The Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA), has called the opening of their new building located on Center Street in Downtown Berkeley “mind opening.” And they surely didn’t disappoint.
In fact, the building was a whole lot of “wow,” beginning with the exterior of the Diller, Scofidio + Renfro-designed building, which had the classic feel of most buildings in Downtown Berkeley, as well as a futuristic, chrome look, complete with a big screen on one side of the building.
And then the excitement of BAMPFA’s new building continues, entering inside the interior. Walking in, there was the greeting of a magnificent wall mural by Qui Zhijie titled, the World Garden, which was a cross between the traditions of pre-19th century Japanese ink drawings, and wordplay. Next was the work displayed throughout the museum, especially those the exhibition, “Architecture of Life.” Key works included Stephen Kattenbach’s Portrait of My Father (a colorful but haunting portrait of his father, ridden with Alzheimer’s), Avery Pressman’s silvery and industrial-like painting (which was Untitled), and Trenton Doyle Hancock’s Remember with Memory, which was like looking at the album cover of the Beatles’ album Revolver, but with words, trees and plants.
While it has been only a few weeks since BAMPFA opened their new building, it is already apparent they have come a long way from their former building located near Bancroft Street. And if one takes BART to the Downtown Berkeley station, it is even more convenient, given that it is now just a block away.