Berkeley Art Museum - Pacific Film Archive

This week a friend of mine who just moved to Berkeley over in the East Bay discovered one of the true gems of the Bay Area art scene:  the Berkeley Art Museum - Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA).  He was duly impressed, and I’d like to share with you some of the things he saw now that the building has finished its renovation and is now open to the public.

The first exhibition you come to is called “Charles Howard: A Margin of Chaos.” I’ll be honest.  Never heard of him.  My bad. But maybe not:  because one of the great things about being alive is that no matter how long you’re around or how savvy you think you are, there is always something new to discover. When you look at the photos of his work (below) you’ll see why I’m so excited and why I intend to hop over to Berkeley to catch this exhibit.

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Grotto 1932 - Oils on Canvas Collection of William and Carol Achenbaum

Grotto

1932 - Oils on Canvas

Collection of William and Carol Achenbaum

Bivouac 1940 - Oils on Board Anonymous 

Bivouac

1940 - Oils on Board

Anonymous 

Painting (VI) 1962 - Oils on Canvas Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin Michener Acquisitions Fund 1969, P1969.14.1

Painting (VI)

1962 - Oils on Canvas

Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin

Michener Acquisitions Fund 1969, P1969.14.1

My friend (as ignorant as I) lucked out because there was a free lecture given by the curator of the exhibit, Aspara DiQuinzio.  It turns out this is the first exhibition of Charles Howard’s in the U.S. since 1946.  I love it when someone is rediscovered. Gives one hope!

It turns out theHoward family was enormously influential in the development of the town of Berkeley. For instance, Charles’s father was the Head Architect for UC Berkeley for many years and was responsible for designing and overseeing the construction of some of the central structures and buildings that are still on the campus today. 

But most important is the power of art, its immediacy and transformative impact – no matter when you discover it, no matter the fame or obscurity of its creator, no matter the time or place you confront it. 

Although in this case, you can easily do it by getting yourself down to the newly remodeled Berkeley Art Museum.  It’s at 2155 Center Street, just off of Oxford and about a block or two away from another fantastic East Bay wonderment – the Berkeley Rep theater.

 

Stay safe!  Have fun!  Do art!