The Berkeley Art Museum and the Pacific Film Archive (BAM / PFA) are affiliated with the University of California, Berkeley, a hybrid art gallery, repertory movie theatre, and archive. Since 2008 to 2020 Lawrence Rinder was Director, to be replaced by Julie Rodrigues Widholm in August 2020. The museum is a member of the North American Reciprocal Museums program.
The art collection of the University of California began with Flight into Egypt, an oil of the 16th century on a wood panel by Joachim Patinir School, which was donated to the University by François Louis Alfred Pioche, banker and financier, in 1870. The museum was established in 1963, following a donation of 45 paintings plus $250,000 from the artist and teacher Hans Hofmann to the university. In 1964 a competition was declared to design the museum, and in 1970 the Museum, designed by Mario Ciampi, opened.
The collection contains over 22,000 works of art, including Chinese paintings from the Ming and Qing dynasty, Indian miniature painting from the Mughal dynasty, Baroque painting, old master prints and drawings, early American painting, African-American quilts, 19th and 20th-century photography, conceptual art, and international contemporary art.
Works by Albert Bierstadt, Jonathan Borofsky, Joan Brown, Robert Colescott, Jay DeFeo, Helen Frankenthaler, Paul Gauguin, Juan Gris, Ant Farm, Howard Fried, Paul Kos, Robert Mapplethorpe, Knox Martin, Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, and Sebastião Salgado were featured at the museum. The museum also presents The MATRIX Contemporary Art Program.
In 2009 the museum purchased the Abu Ghraib Collection of 56 paintings and sketches by Fernando Botero (as a gift from the artist). Selections from the show are featured periodically in the rotating shows of Art for Human Rights at the museum.
In 2014, the museum purchased the collection of Conceptual art and art objects from San Francisco collector and dealer Steven Leiber, as well as his reference library and the books of artists relating to Conceptualism and the Fluxus movement. According to The New York Times, "with the acquisition…the museum and film archive will become one of the world’s most important centers for the study of Conceptual art."
In 2019, as a bequest, the museum purchased approximately 3,000 works by African-American quilt makers, including over 500 pieces by Rosie Lee Tompkins, from the Eli Leon collection. Today the exhibition accounts for around 15 percent of the art collection of the museum. BAMPFA curated the show, Rosie Lee Tompkins, from the Eli Leon Collection: A Retrospective (opened on 19 February 2020; closed due to COVID-19 shut-down; re-opened September to 20 December 2020); The New York Times called it "a triumphal retrospective" that "confirms her standing as one of the great American artists–transcending craft, challenging painting and reshaping the canon." A subsequent exhibition showcasing the broader Eli Leon Collection will open at the museum in 2022.
The Pacific Film Archive (PFA) was founded by Sheldon Renan, who began screening movies on the UC campus in 1966 and was named as the new PFA's Director in 1967. The PFA specializes in programming films "in a theoretical or critical sense — exploring, for example, film noir in the post-war culture setting." The programming is further contextualized by seminars by film experts and visits by filmmakers. 16,000 films and videos are stored in the library including the largest selection of Japanese films outside Japan. The PFA also includes a library and study center and holds online catalogs of its films and books, as well as an online documentation database associated with the films.
By Jeffreymendel Jeffrey Nash - Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=50308966
This amazing landmark is located near the following amazing must-see sites in Berkeley, California:
- Lawrence Hall of Science
- Indian Rock Park
- Tilden Regional Park
- Berkeley Rose Garden
- César E. Chávez Park
- The University of California Botanical Garden
- Adventure Playground
- Codornices Park
All of these wonderful points of interest are located just a short distance from our location, conveniently located just down the freeway at 1261 Locust St, Walnut Creek! Stop by for a visit anytime!