Tag Archives: Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive

Berkeley Art Museum’s iconic home closes after 44 years

Berkeley Art Museum closing in Berkeley, California
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On Sunday, hundreds of people swarmed through every nook and cranny, every cantilevered balcony and ramp, within the concrete hulk of the Berkeley Art Museum at 2626 Bancroft Way. They came to say goodbye to a building that has hosted innumerable highly regarded exhibitions over four decades, as well as art installations, fashionable events, and parties.

Built in 1970, and designed by architect Mario Ciampi during the brief reign of Brutalist architecture, the UC Berkeley-owned museum has as many detractors as fans. In his closing speech, BAM/PFA director Lawrence Rinder expressed both his fondness for the building and the occasional frustration of dealing with its constraints. The building has been deemed seismically unsound, and a brand new museum is being built in its stead. The new BAM/PFA, designed by New York’s Diller Scofidio + Renfro, is set to open in January, 2016 on the site of a former Cal printing press in downtown Berkeley. … Continue reading »

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

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GOODBYE TO THE OLD BERKELEY ART MUSEUM For 44 years, the Berkeley Art Museum at 2626 Bancroft Ave. has been a galvanizing force for culture in Berkeley and beyond. Many of the world’s greatest artists have performed or displayed their work there. But the Brutalist building designed by Mario Ciampi, and opened in 1970, is not seismically safe. It will close at the end of 2014 as BAM prepares for its move in early 2016 into a new 82,000-square foot home on Center Street designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro. To celebrate the transition, BAM/PFA is throwing itself a goodbye party on Sunday called Let’s Go! A Farewell Revel. Starting at 11 a.m. and lasting until 5 p.m., the free celebration includes a create-your-own-museum art workshop, a dance battle by TURFinc, “vibrant vocals” from the women’s group, Kitka, a performance by pianist/composer Sarah Cahill of Gyorgy Ligeti’s 1962 composition “Poème symphonique” for 100 metronomes, and more. (Be sure to check out the Kickstarter campaign in progress to record the acoustics of the building.) The day will end with a procession from the Bancroft building through the campus to the new structure at 2155 Center St. Luckily, the forecast calls for a mix of sun and clouds. During the year it is closed, BAM/PFA will put on mobile exhibits around town. The PFA will continue to show films at its current site on Bancroft, across the street from the art museum. … Continue reading »

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The Late L@TE: Terry Riley plays BAM/PFA as curtain falls

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Five years ago BAM/PFA launched L@TE, a music series curated by Berkeley pianist Sarah Cahill that transformed the gallery space into a reverberant concert hall. Given Cahill’s commitment to performing and presenting new music in various forms and permutations it’s not surprising that she booked minimalist pioneer Terry Riley as the opening act. In a neat feat of closure, the pianist will be on hand again Friday for the final L@TE event as BAM/PFA makes its slow transition into its new building at Oxford and Center (which is slated to open in early 2016).

Still a creative force at 79, Riley will be joined by his son, guitarist and composer Gyan Riley, an important figure in his own right who released a beautiful improv-laced album last year, Eviyan Live (Victo), featuring the acoustic collective trio Eviyan with violinist/vocalist Iva Bittová and clarinetist (and former Berkeleyan) Evan Ziporyn. … Continue reading »

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‘The Activist': Locally sourced treasure of a movie

The Activist
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Briefly released to theaters in late 1969 and since largely forgotten, this was director/writer/producer Art Napoleon’s final film. Napoleon – whose previous work, including the 1950s TV series ‘Whirlybirds’ and the Fabian vehicle Ride the Wild Surf (1964), displayed next to no political consciousness — immediately gave up cinema for psychotherapy and relocated to Europe in the wake of The Activist‘s poor critical and box-office reception.

The film’s title refers to main character Mike Corbett, a Berkeley senior suspended nine units short of his degree because of his dedication to radical politics. Played by real-life activist Mike Smith (one of the Oakland Seven put on trial for ‘conspiracy to commit two misdemeanors’ stemming from October 1967’s Stop the Draft Week demonstrations), Corbett is a true believer who earned his stripes as a Mississippi Freedom Rider. … Continue reading »

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

2012 Sunday Streets. Photo: Alan Tobey
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SUNDAY STREETS Sunday Streets is back for a third year on Oct. 12, and it’s certainly the biggest event of the weekend, taking over Shattuck Avenue from Haste to Rose from 11 am to 5 pm. It’s a chance to see the city in automobile-free mode as tens of thousands of people walk, bike, skate, discover, dance, and play along a car-free Shattuck Avenue. Businesses along the route host musicians and artists, restaurants and eateries offer outdoor seating and special  menus. Don’t miss the Vine St. Block Party, with a wine and beer garden by Vintage Berkeley, eats by The Local Butcher Shop and Juicebar, live music, ACCI artist vendors, A Priori’s open house, and Twig & Fig’s annual paper sale. For a list of all the activities and festivities along the route, visit the Sunday Streets website. … Continue reading »

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

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JENNIFER KOH Violinist Jennifer Koh is no stranger to Berkeley, although Berkeley audiences may know her as Einstein, a role she undertook when she played in Einstein on the Beach at Cal Performances. This time she plays as herself — a powerful soloist — when she performs Sibelius’ Violin Concerto with the Berkeley Symphony tonight, Thursday Oct. 2, at 7 p.m. Also on the program are Elgar’s Enigma Variations and Oscar Bettison’s Sea Shaped in its world premiere. Tickets for the Zellerbach Hall show cost $15-$74. … Continue reading »

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Gabrielle Selz’s ‘Unstill Life’ provides peek into the modern art world with its glamour, ambition, heartbreak

Gabrielle Selz and Peter Selz. Photo: Courtesy of Gabrielle Selz
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When Gabrielle Selz was growing up in New York in the 1960s, her house was filled with artists who have become icons of the time: Mark Rothko, Willem de Kooning, Helen Frankenthaler, and Alberto Giacometti.

Selz’s father was Peter Selz – then a curator of painting and sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art, a man whom the New York Times dubbed “Mr. Modern Art.” Peter Selz moved to Berkeley in 1965 to become the founding director of the Berkeley Art Museum, a position that allowed him to showcase West Coast artists. He highlighted Funk, film, and ceramicists like Peter Voulkos and Robert Arneson who were not even considered true artists at the time. Peter Selz later became project director for Christo’s Running Fence, the 24.5-mile long billowing fabric fence that ran over the Marin County hills in 1976. … Continue reading »

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Human rights made strikingly visible at Berkeley show

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Human rights organizations often depend on the media’s megaphone, calling malefactors to account by publicizing their misdeeds. So it’s something of a paradox that Berkeley’s most influential and visionary NGO dedicated to the international struggle for human rights, the Human Rights Center at UC Berkeley School of Law, tends to operate under the radar. In marking the center’s 20th anniversary, the HRC is presenting an alternately breathtaking and hair-raising photo exhibition, Envisioning Human Rights, part of a new effort to raise public awareness about the organization’s vital work. … Continue reading »

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

The San Francisco Mime Troupe brings its latest, "Ripple Effect," to Willard Park this weekend. Photo courtesy of the San Francisco Mime Troupe
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MIME TROUPE Each year the San Francisco Mime Troupe unleashes its Bay Area brand of political satire on the issues du jour. This year’s are no surprise: out-of-this-world rents, techie transplants, Silicon Valley, and surveillance. The 55th annual production, “Ripple Effect,” finds members of San Francisco’s various rival factions all stuck on a boat together in the middle of the Bay. The show makes its third and final Berkeley stop this weekend, at Willard Park (2730 Hillegass) at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Music starts a bit earlier and the whole thing’s free. … Continue reading »

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Looking intently: The James Cahill legacy at BAM/PFA

Man and Servant Beneath Trees by Shen Shichong
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The dualities of life and art are never more apparent than they are in “Looking Intently: The James Cahill Legacy,” an intimate exhibit with boundless implications running now through December 21 at Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive.

Even the exhibit itself is binary: the Chinese, Ming and Qing period paintings organized by Julia M. White, senior curator for Asian art and currently on display, will be “refreshed” in mid-October. It’s a bonanza, a two-for-one, as an entirely new set of mostly 15th to 16th century works from the late Professor Emeritus James Cahill’s “Ching Yuan Chai” collection is presented in the museum’s upper gallery for the exhibit’s “second rotation.” The unusual maneuver is both good for visitors—they get to see more of the exquisite collection—and for the paintings. By limiting the over-400-year-old paintings’ prolonged exposure to light and curtailing gravity’s pull while they hang; their delicacy and endurance are respected.

Cahill, born in Fort Bragg and a Berkeley High school graduate, went on to become a Fulbright Scholar, an award-winning author, a sought-after curator and guest lecturer, an acclaimed art history educator at UC Berkeley, and a widely-respected collector of East Asian art. … Continue reading »

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Gallery: Fans celebrate Berkeley art museum milestone

Crowds turned out Thursday evening to celebrate a milestone in the new Berkeley art museum project downtown. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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Thursday evening, community members turned out in droves to sign the final steel beam for Berkeley’s new art museum before it was lifted high into the air by a crane and set in place.

The Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive is undergoing a complete rebuild in a new downtown Berkeley location, west of Oxford Street between Center and Addison, with its opening set for January 2016.

The “topping out” celebration was a chance for art fans to sign the final beam before watching it be set into place by construction workers shortly after 7 p.m. Addison Street between Oxford and Shattuck Avenue was closed to vehicle traffic during the event, as attendees enjoyed music from 14-piece brass band Mission Delirium and wrote messages on every surface of the beam using colorful markers.

Photographs from the event, by Berkeleyside reporter Emilie Raguso, appear below. … Continue reading »

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

The free 4th of July celebration at the Berkeley Marina will include handmade craft booths. Photo: Another Bullwinkel Show
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FOURTH OF JULY AT THE BERKELEY MARINA If you’re not going away for the long weekend and haven’t yet figured out your Fourth of July plans, consider heading down to the Berkeley Marina for a day of live entertainment, food and fireworks. The event starts at noon with musical performances by Bang Data, The Boston Boys, and others on the main stage. On the Buddy Club Stage in Shorebird Park, spectators will be treated to juggling, magic acts and Afro-Cuban drumming. Performances will go until 9:30 p.m. During this time, eventgoers can also indulge in dragon boat rowing (until 5 p.m.), massages, live pony rides, carnival rides and a fireworks show over the water at 9:35 pm. Food trucks and booths will be present as well. This year, Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream co-founder Ben Cohen is also bringing his one-of-a-kind StampMobile to the event “to help stamp money out of politics on Independence Day.” Vehicle parking in the marina is $15 for the day and admission is free. … Continue reading »

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

Friday night's Marsh Jam comes from the same comedian who started Spaghetti Jam. Photo: The Marsh
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MARSH JAM If you’re looking for a laugh, you may want to head to the Marsh tonight, Friday, for Marsh Jam. The comedy show will feature a blend of “Spolin” style improv, stand-up, and sketch comedy for a unique theatrical experience tailored to the audience’s interests. Michael Bossier, who founded the comedy troupe Spaghetti Jam, will head the show. Past members of his troupe include Dana Carvey, Robin Williams, Whoopie Goldber and Betty Thomas. Tickets are $10 and the show starts at 8 p.m. … Continue reading »

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