Berkeley Art Center in the 2000s

The new millenium saw the rise of art that walked the line between street art, modern contemporary art, conceptual art, and graffiti. Artists like Oakland’s Swampy, San Francisco’s BLF and many more gained prominence. Berkeley Art Center continued thriving, curating shows that featured local emerging and established artists with shows such as Against All Odds: Ingenuity, Talent and Disability that featured works showcasing the ingenious ways these artists had found to continue creating work despite physical limitations, and the Annual Berkeley Youth Show focused on the creative accomplishments of students from Berkeley High School Arts and Humanities Academy.

The Berkeley Art Center exhibited work by over 50 artists. 
Below are selected exhibitions from the 1960s at the Berkeley Art Center.


Against All Odds:
Ingenuity, Talent and Disability
November - December, 2000

Featuring the work of Casper Banjo, Philip Martin Chavez, Timothy Rene Lynn, Charles Nagle, Thomas Victor Siporin, and Elsa Waller, and curated by Patrice Wagner

Each of the six artists had to find an ingenious way to circumvent physical challenges just to keep doing what they do best -- making art! The intention of the exhibit was both to bring public discussion to the issue of adaptive art making techniques and to celebrate artists who are using these techniques successfully.


The Whole World's Watching:
Peace and Social Justice movements of the 1960's and 1970's
September - December, 2001

The Whole World's Watching, was an extraordinary exhibition which examined the rich history of the social movements of the 1960's and 1970's through documentary photography. With a focus on Northern California where many of these activities were born, distinguished photographers illuminated the rise of the Black Panthers, the Free-Speech and Anti-war Movements, feminism, disability rights, environmental activism, the struggle for gay rights and the cultural milieu which formed and informed them.

The exhibition presented 100 images taken during the turbulent times by noted photographers including Jeffrey Blankfort, Nacio Jan Brown, Cathy Cade, Bob Fitch, Robert Hsiang, Ken Light, Richard Misrach, Ronald J. Riesterer, Stephen Shames, Ted Streshinsky, Michelle Vignes and Douglas Watcher among others.


Process & Place:
The Transformative Potential of Artist Residencies

February -  March, 2010 

Six local visual artists—Anne Lamborn, Amy Berk, Edith Hillinger, Brooke Holve, Mary Curtis Ratcliff, and Elizabeth Sher—attended the same artist residency program in New Zealand, all at different times. In this exhibition, the notion of place, the nature of retreat, and how that impacts the process of art-making was explored through an examination of the artists’ own work and experiences. Paintings, paper scrolls, found objects, cotton weavings, and ink and paint on wood were some of the media included in the exhibition.


Bridge to Sakai
July - August, 2007

A port city near Osaka, Japan, Sakai is known historically for its Samurai sword production and is considered one of country’s primary Tea Ceremony centers. In 2006 East Bay artists participated in a cultural exchange trip to Sakai. A highlight of the trip was an exhibition of their artwork alongside their Japanese counterparts. This exhibition reciprocated the cultural exchange with a showing of Sakai artists that interprets traditional Japanese arts and crafts from a contemporary perspective.

Among the eight featured Japanese artists at BAC were Toyoaki Ikushima, Shozaburo Kawai, Yoshiyuki Kitada, Setsuko Kondo, Hotei Nagata, Kazuaki Nobata, Atsuko Sakai, and Yoko Yasumatsu. Many of the exhibiting artists, including painters, sculptors, calligraphers and ceramicists are designated Living National Treasures of Japan, the highest honor the Japanese Government bestows upon artists.