Glossary attended the press preview yesterday for the new Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive. We took pictures of tempting highlights for our 2nd Review as Pictures.
Berkeley Art Museum + Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA – pronounced Bam P.F.A., Bam for short)
Grand Opening to the public
Sunday January 31, 2016
2155 Center Street, Berkeley, CA. 94704
The museum began in 1963 when it received a gift by Abstract Expressionist artist Hans Hofmann, which included forty-five of his paintings and $250,000 to build a gallery. Although we will miss the original Brutalist museum built by Mario Ciampi in 1970, the new space is also architecturally progressive, and with many contemporary considerations.
Fun fact: The new museum was the previous home of the UC Berkeley printing plant, built during the Works Projects Administration (WPA) in 1939. (pictured below) The 1945 UN Charter was printed there.
Bosting several galleries and two state-of-the-art film theaters, the new museum is—to put it very plainly—fantastic.
The building is designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro of The Broad and the Stanford Art and Art History fame, among others. The architecture for BAMPFA is comfortable & fresh: super high ceilings and subterranean access makes the space open and invites curious personalities to explore; split level ramp floor plan that encourages easy meandering, with cross platform views into other galleries & plenty of opportunities to lean and ponder. The café is upstairs, with excellent people watching from up high and the Carla and David Crane performance space that also acts as resting and socializing area when not in use, and if that is not enough, there is a huge video screen outside of the museum for everyone to enjoy.
BONUS: it is closer to BART than any other museum in the Bay Area—only one block away!
Attention to detail really makes the space feel like it cares about art and visitors: tons of natural light (!); end–grain parquet floors add warmth in contemplative and darker display rooms; open floor plan in main gallery and lots of breathing room between pieces; Café Babette is integrated into the space upstairs so you can snack and look at art at the same time; considerate and conscientious use of the pre-existing building.
Thoughtful finishing touches: Custom joinery by master craftsman Paul Discoe of Oakland, using wood from Canary Island Pines removed next to the building to make room for the new addition. Twenty three new trees were planted including Chinese pistache, ginkgo, hornbeams and honey locust.
Future programming highlights: Twelve artist led family art workshops per year, free tours for elementary schools, drop-in Art Lab for hands-on learning, film, conceptual art and works on paper study centers by appointment, 450 film programs + concerts, performances and lectures.
There was a lot to see in the new inaugural Architecture of Life group exhibition. “Architecture—as concept, metaphor, and practice—illuminates aspects of life experience: the nature of the self and psyche, the fundamental structures of reality, and the power of the imagination to reshape our world,” the press release states.
It is an excellently curated selection of works. In the Ben Shivers shed in the main gallery, a piece of steel from the new construction was Included—a nice touch. The show is quite lyrical, with many noticeable threads and pattern throughout, including extremely delicate lines, stellar abstraction and poignant minimalism.
Glossary is glad they decided to come to the Bay Area in 2011 with the intention of staying—and they have stayed. The people, the way they think, and the art is what keeps us here. Our art world is getting excited for 2016 and the things that make art in the Bay Area worth recognizing. The opening of both 500 Capp Street and BAMPFA this January is a great start.
BAMPFA Hours beginning February 3rd, will be 11 am to 9pm, Wednesday through Sunday
$12 general admission, students $10. FREE FIRST THURSDAYS
See www.bampfa.org for more details.
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