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UC Berkeley Appoints Lawrence Rinder As Director of Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (April 25, 2008)

Assumes leadership at pivotal moment for institution.

Berkeley, California, April 25, 2008—(Click for a downloadable PDF version of this press release.) Robert J. Birgeneau, Chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley, today announced the appointment of distinguished curator, critic, and educator Lawrence Robert Rinder as the new Director of the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA). Mr. Rinder, who has held prominent museum positions on both coasts, joins the organization at an important period in its forty-five-year history, as it finalizes plans for a new building and expanded programming.

Mr. Rinder, who is currently the Dean of the College at the California College of the Arts, in San Francisco and Oakland, assumes his post during the summer of 2008. He worked at BAM/PFA from 1988 through 1998, serving in a variety of positions, including Curator for Twentieth-Century Art. In his new position, he succeeds Jacquelynn Baas, former Director of BAM/PFA (1988–1999), who has served as Interim Director since October 2007, following the retirement of Kevin E. Consey.

Dr. Birgeneau states, “The Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive is one of the gems of the University of California system, offering an unparalleled experience for both students and a broad public. We are delighted that Lawrence Rinder has agreed to return to BAM/PFA. His demonstrated leadership and creativity, and his deep knowledge of art, education, and the role of museums in public life, will be critical as BAM/PFA expands not only its physical space but also its program and audience.”

BAM/PFA Board Chair Noel Nellis adds, “Larry Rinder’s unique combination of experience as a curator, administrator and educator—and his full understanding of the role of an institution such as ours, which serves both students and a diverse public—will richly inform his work as BAM/PFA’s new director. We look forward to welcoming Larry back to BAM/PFA, and we’re thrilled that he’ll be leading the institution in the exciting years ahead. We also owe a great debt of gratitude to Jackie Baas, who has provided dynamic leadership to this institution during this transitional period. Jackie has not only ensured that BAM/PFA’s plans for its new building in downtown Berkeley, as well as its rich programming, maintained crucial momentum, but she was also key in recruiting Larry Rinder to return to BAM/PFA as its new Director.”

Mr. Rinder says, “Joining BAM/PFA as director is both returning to an institution that I know and love and launching into terrifically exciting new territory. The museum’s plans—both for its building and its program—are so full of promise and vision that I am certain BAM/PFA will set a new standard for museum practice in the years to come. I’m eager to begin working with colleagues new and old to fulfill this tremendous opportunity, empowering the museum to extend its already strong reputation as a globally-renowned center for the arts. Toyo Ito’s remarkable building design will draw worldwide attention while uniting the museum’s exceptional collection and programmatic strengths with the unparalleled resources and highly engaged audiences of the University and the City of Berkeley.”

In his new position at BAM/PFA, Mr. Rinder will lead the institution through the design and implementation of a new facility that will play a central role in the city of Berkeley’s growing arts district. The first North American project for Toyo Ito & Associates Architects, this will reunite the museum galleries with the Pacific Film Archive Theater, which has occupied temporary quarters since 1999, creating a multifaceted arts complex and enabling BAM/PFA to expand its programming.

Lawrence Rinder
Mr. Rinder has had a prominent career in both the curatorial and education-program sides of museums. He began his career as an educational consultant to The Museum of Modern Art, New York (MoMA), and then as a curatorial/education intern at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, before coming to Berkeley, where he was MATRIX Curator at the museum from 1988 to 1998, organizing an ongoing series of exhibitions of contemporary art; Curator for Twentieth-century Art from 1991 to 1998, overseeing all aspects of the museum’s program in this field; and then also Assistant Director for Audience and Program in 1997–98, where he assumed a leadership role in integrating the museum’s education- and public-programming initiatives with its exhibitions program.

From 1998 to 2000, Mr. Rinder was Founding Director of the Institute for Exhibitions and Public Programs (now Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts), at the California College of Arts and Crafts (now California College of the Arts), before joining the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, as the Anne & Joel Ehrenkranz Curator of Contemporary Art. He remained at the Whitney for four years before returning to the California College of the Arts as Dean of Graduate Studies and, later, Dean of the College.

Mr. Rinder has organized or co-organized more than 100 exhibitions at museums and galleries across the country. These have included Louise Bourgeois: The Insomnia Drawings (2003); The American Effect (2003), an exploration of perceptions of America as seen in international contemporary art; Tim Hawkinson (2005), which won the award for “Best Monographic Museum Show in New York City” from the U.S. chapter of the International Association of Art Critics; and the 2002 Biennial Exhibition, all at the Whitney Museum of American Art; Searchlight: Consciousness at the Millennium (2000) and LOT/EK: TV-TANK (1998) at the CCA Wattis Institute; and In a Different Light (1995), co-organized with Nayland Blake, which explored the resonance of gay and lesbian experience in twentieth-century American culture; Suzan Frecon: Drawings and Small Paintings (1995); Knowledge of Higher Worlds: Rudolf Steiner’s Blackboard Drawings (1997); and Richard Tuttle: Folded Space (1994), all at the UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive.

Mr. Rinder has published and lectured widely and is a member of several prominent boards and advisory committees, including The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, New York City; Kelsey Street Press, Berkeley; Camerawork Gallery, San Francisco; and Headlands Center for the Arts, Sausalito, among others. He has held teaching positions at Columbia University, New York; the University of California, Berkeley; and Deep Springs College, Deep Springs, California.

Lawrence Rinder attended the School of Visual Arts, New York, and received his B.A. in Art from Reed College, Portland, Oregon, and his M.A. in art history from Hunter College, New York.

Jacquelynn Baas
Before coming to Berkeley in fall 1988 as the third director of BAM/PFA, Jacquelynn Baas served as Director of the Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth College. There, she oversaw construction of a new museum designed by Charles W. Moore that opened in fall 1985. Ms. Baas, who has published widely, retired from BAM/PFA in July of 1999 to devote herself to writing and consulting. From 1999 to 2005 she founded and directed the arts consortium Awake: Art, Buddhism, and the Dimensions of Consciousness, which generated two books and many artist residencies and public programs. She has organized some thirty exhibitions over the course of her career, and is currently working on Fluxus and the Essential Questions of Life, scheduled to open at the Hood Museum in 2011. Jacquelynn Baas received her Ph.D. in the History of Art from the University of Michigan.

University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive
The UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA) aims to inspire the imagination and ignite critical dialogue through contemporary and historical art and film, engaging audiences from the campus, the Bay Area community, and beyond. BAM/PFA is one of the largest university art museums in the United States in both size and attendance, and offers some fifteen art exhibitions and 450 film programs each year. These often present the work of emerging artists and filmmakers, as well as new perspectives on established practitioners.

The museum’s collection of more than 15,000 works includes exceptional examples of mid-twentieth-century painting, including important work by Hans Hofmann, Jackson Pollock, and Mark Rothko, and one of the finest collections of historical Chinese painting in the United States, much of it from the collection of James Cahill—UC Berkeley professor emeritus and one of the world’s leading scholars of this work—and his family. Additional strengths include other historical and contemporary Asian art, early American painting, Conceptual and contemporary international art, and California and Bay Area art. The museum’s ongoing MATRIX Program for Contemporary Art is dedicated to exhibitions and programs that present cutting-edge art and ideas.

The Pacific Film Archive is one of the nation’s most highly respected and comprehensive centers for film exhibition, collection, and study. Its internationally recognized exhibition program surveys a broad range of film in critical, cultural, and historical contexts, and frequently includes in-person conversations with filmmakers, authors, and scholars. The PFA film and video collection of approximately 14,000 films and videos includes the largest group of Japanese films outside of Japan, as well as impressive holdings of Soviet silents, West Coast avant-garde cinema, seminal video art, rare animation, Central Asian productions, Eastern European cinema, and international classics.

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For further information, contact Jeanne Collins or Lucy O’Brien, at Jeanne Collins & Associates, LLC, New York City, 646-486-7050, or info@jcollinsassociates.com.