Friday, March 11, 2016

Architecture of Life at BAMPFA

The other day a few colleagues and I took a little field trip to the brand new Berkeley Art Museum (BAMPFA as it is known to its friends). I was quite nostalgically attached to the old (seismically dangerous) museum building that figured heavily in my childhood, so was not especially predisposed to like this one, I must admit. However it was a beautiful building showing beautiful art in a beautiful way, and I was won over. The inaugural show Architecture of Life is a complex one, showcasing a whole lot of very cool work from all different times and places. Truth to tell, it's one of those shows that makes you (or, at least, made me and my two smart colleagues) feel kind of stupid--some of the pieces are literally about the intersection of art and architecture, but others are much more loosely related to themes of structure, pattern, and even geography. It feels a bit like crawling inside the mind of a particular curator--peeking in on the kind of connections between things that one person's brain might make while others' brains would not. But ultimately the best thing is how much very very awesome art there was to see in such an intimate and lovely space. As with all good art shows, at a certain point themes and tropes and curatorial conceits kind of go out the window and you are left having a one-on-one encounter with the artworks. And all is right with the world.

Suzan Frecon

Yuji Obata

Yuji Obata

Ruth Asawa

David Chalmers Alesworth

Leah Glenn

Avery Preesman

George Ohr

Qiu Zhijie

anonymous Tantric drawing

anonymous Tantric drawings

Bob Stocksdale

Buckminster Fuller

Gustave Caillebotte

Gordon R. Ashby

Ben Shivers

Mbuti barkcloth drawing

Suzan Frecon

Robert Overby

Bernard Palissy

Rosie Lee Tompkins

Louise Bourgeois

Felix Schramm

Suzan Frecon

Chris Johanson (detail)

Georgia O'Keffe

Htun-Sook Song

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