Tag Archives: Richard Misrach
By Marcia Tanner
Art lovers looking to do well by doing good, while having fun and maybe coming home with new treasure, will want to show up for “Kala-fornia: State of the Art 3,” Kala Art Institute’s 2013 gala auction this Saturday, April 27.
This year’s auction features over 175 contributions. Most are artworks in a wide variety of media, donated by the artists themselves, but there are also fine wines, museum memberships, spa services and getaways, and other alluring goods and services. The artists represented are mostly from California; many have shown at or been affiliated with the Berkeley-based Kala as participants in its printmaking residencies, fellowships and workshops.
The live auction offers pieces by such well-known artists as Squeak Carnwath, Jim Melchert, Richard Misrach, Naomie Kremer, and Christopher Brown. Kremer contributed a lush, richly colorful painting, Secret Garden, based on the video-projected “sets” she created for the opera The Secret Garden performed at UC Berkeley’s Zellerbach Hall in March. … Continue reading »
Speaking about his new exhibition of photographs which opened simultaneously at the Berkeley Art Museum and the Oakland Museum of California this week, Richard Misrach says it is as much a community event as an art show.
The haunting images, taken 20 years ago in the wake of the 1991 Oakland-Berkeley Firestorm, document the aftermath of a disaster that touched everyone who lived or worked locally. And, now, because the photographs have never been shown before, people who lost homes — or perhaps even family members — are seeing these large scale, beautifully composed images for the first time. The impact is bound to be strong and responses are likely to be emotional.
Misrach knew he wanted to create a way for community members to articulate their reaction to the photographs and contribute to the exhibition directly. So he decided to create two handcrafted elegy books, one for each museum. Exhibition goers are encouraged to write in the books — or include photos or drawings — and the tomes will become part of the museums’ exhibition archives.
The design of the books fell to Brian Scott of San Francisco’s Boon Design, who worked with Misrach 20 years ago on his book, Bravo 20, and Berkeley bookbinder John DeMerritt. Scott and DeMerritt share a love of ledgers — the type that banks or courthouses would use in the past, or that hotels still sometimes have on display as guest books. … Continue reading »
By Risa Nye
October 23, 1991: At the foot of Broadway Terrace, I squeezed into a police car with another couple. We rode in silence, afraid and anxious to get close enough to see what remained of our homes and our streets. We weren’t allowed to drive ourselves in yet; hazardous sparks and hot spots still glowed in some places. Fallen power lines might still be live. Some reports said that everything that could have burned, did. Still, I didn’t know quite what to expect.
It was so odd. Things at the bottom of the hill looked normal. Houses, cars, the golf course, blocks of undisturbed homes left untouched by the fire. But then, a block or so further up the hill, it all came into view.
The first thing I noticed were the chimneys, tall brick columns still attached to their hearths punctuating wide expanses of black, all the way up to the top of the hills. And it was quiet. No birds, no other cars, no people.
The hills of our destroyed neighborhood resembled a moonscape: a post-apocalyptic expanse of scorched earth, blackened trees and chimneys standing like sentinels left to watch over the ruins. Gray foundations marked the footprints of houses no longer there. We were shocked at the vastness of the damage. Stone cherubs stood in what had been a backyard; a fountain surrounded by ashes; skeletons of patio furniture. … Continue reading »
As the 20th anniversary of the 1991 Oakland-Firestorm approaches, the community is preparing to commemorate it in a number of different ways, including with city initiatives and collaborative cultural experiences.
While Oakland was much more affected by the devastating fire than Berkeley — only 63 of the homes destroyed that fateful day in October 1991 were in Berkeley, from a total of 3,354 — geographical boundaries became irrelevant as the whole community experienced the trauma of the experience as one.
The cities of Berkeley and Oakland have joined with other community partners to mark the anniversary with a formal commemorative ceremony of remembrance, and they are also taking the opportunity to remind people to take emergency preparedness measures.
On October 22, people are invited to gather at the Rockridge BART Firestorm Memorial Wall at 9:00am. Later, at 10:30am, Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates and Berkeley Fire Chief Debra Pryor will speak at the remembrance ceremony which will take place at the Gateway Emergency Preparedness Exhibit Center on Tunnel Road and Caldecott Lane. At noon, a Family Preparedness Fair will be held at Lake Temescal, at 6500 Broadway. Fire trucks, kids’ activities and information booths are all on the agenda. Find information on the city of Berkeley website. … Continue reading »
Twenty years ago next month, on a sunny Sunday in October, a raging fire took hold and — driven by hot, dry northeasterly winds — swept through the Oakland-Berkeley hills causing massive destruction and loss.
The flames jumped two freeways, eventually spreading across 1,520 acres, incinerating more than 3,300 homes at an average rate of 11 seconds each and, ultimately, injuring 150 people and leaving 25 dead.
The Oakland-Berkeley Firestorm still looms large in the collective memories of our community. Nobody who … Continue reading »
Richard Misrach is nothing if not patient.
When, in 1997, the renowned photographer moved into a home in the Berkeley hills and decided to capture his new view of the Golden Gate Bridge, he didn’t just take a few dozen shots and leave it at that.
Rather, over the course of three years, he shot hundreds and hundreds of photographs. The result was Golden Gate [Aperture, 2005], 85 beautiful meditations on the iconic bridge seen through the seasons from a single … Continue reading »