Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive

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Coordinates: 37°52′07″N 122°15′21″W / 37.86874°N 122.25582°W / 37.86874; -122.25582

The new Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive opened in 2016.
The former Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive main building on Bancroft Way, designed by Mario Ciampi.[1]
Pacific Film Archive Theater at the Hearst Annex

The Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA) are a combined art museum and repertory movie theater and archive, associated with the University of California, Berkeley. The director is Lawrence Rinder who was appointed in 2008.[2]

The building underwent updates beginning in 2009 and which finished in 2015. The archive and art museum moved from its original home to a new location on Center Street; the museum opened to the public in January 2016.[3]


The University of California art collection began with "Flight into Egypt," a 16th-century oil on wood panel by the School of Joachim Patinir gifted to the University by San Francisco banker and financier François Louis Alfred Pioche in 1870.[4][5] The museum was founded in 1963 after a donation was made to the university from artist and teacher Hans Hofmann of 45 paintings[6] plus $250,000. A competition to design the building was announced in 1964, and the museum opened in 1970.[7]

The museum has featured works by Albert Bierstadt, Jonathan Borofsky, Joan Brown, Robert Colescott, Jay DeFeo, Helen Frankenthaler, Paul Gauguin, Juan Gris, Ant Farm, Howard Fried, Paul Kos, Robert Mapplethorpe, Knox Martin, Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko and Sebastião Salgado. In 2009, the museum acquired (as a gift from the artist) the Abu Ghraib Series[8] of 56 painting and drawings by Fernando Botero.[9] In 2014, the museum acquired San Francisco collector and dealer Steven Leiber's collection of Conceptual art and art materials, as well as his library of reference and artists’ books related to Conceptualism and the Fluxus movement.[10] It also offers The MATRIX Program for Contemporary Art.[11]

The Pacific Film Archive (PFA) was founded by Sheldon Renan[12] and began screening films in 1966 and specializes in international films. The PFA also includes a library[13] which includes an online database of documentation associated with the films.[14]

The collection now holds more than 19,000 works of art and 16,000 films and videos. The collection includes Ming and Qing dynasty Chinese paintings, Mughal dynasty Indian miniature painting, Baroque painting, old master prints and drawings, early American painting, 19th and 20th century photography, conceptual art, international contemporary art, international animations, and the largest collection of Japanese films outside of Japan.[15]

The museum is a member of the North American Reciprocal Museums program.


The former Berkeley Art Museum building was built in 1970 and designed by Mario Ciampi.[7] The building was deemed seismically unsafe in 1997, and iron braces were added in 2001 to slightly improve its safety. In 1999, the Pacific Film Archive moved to a temporary building across the street.[16]

In 2008, BAM/PFA unveiled plans for a new visual arts center, to be designed by the Japanese architect Toyo Ito and located in downtown Berkeley, across the street from UC Berkeley's main entrance.[1][17][18] However, in 2009, those plans were cancelled. Citing the weak economy and trouble raising the necessary funds, BAM/PFA decided to retrofit and enlarge the former University of California Press printing plant at that site, a 1939 Art Deco building on the California Register of Historic Resources and qualified to be on the National Register of Historic Places.[16][19][20]

In 2011, BAM/PFA presented the schematic design for the $100 million transformation of a former printing plant into its new home, designed by the New York firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro.[21] Located at 2120 Oxford Street in Berkeley's arts district, the design combines the existing 1939 concrete Art Deco-style building, unoccupied since 2004, with a new metal-clad, skylighted structure that will include galleries, a 32-seat screening room, a store and a learning center.[21] Construction began in 2013 and the building was expected to be completed in 2015 and opened to the public in 2016.[22] It opened to the public on January 31, 2016.[23]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Kino, Carol (2007-03-28). "On College Campuses, A Crop of Galleries". The New York Times.
  2. ^ "Lawrence Rinder Appointed Director of BAM/PFA". 2008-04-28. Archived from the original on 2011-09-27. Retrieved 2009-09-12.
  3. ^ Bianchini, Riccardo. "BAMPFA Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive". Inexhibit. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
  4. ^
  5. ^ Flight into Egypt, BAM Collection item 1
  6. ^,%20Hans&artistcalc_qualifier=keyword&displayType=grid&maxresults=50&start=1
  7. ^ a b BAM/PFA Mission & History
  8. ^
  9. ^ Lucinda Barnes, "Fernando Botero: The Abu Ghraib Series," September 23, 2009-February 7, 2010 exhibition notes.
  10. ^ Randy Kennedy (December 18, 2014), A Permanent Home for a Collection of Art Ephemera The New York Times.
  11. ^ Matrix Exhibitions|BAMPFA
  12. ^ Amazonas, Lee (Spring 2004). "Guerrilla Cinematheque Comes of Age: The Pacific Film Archive" (PDF). Chronicle of the University of California: 147–159.
  13. ^ BAM/PFA Library
  14. ^ BMAPFA Film, Video, and Book Catalogs
  15. ^ The 35 Best College Art Museums
  16. ^ a b Modenessi, Jennifer (2010-01-29). "UC Printing Plant may become new home of Berkeley Art Museum". Contra Costa Times. Retrieved 2010-02-10.
  17. ^ DelVecchio, Rick (2006-09-30). "Tokyo architect to design Cal's new museum". San Francisco Chronicle.
  18. ^ Ouroussoff, Nicolai (2008-11-24). "A Berkeley Museum Wrapped in Honeycomb". The New York Times.
  19. ^ Lee, Lydia (2010-01-26). "Berkeley's Moderne Art Museum". The Architect's Newspaper. Archived from the original on 2010-01-29. Retrieved 2010-02-10.
  20. ^ Bhattacharjee, Riya (2010-01-28). "University Eyes Old UC Printing Plant for New Art Museum". Berkeley Daily Planet. Retrieved 2010-02-10.
  21. ^ a b Robin Pogrebin (September 16, 2011), Berkeley Museum Unveils New Design The New York Times.
  22. ^ Rosario, Gladys (2013-02-13), "Construction begins on UC Berkeley Art Museum", Daily Californian
  23. ^ [1]

External links[edit]