World-Class Art Next Door

We sometimes forget what a wealth of arts and culture the Bay Area boasts. Just one year ago, the art-world spotlight was on the region as two major institutions re-opened after massive remodels: SFMOMA and, in Emeryville’s backyard, the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA).

BAMPFA opened its new home in the downtown Berkeley arts district last February. Founded in 1963, BAMPFA (spoken as BAM P-F-A) is an exhibition space and resource center for both film and the arts. Its collection encompasses over 19,000 artworks and 17,500 films and videos in addition to a huge library of cinematic archives. Yet, it is the newly remodeled building itself that has drawn the biggest oohs and aahs.

Designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, the world-renowned firm that created New York’s High Line and LA’s Broad museum, the new BAMPFA is in a repurposed 1939 Art Moderne printing plant and a new stainless steel clad structure that partially drapes the original building.

In addition to a dynamic range of film screenings and events, BAMPFA presents a series of rotating exhibitions aimed to challenge, provoke and inspire.

CURRENT EXHIBITION: Hippie Modernism: The Struggle for Utopia Covering the years 1964-1974, this exhibition features numerous presentations and artworks, as well as a film series that includes documentaries, experimental works, and iconic feature films that explore the social, political, and aesthetic interests of the era.

During those years, the spirit of idealism, mind-expansion, political resistance, new technologies, and electrifying music strongly shaped art, architecture and design, and impacted society as a whole.

BAMPFA is located directly across from the UC Berkeley campus, just steps from Berkeley’s Downtown BART station. Gallery hours are Wednesday through Sunday, 11am-9pm. Check their website to view the many films and presentations coming up >