We talk art, the role of art museums and what the future holds with the director and chief curator of the UC Berkeley-owned Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive.
It would be hard to imagine an exhibition more relevant to current events, or one more visually and emotionally stirring, than this stunning show of monumental oil paintings.
This is a radiant, revelatory show, tracing the deep, life-long impact of Henri Matisse on a major American artist over 50 years his junior, whom he never met.
Berkeley has nurtured countless visionaries: makers, thinkers, doers and seers who have expanded our understanding of the world. The late conceptual artist Sonya Rapoport — whose Final Works are on view at Krowswork gallery in Oakland through December 19 — was a path breaking and prescient member of this pantheon. Her artistic career spanned 66 years, but only recently, in the last decade of her life, has her pioneering work begun to gain the recognition it deserves. The installation projects in Final Works — Yes or No? and The Transitive Property of Equality — offer an elegiac coda to Rapoport’s lifetime of art making. Together with rarely seen videos documenting some of her most memorable interactive pieces, they present a poetic and often humorous summing up of her complex and fascinating oeuvre. (more…)
Book Review: ‘The Jewish World: 100 Treasures of Art & Culture – The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life’
Last year, when Alla Efimova stepped down as the Jacques and Esther Reutlinger Director of UC Berkeley’s Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life after ten years at its helm, she left the institution a magnificent parting gift.
Art/Act: Maya Lin — an exhibition of environmentally themed sculpture and interactive work by the internationally known Chinese-American artist, architectural designer and creator of the Vietnam Veterans War Memorial in Washington, D.C. (1982) — opens at the David Brower Center in Berkeley on Friday, Sept. 19.
Barbara Chase-Riboud: The Malcolm X Steles, is an exhibition not to miss. It’s inspirational, revelatory, ravishing to look at, and a dramatic contrast to The Possible: the experimental, hyper-interactive, buzzing, booming art-making project organized by local artist David Wilson that will occupy most of the Berkeley Art Museum through May 27.
‘Saved by the Bay’ at The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life explores lives of academic refugees
Saved by the Bay: The Intellectual Migration from Fascist Europe to UC Berkeley, the exhibition currently on view at The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life in Berkeley through June 27, may be a bellwether of that institution’s recent metamorphosis.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
By Marcia Tanner