on many museums, including the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco, were selected as lead contractors. The parking lot on Addison adjacent to the 1939 building has been largely demolished. Soon, major excavation work will begin, according to David Vogel, project director at EHDD Architecture, who are the appointed executing architects on the project. He spoke at a media preview held in the boarded up building on Tuesday morning this week. … Continue reading »
Major demolition is under way in downtown Berkeley on the site of the new location for the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive.
The UC Berkeley-owned parking lot at 2150 Addison Street, on the corner of Oxford Street, is being torn down, and several large trees have been removed, to clear the ground for construction.
The UC Berkeley-owned museum is creating a new home, designed by New York firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro, from a 1930s former printing plant owned by the university. The new BMA/PFA is slated to open in the summer of 2016, bringing more bold contemporary architecture into the heart of Berkeley. … Continue reading »
UC Berkeley officials held a public hearing Wednesday night on plans to build a new aquatics center at 2222 Bancroft Ave., east of Oxford, and were told the one-story building is a lost opportunity for improving the area and would be too disruptive to parking.
UC hopes to start construction on the $15 million project in August to alleviate the crowding that now takes place at Spieker Pool. Currently, all 120 of Cal’s swimmers, divers and water polo athletes, as well as recreational swimmers, must use that facility, putting a severe strain on its capacity. … Continue reading »
MARCH MADNESS, BORP STYLE The annual Northern California Hoops Classic wheelchair basketball tournament runs all weekend at the James Kenney Recreation Center, 1720 8th Street. Hosted by the Bay Area Outreach & Recreation Program (BORP), Berkeley’s own BORP All-Stars — an adult team — and BORP Bay Cruisers — a youth team and the reigning West Coast Conference champions — are among the teams competing. Games run from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Mar. 23 (nine games) and from 9 a.m. to noon on Sunday, Mar. 24 (four games). Admission free.
MASH UP AT BAM How does this sound: “The lyrics of Bob Dylan set to the music of Prince? Or the lyrics of Prince set to the music of Bob Dylan?” That’s the promise of this week’s L@te event on Friday, Mar. 22 at BAM, Positively Alphabet Street. PC Munoz’s Singing Blood does the mash up of folk and funk. Also on offer is Schumann’s First String Quartet and a video piece from Christopher Ariza. Tickets are $7 and doors open at 5 p.m. for the 7:30 p.m. performance. … Continue reading »
ALL THAT JAZZ The second annual JazzGirls Day will be at Berkeley High on Saturday, Mar. 9. JazzGirls Day is for girls only, aged 10 and older, who play jazz or are thinking about trying it out. Participants are invited to join professional female jazz musicians and educators for the afternoon. Among those leading master classes and jam sessions are singer Pamela Rose (see photo), pianist Susan Muscarella, trumpeter Ellen Seeling, sax player Jeanne Feinberg, and trombonist Sarah Cline. JazzGirls Day is held in collaboration with Jazz at Lincoln Center, and is co-sponsored by BUSD, Berkeley Jazz Parents’ Association, The Jazzschool and SF Jazz. JazzGirls Day is a free event. Rm. A201, Berkeley High, from 1-4 p.m. for the performance part, and 4-5:30 p.m. in The Little Theater for a free film screening on women and jazz (families welcome, and free popcorn promised).
MAKING VISIBLE Photographer Ken Schles documented life in his Lower East Side neighborhood in New York for a decade, publishing the results in Invisible City in 1988. To accompany an exhibition of Schles’ work, the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism is hosting a reception, talk by Schles and book signing on Friday, Mar. 8. As the exhibition curators put it, “His camera fixed the instances of his observations, and these moments become the foundation of his invisible city.” Reception from 6 p.m., talk and signing 7-8:30 p.m., North Gate, Rm. 105, Friday. Admission is free. … Continue reading »
Yesterday, the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive announced it had begun construction work on its new building in downtown Berkeley.
The UC Berkeley-owned museum has raised the lion’s share of the $100 million it needs to create a new home for itself on Center Street at Oxford, on the fringes of the Cal campus.
BAM/PFA is set to move from its current location on Bancroft Way into the new space, designed by New York architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro, in early 2016.
Berkeleyside caught up with BAM/PFA Director Lawrence Rinder to find out what the dramatic new building will mean for the museum and for the city of Berkeley. … Continue reading »