Posts tagged with "Berkeley Art Museum":

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"Hippie Modernism: The Struggle for Utopia" arrives at Berkeley's BAMPFA

Hippie Modernism: The Struggle for Utopia, which celebrates the design objects and artworks created during the 1960s radical counterculture era, is making a West Coast appearance at the University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA) this semester.

The multimedia-rich exhibition arrives in the Bay Area after a short stint at the Cranbrook Art Museum in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and an inaugural showing at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. BAMPFA, recently relocated and expanded in bombastic fashion by New York City architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro, is a fitting location for the out-there works on display, which for this showing will include more than 70 Bay Area–specific artifacts highlighting the confluence of high modernism and counterculture modes during that time. The exhibition, whose Berkeley run is curated by Lawrence Rinder, the director of BAMPFA, and Greg Castillo, associate professor of architecture at UC Berkeley, will run in parallel to Hippie Modernism: Cinema and Counterculture, 1964–1974, a four-month-long film series organized by Kate MacKay, associate film curator.

Hippie Modernism: The Struggle for Utopia University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive 2155 Center Street, Berkeley, California Through May 21, 2017

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Brutalizing Oakland

In the future, will there be a Brutalist Revival? Decked out with stainless steel trimmings by Mark Cavagnero Associates, the Oakland Museum of California is getting ready to usher in a Brutalist appreciation. Or at least a bit of nostalgia for a time when architects couldn't get enough of the monolithic purity of craggy concrete, before they realized what the environmental costs of melting down rock and reforming it were. The 1969 complex is undergoing the first phase of a $58 million retrofit and will reopen in May 2010. Most of the building and the gardens will continue just as they were. The original architect, Kevin Roche (who took over the project after Eero Saarinen's sudden death), effectively created a new topography spanning four city blocks. In a design that puts today's hoopla over green roofs into perspective, the low terraced buildings are subsumed under the the rooftop gardens and planters in Dan Kiley's landscape design, with foliage trailing down the tops of walls. But the low profile of the building, dubbed "the bunker" by locals, doesn't lend itself to displaying art. (The art gallery is on the top level, with California history below, then natural science--complete with fish tanks--below it, bringing the whole range of museum-going experience together.) In this first phase of the renovation, two courtyards have been transformed into light-filled, white-walled galleries. (The building's embrace of the outdoors resulted in a few patios that languished in obscurity). At twice the height of the main level, the spaces are a welcome escape from the low (11-foot) concrete ceilings. The remainder of  the floor has similarly been outfitted with white walls, so that the paintings no longer have a concrete backdrop--a move that curator Philip Linhares is grateful for. Mark Cavagnero's office, which has racked up several civic wins recently, also had to figure out how to cover the central stairway, exposed to the sky. To complement the concrete, they first considered a canopy of zinc, rejected because it was softer and not as durable as their final choice, stainless steel.  According to architect John Fung, the stainless steel is brushed in a "non-directional" way, so that it appears to glow rather than glint. Interestingly, the day after the press tour, another museum in the neighboring city of Berkeley was in the news. The Berkeley Art Museum lost its new home, which was going to be designed by conceptual master Toyo Ito, due to lack of funding. But it's definitely moving out at some point, and the fate of the 1970 Mario Ciampi building, another Brutalist classic, is undetermined.  That space is quite lofty, but that openness comes at the price of stability, apparently. Fortunately, the Oakland Museum of California has raised nearly all of the funds necessary to complete its renovation.