by Lucinda Barnes
Reprinted by permission from Chronicle of the University of California: A Journal of University History Number 6, Spring 2004, pp. 129–42.
Artists William Wiley and Robert Hudson created happenings; poets Gary Snyder, Richard Brautigan, and Robert Duncan recited from their works, and the avant-garde Anna Halprin Dancers performed in celebration of the inauguration of the Berkeley Art Museum(1) in November 1970. It was a multidisciplinary contemporary art extravaganza heralding a radical new building and an ambitious cultural enterprise, which within a matter of months would also include the Pacific Film Archive.(2)
The museum opened its distinctive 100,000-square-foot space of cantilevered concrete galleries with “Excellence: Art from the University Community,” an exhibition of some six hundred works of art from the cultures of Asia, Africa, Europe, the Americas, and Oceania. They were brought together from the museum’s own collections, the collections of the Lowie Museum of Anthropology (now the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum), and those of the Los Angeles and Santa Barbara campuses, as well as from the private collections of individuals associated with the University of California system. This exhibition included the cornerstones of the BAM collections today—historical Asian paintings and works on paper; European old masters and nineteenth-century paintings and prints; American works of the nineteenth century ranging from folk to landscape traditions; and twentieth-century art from the Abstract Expressionist era to the present. The latter was led by the gift made in 1963 by the internationally renowned artist and teacher Hans Hofmann that in essence made the new museum possible—forty-seven paintings and a cash gift of $250,000 to build a new museum.
“Excellence”(3) established the benchmark for a progressive university art museum, demonstrating the centrality of the visual arts of the past and of the moment to a scholarly and socially attuned community. As a center for visual culture bringing together art and film, the new museum claimed a position squarely in the avant-garde—an arena of new thought and innovative techniques—while operating within a context of historical and cultural reflection.(4) The museum intended to “provide students opportunities for immediate and continuous contact with works of art,” the founding director, Peter Selz, wrote.(5) In a time of political and social ferment—in 1970 the Berkeley campus, like campuses around the world, was entrenched in demonstrations and conflict associated with the antiwar movement—the museum looked to art’s power to resonate across time. Selz wrote, “The contemplation of works of art from all periods of history, from all cultures of mankind, can lead to a greater understanding of our own problems and place them in a universal context.”(6)
Selz acknowledged the difficulty of establishing a new museum in late-twentieth-century America, when the country’s major museums had been in existence and had been developing collections for the better part of a century. The cost of building a new collection could be prohibitive.(7) However, as “Excellence” demonstrated, a new art museum at Berkeley could still stake out meaningful territory in several key ways: enhancing collection foundations set in place by a range of distinguished works of art donated to the university in the past century (old masters, nineteenth-century European and American art, Asian art); gleaning from scholarship and research that was a strength of the university (Asian art, Baroque art, and art of the modern era), and focusing on contemporary culture and the art of the moment.
In the years just prior to the museum’s inauguration, Selz set about aggressively adding significant works to the collections, through donation as well as purchase, ranging from a world-class seventeenth-century Rubens oil sketch to a huge meditative painting by Mark Rothko, selected from the artist’s studio; from a delicately detailed Ch'ing dynasty landscape by Wu Hung to a winged figure drawn by the Venetian Baroque master Giovanni Battista Tiepolo. Major modern paintings by Joan Miró, Willem de Kooning, Helen Frankenthaler, and Sam Francis were purchased and donated. Contemporary works by artists such as Joan Brown, Robert Arneson, Jean Tinguely, and Pol Bury were acquired from a flurry of radical art exhibitions that had been presented at the Powerhouse Gallery on the Berkeley campus in the years just before the opening of the new museum.(8)
A collection does not grow and take shape in a straight line, but rather, moves into the future while continually gaining dimension in the past. With each addition or shift, the cumulative character of a collection changes. Looking from the vantage of the permanent collection, the present accounting of the museum’s history will unfold in a similarly nonlinear fashion. We will scan in multiple directions, picturing the whole from a variety of overlapping and intersecting details, as if in a kind of Cubist time and space.
As is true of most museums, the collections of the Berkeley Art Museum began as the result of gifts—the first gifts made to the University of California, in 1870, just two years after the university was established. Two generous patrons, Henry D. Bacon and F.L.A. Pioche, donated through gift and bequest nearly seventy works of art. Bacon also provided funds to establish the university’s first art gallery, which opened in 1881. It was the era of the nation’s earliest museums—the Metropolitan Museum and Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts in 1870, the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 1876, and the Art Institute of Chicago in 1879—founded for the public good and communal improvement.(9) A handful of progressive universities began to collect works of art and establish galleries and museums for the display and study of art as a core component of their educational missions. Yale University established an art gallery in 1832; Princeton’s museum was founded fifty years later, and Harvard’s famed Fogg was established in 1895.
Many of the first gifts of art to the University of California were classical works, such as a fifteenth-century biblical landscape painted by an artist from the circle of the Flemish master Joachim Patenir, or historical scenes like Emanuel Leutze’s heroic depiction of American Revolutionary troops Washington Rallying the Troops at Monmouth (1853–54), a companion piece to his signature work Washington Crossing the Delaware in the collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Donated to the university in 1882 by Mrs. Mark Hopkins, the Leutze is on semi-permanent display in the Doe Library.(10) Contemporary paintings were also among the earliest gifts from Henry Bacon, such as Albert Bierstadt’s Yosemite Winter Scene (1872).(11) By the early 1870s, the German-born American artist had built thriving studios in New York and San Francisco, having become internationally known for his scenes of the West envisioned as a hopeful and determined destiny, an American Eden.(12) On a visit to the Yosemite Valley in January 1872, Bierstadt made studies that led to BAM’s painting.(13)
Old master paintings, prints, and drawings and nineteenth-century European and American paintings came into the university’s art collections through the first half of the twentieth century by means of gifts and bequests. Among the many works donated by Phoebe Apperson Hearst was Théodore Rousseau’s enormous landscape, the glowing Forest of Fontainbleau (1855–1856).(14) A vast collection of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Japanese woodblock prints also came to the university during this era. The quality and scope of these donations was certainly impressive, but it was a somewhat random course of growth(15) until the Hofmann gift in 1963 provided the means to finally build a major art museum on the campus.(16) It was to be a museum appropriate to care for and exhibit the most extensive public collection of Hofmann’s own work as well as future acquisitions and the collections that had evolved over the past century.
What role did UC Berkeley play for Hofmann, who was intimately tied to the New York art scene and who, from the early 1930s to the late 1950s, ran a famous art school in New York and Provincetown, Massachusetts? In fact, Hofmann began his teaching career in America with an invitation to teach at Cal and later claimed, “If I had not been rescued by America, I would have lost my chance as a painter.” That crucial opportunity offered by Berkeley later inspired his extraordinary gift to the university.
Hans Hofmann was born in southern Germany in 1880. He cut his teeth as a young artist in Paris in the first decade of the twentieth century, the moment of the invention of Cubism. It was one of the century’s most dynamic periods of cultural energy and innovation. While in Paris, Hofmann met Matisse, Picasso, and Braque, and developed a friendship with Robert Delaunay. Cézanne, too, would make an indelible impression on him. Later, in Munich, he met Vassily Kandinsky and followed that artist’s revolutionary aesthetic theories.
From 1915 to 1930, in the years between the world wars, Hofmann established a school of modern art in Munich that attracted young artists from around the world. Among them were Worth Ryder and Glenn Wessels, both of whom later taught in the art department at Cal. It was Ryder who invited Hofmann to come from Germany to teach in 1930 and again in the summer of 1931, when his work was shown in Haviland Hall on campus and at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco—his first exhibitions in the United States.
From Berkeley, Hofmann went to New York City, where he established an art school in 1933. Over the next twenty-five years he influenced an astounding array of young artists, including Burgoyne Diller, Helen Frankenthaler, Lee Krasner, Red Grooms, Alan Kaprow, Wolf Kahn, Louise Nevelson, Alfred Jensen, and Larry Rivers. The critic Clement Greenberg referred to Hofmann’s Greenwich Village school as a vortex of influence in the burgeoning art scene of the 1930s and 1940s, “a major fountainhead of style and ideas for the ‘new’ American painting,” or Abstract Expressionism.
Through his teaching and writings, Hofmann became a crucial conduit of modernist ideas and practice. He was known as a convincing teacher of Cubist principles, particularly the practice of suggesting multiple views of objects in space through overlapping planes of transparent color. Inspired by Kandinsky’s approach to abstraction and theories about the spiritual in art, he emphasized artistic experience and the creative impulse. In 1958, after more than forty years of teaching, Hofmann closed his schools to devote himself full-time to his own work. By that point he had achieved international recognition as a painter, in addition to wide respect as a teacher and theorist. The Whitney Museum of American Art mounted a touring retrospective in 1957, and six years later The Museum of Modern Art in New York organized another major exhibition that toured internationally. When Hofmann designated the bulk of his work to Berkeley and to a new museum, although eighty-three years old, he was a powerful, energetic painter and at the height of his abilities. His gift included a number of earlier works, but concentrated on his late signature style, with several major canvases fresh from his studio. Hofmann continued to paint until his death in early 1966.
The Hofmann endowment secure, in 1965, after a national competition, the Bay Area architect Mario Ciampi and associates Richard Jorasch and Ronald Wagner were selected to design the new museum. Peter Selz, a former curator at MoMA in New York, was hired in 1964 to direct this new enterprise. An energetic program of contemporary exhibitions—“Directions in Kinetic Sculpture” and “Funk” among them—took shape in the Powerhouse Gallery, which housed the museum’s activities until the completion of the new building. Selz also organized a series of annual exhibitions, “Selection,” that highlighted the range and scope of the museum’s now rapidly growing collections: between 1965 and 1970 nearly thirteen hundred works of art were added.(17) The “Selection” exhibitions offered the university community and the public a sneak preview of the museum-to-be. They also marked a new phase of collection development: building upon the fortunate but “random” growth of the previous century, from this point on, the collections continued to mature with intentional direction.
Among the acquisitions of the late 1960s were several major Baroque works such as Giovanni Battista Caracciolo’s The Young Saint John in the Wilderness (ca. 1623). Like his contemporary Michelangelo Caravaggio, Caracciolo painted his holy subject as if an inhabitant of the world of the flesh. Diego Francesco Carlone’s large wood sculpture Saint Joseph and the Christ Child (ca. 1715), carved in the style of southern Germany and Austria, where the Italian-born artist worked most of his career, and elegant, potent drawings by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo and Giovanni Guercino were also added to the collections. Peter Paul Rubens’s dramatic oil sketch The Road to Calvary (ca. 1632) was among the most important acquisitions of the time and, according to Svetlana Alpers, the specialist in seventeenth-century art history who began teaching at Berkeley in the early 1960s, “one of the most beautiful as well as one of the most technically interesting of Rubens’ late oil sketches....(one that) reminds us that in the best Rubens works, the dazzling technical accomplishments are yoked to a full persuasive presentation of a significant human drama.”(18)
During these years, a number of Ming and Ch’ing dynasty Chinese paintings were also added to the collection. Works such as A Scholar Instructing Girl Pupils in the Arts (n.d.), by the master figure painter Ch’en Hung-shou, marked the beginning of what has become one of the stellar collections of Chinese painting in North America. James Cahill, the well-known scholar of Chinese painting and former curator of Asian art at the Freer Gallery in Washington, D.C., came to Berkeley in the mid-1960s to head Asian art historical studies. Almost immediately, he established a group of supporters and patrons who helped the nascent museum collect major works of Asian art, particularly Chinese paintings dating from the Sung, Yüan, Ming, and Ch’ing dynasties.(19 )
Professor Cahill often said that the paintings themselves are the best teachers,(20) and he used the museum’s growing collections and his own collections as primary resources. In 1971 Cahill organized the first in a series of pioneering exhibitions for the museum—“The Restless Landscape: Chinese Painting of the Late Ming Period”— the outcome of a graduate seminar he led.(21) One of his graduate students was Patricia Berger, who now heads Chinese art historical studies at Cal and who continues to use museum collections as core teaching resources.(22)
Indian and Southeast Asian works of art have also provided primary teaching resources. Professor Joanna Williams, who since the 1960s has taught Indian and Southeast Asian art history, has frequently incorporated these collections in her curriculum. In 1998 and 1999 the museum significantly enhanced its holdings in this area with the addition of the Jean and Francis Marshall Collection of Indian paintings and drawings, with examples of narrative painting and portraiture from the early fifteenth into the twentieth centuries. In addition, the museum has recently added an array of Tibetan paintings and objects as part of a vast collection of art, film, artifacts, and books and manuscripts that was donated to Berkeley in 2000. The collection was amassed by Theos Bernard (1908–1947), the American scholar of Hindu philosophy who has also been referred to as the ”White Lama” of Tibet.(23) The Bernard-Murray Collection of more than seven hundred articles of Tibetan art and culture is shared by BAM/PFA, the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum, and the East Asian and Bancroft Libraries.(24)
BAM’s collection houses a panorama of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, including a concentration of early American paintings in the folk tradition that covers genre painting, architectural scenes, mourning pictures, and portraiture, such as the itinerant painter John Brewster, Jr.’s Boy in Green (ca. 1795–1805).(25) In the second half of the nineteenth century, a growing number of European and American painters moved their primary “studio” activities outdoors and into nature. Rousseau’s Forest of Fontainebleau (1855–56), from the 1920 bequest of Phoebe Hearst, demonstrates his interest in the light and form of the countryside and can be seen as a precursor to Impressionism. Thirty years later, the Paris-born Paul Gauguin left behind his middle-class life and family in the French capital to join a community of artists in a remote village in Brittany, where he painted Still Life with Quimper Pitcher (1889).(26)
British pioneering photographer Francis Frith traveled to the Middle East during the 1850s and captured archeological and architectural images such as The Hypaethedral Temple, Philae (1857) that documented what many feared was a rapidly decaying culture. Parisian Juan Laurent established one of the earliest photographic studios in Spain, where from the late 1850s to the 1890s he created a vast archive of photographic views of that country. And during the 1870s, American artist William Henry Jackson worked with the U.S. Geological and Geographical Survey of the Territories to extensively document the western and northern territories. His photographs of Yellowstone, such as Crater of Grand Geyser, Yellowstone (1872), were instrumental in the decision by Congress to make it our first national park, in 1872—the year of Bierstadt’s Yosemite Winter Scene. Frith, Laurent, and Jackson are represented in a major gift.(27)
Working from nature was one of Hans Hofmann’s core principles, as well. Legend has it that when Hofmann saw Jackson Pollock’s early work he advised that he “work from nature.” Pollock replied, legend also has it, “I am nature.”(28) Beginning with the circle around Hofmann and the moment of Abstract Expressionism, Berkeley Art Museum collections have developed with particular emphasis and strength in international art of the present moment and the recent past. “Excellence” included key paintings by Mark Rothko, Clyfford Still, Ad Reinhardt, Helen Frankenthaler, Willem de Kooning, Sam Francis, Adolph Gottlieb, and David Smith. A critical Pollock drip painting, Number 6, 1950, was then a loan, and a dream for the museum’s collections. It was donated in 1995 and has become a cornerstone of the museum’s twentieth-century collection.
Many of the Abstract Expressionist–era works in the museum’s collections are characterized by monumentality, also a defining quality of the building itself. Clyfford Still’s Untitled (1955), a vertical abstract canvas featuring flame-like swaths of color, and Mark Rothko’s signature expanse of colored zones hovering ambiguously over one another in Number 207 (Red over Dark Blue on Dark Gray) (1961) are among these commanding works. Helen Frankenthaler (who as a young artist studied with Hofmann) developed a distinctive staining process, influenced by Jackson Pollock’s energetic drip technique, that is visible in her monumental Before the Caves (1958). In Voltri (1962), David Smith, one of the foremost sculptors of the Abstract Expressionist era, welded together large steel shapes, creating a cutout in space.
A discussion of large-scale works of art at BAM must include Alexander Calder’s landmark sculpture The Hawk for Peace (1968),(29) which greets museum visitors at the Bancroft Way entrance. Calder’s huge black stabile, which was noted at the time of its installation in 1969 as the most monumental public sculpture in the Bay Area, was commissioned specifically for the new museum building in memory of Calder’s brother-in-law, Kenneth Aurand Hayes, class of 1916.(30) The museum’s sculpture garden also hosts large sculptures by Peter Voulkos and Mia Roosen Westerlund. Several sculptures from the garden recently have been relocated to other sites on the Berkeley campus: Linda Fleming’s pyramidal construction Lumber (1990), located in front of Wurster Hall; Fletcher Benton’s Steel Plate Drawing #14 (1987), on the plaza outside the Free Speech Cafe, at Moffitt Library; and Richard Hunt’s Outgrown Pyramid #1 (1973), at the North Gate of the campus. Arnoldo Pomodoro’s huge bronze globe Rotante Dal Foro Centrale (1971) will be reinstalled at the west entrance to the campus.
Following on the expanded dimensions that characterized Abstract Expressionism, the museum continued to add large-scale works, such as Jay deFeo’s enormous painting Origin (1956). DeFeo was at the center of the San Francisco Beat scene in the 1950s. Soon after completing Origin in her Fillmore Street apartment, she began her famous eleven-foot, one-ton painting The Rose, which consumed the next eight years of her life. Another signature large work is Jonathan Borofsky’s Hammering Man (1968–1983), an eighteen-foot-high silhouetted figure whose moveable arm “hammers” endlessly. Human scale takes on a huge persona in Borofsky’s works. The artist refers to his hammering men (even larger outdoor versions can be seen in Seattle, Los Angeles, Frankfurt, and Japan) as workers who “imply the fate of the mechanistic world. At its heart, society reveres the worker. The Hammering Man is the worker in all of us.”(31)
A familial relationship between exhibitions and collections has existed from the inception of the museum. The early Powerhouse exhibitions “Directions in Kinetic Sculpture” (1966), the first comprehensive survey of kinetic art in the United States, and “Funk” (1967), which defined a movement in its formative stages, initiated what are now longstanding scholarly and archival relationships the museum has developed with various artists, including key figures in the history of Bay Area art Joan Brown, Robert Arneson, William Wiley, and Bruce Conner.(32) BAM organized Wiley’s first comprehensive museum exhibition in 1971, and he is represented in the collections by thirteen works from throughout his career. Brown, who taught in the art practice department from 1974 until her death in 1990, is another artist represented by a signature body of work, from Fur Rat (1962), a sculpture that was included in “Funk,” to The Bride (1970), the painting that often greets museum visitors in the central atrium. In 1998 the museum co-organized with the Oakland Museum of California a major retrospective of Brown’s work.(33)
Already signaling the museum’s present stance in the areas of new technologies and new media, “Kinetic Directions” featured innovative sculptural works that incorporated movement, propelled by mechanical, magnetic, or air-driven means. Works by such artists as Jean Tinguely, Pol Bury, Len Lye, and George Rickey were acquired from the exhibition. By the mid-1970s the museum was exhibiting and acquiring contemporary works that pushed material boundaries even further. An ethereal disc (untitled) by “light and space” artist Robert Irwin and Dan Flavin’s florescent Monument for V. Tatlin, both from 1969, used industrial materials and techniques to create effects of light that activated the space between the viewer and the object.(34) Eva Hesse’s enigmatic and majestic works, structured by working latex and plastics, characterize an early branch of Minimalism in which artists explored primary qualities of form and material through processes that emphasized the situation of change, the final work being a kind of “anti-form.” In 1973 the museum hosted Hesse’s memorial retrospective exhibition. Six years later, the artist’s family donated Aught (1968), one of her most significant works, along with a number of the artist’s test pieces. Hesse is one of many women artists who have been featured in BAM exhibitions and collections, Louise Bourgeois, Joan Brown, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, and Rosemarie Trockel among them.
Berkeley was one of the first American museums to show and collect video art, today a mainstay of both the BAM and PFA exhibitions and collections.(35) In 1977 the museum commissioned video artist Frank Gillette to create Aransas, a six-channel installation that over the course of viewing reveals and elaborates upon the haunting landscape of South Texas near the Gulf Coast, each location (and each monitor) representing a relationship between natural time and the observer’s sense of time. Among the more than sixty video installations and film-based works now in the museum’s collection, Diana Thater’s RBG (2000) is another technologically mediated observation of nature.(36)
A focus on novel approaches to the art of our time and of the past continues to define the BAM exhibition and collection programs. In 2003, artist Fred Wilson, a Consortium for the Arts resident on the Berkeley campus, worked with students from various departments and staff from both BAM/PFA and the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum to create an installation drawing upon the collections of both museums entitled “Aftermath.” Once again as in 1970, America was at war. In this installation that visually resembled a ruin site or archeological dig, Wilson aimed to remind us of the horror and chaos of war by evoking what is left when the conflict has ended. Among many objects the viewer encountered was a nineteenth-century Japanese figure in wood, a pair of shoes from Bosnia, Jean Carpeaux’s nineteenth-century bronze bust representation of the continent of Africa, and an enormous pre-Columbian beer container.
Wilson’s provocative installation derived its energy from reconsidering objects that have been collected with a particular intent and allowing them to emerge from time-bound contexts in new alignments and contexts. Wilson shows us that while the art of our moment propels us forward, it can enliven the art of the past, which in turn enriches our consideration of the present. As Peter Selz proposed three decades earlier, art offers the potential to elicit thinking, dialogue, and understanding across time and culture. Reflecting on “Aftermath,” I am reminded of a quote by Hans Hofmann: “Through a painting we can see the world.”(37)
Lucinda Barnes is associate director for art, film, and programs at the University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive.
(1) From its inception to 1996, the museum was known as the University Art Museum, and popularly as UAM. The Pacific Film Archive (PFA) was officially a curatorial department of the museum from 1971. In 1996 the name change to University Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (UAM/PFA) reflected the increasing conception of the organization as consisting of two major aesthetic components, art and film, and strengthened by the interplay between the two. In 1996, at the behest of an anonymous donor, the word Berkeley was added to the name, to reflect the role of the museum and film archive in our University and city communities. The name is now University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA)
(2) For a detailed discussion of the history of the Pacific Film Archive, see Lee Amazonas, “Guerrilla Cinematheque Comes of Age: A History of the Pacific Film Archive,” also in this issue. “Commitment,” by Constance Lewallen, details the Berkeley Art Museum’s unique and ongoing commitment to radical new art and includes a discussion of the museum’s renowned MATRIX Program for Contemporary Art
(3) Founding museum director Peter Selz noted that “excellence” was a defining standard for Cal. Excellence, 1970, n.p.
(4) BAM itself represented a unique blend of characteristics for museums of the time. Among the handful of academic museums actively engaged in showing and collecting historical as well as contemporary art were the Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery at the University of Nebraska and the Allen Memorial Art Museum at Oberlin College. In the early 1950s the Allen had initiated a novel exhibition program focusing on young artists and began to collect contemporary art, looking to The Museum of Modern Art in New York as a model (see Anne F. Moore, in Lucinda Barnes, New Voices 94, Allen Memorial Art Museum Bulletin, v. XLVII, 2, 1994, 5). Kirk Varnedoe has written that, from its early days, MoMA’s collecting strategies followed “the notion of a torpedo through time…a forward-moving collection that would always have its ‘nose’ in the present and immediate past, and a ‘tail’ in the receding past” (see Modern Contemporary: Art at MoMA Since 1980, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2000, 12).
(5) Peter Selz, Selection 1966: The University Art Collections. Berkeley: University of California, Berkeley, 1.
(7) Selz, Excellence, n.p.
(8) The Powerhouse Gallery was also referred to as the Barrow Lane Gallery.
(9) The first public art museum established in North America was the Wadsworth Atheneum, founded in Hartford, Connecticut, in 1842. (The first public museums in Europe were established in the late eighteenth century.) In the 1882 catalog of the Bacon Art Gallery, the gifts of art to the university were termed “noble.” It was stated, “It is earnestly hoped that now a beginning has been made in cultivating the aesthetic tastes, in addition to the general intellectual discipline, of those embracing the various educational advantages offered at Berkeley, future years may witness constant accessions to this important department.” “Catalogue of the Bacon Art Gallery,” Library Bulletin No. 4. Sacramento: State Printing, 3.
(10)See “Washington at Monmouth,” American Heritage, Volume XVI, Number 4, June, 1965, 14.
(11) This painting entered the university’s collections in 1881. In addition to the Bierstadt, other contemporary works donated by Bacon include two Yosemite landscapes by F. H. Shapleigh. In the context of the present discussion, it is interesting to note that Bierstadt studied in the mid-1850s in Düsseldorf with Emanuel Leutze, among other academicians.
(12) Bierstadt is frequently noted as having referred to Yosemite as the American Eden. In Landscape and Memory Simon Schama explores a broad cultural sweep of this late nineteenth-century attitude toward culture and nature. New York: Vintage Books, 1996, 7–10.
(13) Diane P. Fischer, “The Story of the ‘Plainfield Bierstadts’: Shifting Perspectives, Changing Times,” in Primal Visions: Albert Bierstadt ‘Discovers’ America, New Jersey: Montclair Art Museum, 2001, 13.
(14) Mrs. Hearst amassed a vast collection of archaeological and anthropological objects that ultimately formed the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology at UC Berkeley. See http://hearstmuseum.berkeley.edu for more information about these collections.
(15) Selz, Excellence, n.p.
(16) A museum of art and culture had been part of the university’s early plans, especially during Phoebe Apperson Hearst’s tenure as a regent. After her death in 1919 an art gallery was to be part of a multi-building plan in her memory, but ultimately funds for the gallery were not made available. During the 1950s UC President Clark Kerr led an effort to develop the creative arts at Cal by enhancing both the curriculum and cultural life on campus. An idea for a university art center evolved into a plan for a major art museum. President Kerr and Professor Erle Loran of the art department negotiated the lead gift from Hofmann. See Travis Bogard, Betty Connors, Jacquelynn Baas, Robert W. Cole, and David Littlejohn, “A Place for the Arts,” Berkeley at Mid-Century: Elements of a Golden Age, Berkeley: Berkeley Public Policy Press, University of California, 2002, 101–138.
(17) Three exhibitions in this series were organized, in 1965, 1966, and 1967, each with an illustrated catalog.
(18) Svetlana Alpers in Selection 1968, Berkeley: University Art Museum, 1968, 77–78.
(19 ) BAM’s internationally distinguished collection of Chinese paintings has evolved in large part from the recent acquisition of key works from what is historically known as the Ching Yüan Chai Collection, a stunning panorama of paintings amassed over fifty years by Professor Cahill and the Cahill family. These collections spanning virtually every period of Chinese painting over the last 900 years were the focus of BAM’s recent exhibition “Masterworks of Chinese Painting: In Pursuit of Mists and Clouds.” The exhibition is touring nationally.
(20) BAM/PFA’s website contains several video interviews with Professor Cahill. See www.bampfa.berkeley.edu/exhibits/masterworks/.
(21) The exhibition and catalog “Shadows of Mt. Huang: Chinese Painting and Printing of the Anhui School” (1981) also resulted from a graduate seminar Professor Cahill led.
(22) Many other former Cahill students trained from these objects have gone on to distinguished careers and have in turn taught and laid the groundwork for succeeding generations of scholars. Among them are Scarlet Jang at Williams College, Stanley Abe at Duke University, Stella Lee at New York University, Richard Vinograd at Stanford University, and Julia White at the Honolulu Academy of Arts.
(23) Robert Warren Clark, in an unpublished report, The Bernard-Murray Tibetan Collection at The University of California, Berkeley, April 3, 2003, 9.
(24) Bernard traveled in Tibet in 1937, collecting art and artifacts and filming and photographing his journey. He is thought to be the first American to seek spiritual guidance in Tibet. Through his popular books and lectures he became a widely known personality in America in the late 1930s and 1940s. In 1947, while traveling through India to Tibet, in an area of Hindu and Moslem conflict, Bernard was mistaken for Moslem and killed by a Hindu mob.
(25) A longtime collector of early American art, former Stanford University professor Bliss Carnochan and his family began giving major works to the museum in 1972 and has indicated that his entire collection ultimately will come to the museum.
(26) In 1994 the museum received, in addition to the still life, a portrait of a Breton woman and a rare set of lithographs by Gauguin.
(27) The museum’s collections of photography range from a significant body of daguerreotypes and images by the earliest practitioners of the medium all the way to the present. In the last three years these collections have been markedly amplified with a multiyear gift now totaling approximately one thousand photographs largely focusing on such late-nineteenth-century images as those mentioned in the text in addition to significant early-twentieth-century works by Margaret Bourke-White, Laura Gilpin, Imogene Cunningham, and Dorothea Lange. The Bancroft Pictorial Collection at Cal includes extensive photography collections, with particular emphasis on Ansel Adams, Dorothea Lange, Eadward Muybridge, Carleton Watkins, and Edward Weston.
(28) Cited in Jeffrey Potter, To A Violent Grave: An Oral Biography of Jackson Pollock, New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1985, 77. Although Pollock was never a formal student of Hofmann, his wife, the painter Lee Krasner, was, and is credited with introducing the wild young American painter to the seasoned European master in 1942.
(29) Listed as catalog number 340 in the unpaginated exhibition brochure, the title of this work was simply The Hawk.
(30) University of California, Berkeley Office of Public Information press release, July 8, 1969. In addition to this Calder sculpture, the collection includes a signature hanging mobile from 1952, Nine Elements, and several of the artist’s diminutive but lively circus toys from the first decades of the twentieth century.
(31) From a 2002 interview with the artist conducted by Ann Curran, cited in http://www.borofsky.com/interview.htm.
(32) The museum’s dialogue with scale continues with recent acquisitions such as Gay Outlaw’s Black Hose Mountain (1998), which rises in a mass of black garden hoses filled with white plaster and stacked repetitively; David Ireland’s simple but architecturally scaled chair, which speaks with near-Biblical authority as implied by its title, Ex Cathedra (1998); John Zurier’s expansive color-field painting Einmal (1995), and Rigo’s Lunatics and Other Imperialists (2001), a lunar landscape inhabited by displaced images.
(33) Bruce Conner is also represented in the Pacific Film Archive collection with a number of films, including Crossroads (1976), preserved on 35mm in 1996.
(34) “Joan Brown” was curated by then BAM/PFA director Jacquelyn Baas and Karen Tsujimoto, curator at the Oakland Museum of California.
(35) For a more thorough discussion of the museum’s involvement with Conceptual art, see Constance Lewallen’s “Commitment.”
(36) For a discussion of curator David Ross’s pioneering video art exhibitions at the museum, see Lewallen, and of PFA’s video collection and program, Amazonas, op. cit.
(37) Quoted in Emily Farnham, Hofmann: Abstraction as Plastic Expression and Notes Made in Hofmann’s Class, Provincetown, MA, 1999, 34.