Art, History Exhibitions Opening around Berkeley

Engaging and inspiring culture is back in Berkeley

California is open once again, and select Berkeley museums and exhibits have begun in-person exhibitions after closing their doors for over a year. Engaging and inspiring art, history, and culture is back; check out any of these exhibitions in the upcoming months.

Berkeley Historical Society - African Americans in Berkeley’s History and Legacy

Located at the Veterans Memorial Building on Center St, the Berkeley Historical Society, typically open for walk-ins and historical archival exploration, will feature an exploratory exhibit on the history of African-Americans in Berkeley, co-curated by Dr. Stephanie Johnson and Harvey Smith. As the second of a three year project, this year will highlight the historical figures and establishments in Berkeley’s Black community during the years 1940-2000. Religious, social, and political organizations will be spotlighted, including an interactive map of the once thriving Black business corridor on Sacramento St. The exhibit will be open onsite and virtually now to October 10th, 2021. The Berkeley Historical Center is open Thursdays through Saturdays from 1 to 4 pm at limited capacity.

BAMPFA (Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive)

The Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film archive is the visual arts center of the University of California, Berkeley. It has reopened its doors for timed ticketed hours on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 11 am to 5 pm. Check out one (or more) of the four insightful, creative, and groundbreaking exhibits currently on view at BAMPFA this year. Visit the BAMPFA website for more details.

Rosie Lee Tomkins; a Retrospective

The central exhibition featured is Rosie Lee Tomkins; a Retrospective, showcasing the breathtaking work of this century’s most revolutionary quilters: Rosie Lee Tomkins. The exhibit has been relaunched this year, after being open for barely a month in February 2020, and will be open until July 18th, 2021. Her work, featuring approximately seventy quilts, pieced tops, embroideries, assemblages, and decorated objects, uses thoughtful color combinations, as well as clever social, religious, and political commentary. This exhibition features quilts from the donation of 3,000 quilts by African American artists, making BAMPFA a leader in the field of African American art with what is probably the largest public collection of African American quilts in the world.

Ulrike Ottinger / MATRIX 276

Also at BAMPFA, this film and photography exhibit features the work of Berlin filmmaker and director Ulrike Ottinger, who made a documentary film alongside these creative and eye-catching photos. Ottinger traveled the world and immersed herself in various remote communities over a period of decades, making this exhibit a collage of glimpses into countries like China cir. 1985, and Post-Soviet Eastern Europe. The portraits of people she encounters on her travels offer a sense of the subjects in dialogue with the photographer through their gaze at the camera. MATRIX 276 will be on display until July 18th, 2021.

Present Tense: Five Centuries of Colonialism in Latin American and Caribbean Art

This in-depth exhibit, open from April 30th to June 20th, 2021, comments on the impact of colonialism and the historical and contemporary artistic resistance to those changes throughout history. With a focus on Latin America and the Carribean, the injustices that linger in the wake of colonialism have served as sites for personal expression, often resulting in captivating works of art that critique society and question those in power, bringing a voice to those without one and introducing beauty as a form of healing.

Beyond Boundaries: Buddhist Art of Gandhara

As the first substantial exhibition focusing on Gandharan Buddhist art in an American museum in ten years, Beyond Boundaries: Buddhist Art of Gandhara features thirty-six sculptural depictions of Budha and his life story from public and private collections. Artisans from the Gandharan region of northern India took a new, humanistic approach to depicting the Buddha in clothing and settings drawn from the West and combined them with descriptive tales of the life and teachings of the Buddha. This exhibit will be open until October 3rd, 2021.

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