Berkeley Art Center in the 1990s

The 1990’s the Bay Area saw an increase in experimental art. Young artists flocked to the San Francisco Mission District. The new community made work that pushed the boundaries by integrating street culture, music culture, folk art in a new expression of contemporary art. BAC in the 90’s expanded its programing to include artist saloons, poetry readings, art installations and exhibitions curated by world renown curators.

Below are selected exhibitions from the 1990’s at the Berkeley Art Center. 

Food for Thought
June 28 - August 9, 1992 

Food for thought featured a selection of artists including Elaine Bagley Arnoux, Candi Farlize and Larry Henry Robin Lasser with Victor Bellomo and David Pace, Charlie Milgrim, Jos Sances, Sandra Ortiz Taylor and Flo Wang. Among the artists is Elaine Bagley Arnoux 'whose life work has been developed through the persistent honing of her craft to interpret her roots, motherhood and the California landscape.



Asian Roots, Western Soil:
Japanese Influences in American Culture

December 12 - January 23, 1994

Values such as harmony, serenity, acceptance and wonder rooted in Japanese culture and expressed in much Japanese art and design, have influenced and attracted artists in North American and Europe for decades. This exhibition featured works by 33 artists who are influenced by Japanese art and culture, regardless of background, including Peter Voulkos, John Toki, Isamu Noguchi, Ruth Asawa, Sam Francis and Tom Marioni,.  Art, craft, and design all share equal prominence and importance in the exhibit.

As different artists from diverse backgrounds begin to absorb Japanese influences, the results do not coalesce into a style, but reflect true individuality. Today no one is ethnically “pure,” if indeed any culture ever has been.  Influences from “others” are absorbed and deflected, appropriated, transformed, and in a continuum, influence the next generation.

Arbie Williams Transforms the Britches Quilt 
April 4 - June 5, 1994 

Arbie Williams moved to Oakland with her family, one of tens of thousands of African-Americans to do so in the 1930s and 1940s. She is a recipient of a National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment of the Arts and became a renowned quilter. Her “britches quilts” were made from overalls and pants worn to the point where they were no longer serviceable for their original use.  Eventually as necessity for the quilts faded, Williams allowed herself “relaxed standards of execution” and “ leeway for experimentation.” The quilts in this exhibition were from the collection of Eli Leon and the show traveled from were the Mary Porter Sesnon Art Gallery at U.C. Santa Cruz.            


On the Edge of the Century:
Printmaking and Social Commentary in the 1990
curated by René Yañez
June 2 - July 11, 1999

Printmaking and social commentary show was curated by local San Francisco artist, curator and producer Rene Yanez. Yanez is widely recognized throughout the Bay Area for projects that promote greater awareness of local social and political issues. He has curated a number of exhibitions and collaborated with local organizations including Oakland Museum of California, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and Berkeley Art Center to name a few.