Sunday, April 25, 2010

A tale of two museums

The Berkeley Art Museum seeks new proposals for their new museum after the $145 million former proposal was scrapped.


John King at SF Gate writes: Here's a surprise: SFMOMA isn't the only local cultural institution seeking an out-of-town architect to design its new home.

There's also a "help wanted" sign at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, which is planning a move to the old University of California printing plant at Center and Oxford streets in downtown Berkeley. Letters went to 10 architectural firms early this month and all 10 have responded with initial proposals. The institution hopes to narrow the list to three and name its designer in June.

The Daily Cal reports: Leaders from the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive have decided to relocate the museum to the former UC Printing Plant after a plan to build a completely new museum was deemed too expensive. ($145 million was deemed a tad expensive for these recessionary times).

City Councilmember Susan Wengraf said moving the museum to the proposed location would be more economically practical than demolishing the current building and constructing a new one.

"The adaptive reuse of an older building is the greenest thing you can do," she said. "It's very exciting that the new director is interested in pursuing that idea."

New Oak Street Entrance to the Oakland Museum.

After a year long renovation The Oakland Art Museum iis poised to reopen this week with thirty-one hours of continuous, round-the-clock, free public programs  (courtesy of Target).

Created in 1969 as a "museum for the people," OMCA is reviving its foundational premise by developing innovative exhibition and programming strategies, setting a new paradigm for the way a museum engages the public. Visitors to the reinvented Museum will find multiple entry points for exploring the state's past; learn about the natural, artistic, and social forces that continue to shape it; and investigate their own role in both its history and its future. 

Part of the feedback OMCA had gotten was that "people had a hard time connecting themselves to what they were seeing," says Louise Pubols, chief curator of history. "Sometimes they didn't see any stories (that represented them) at all. We took it to heart."

It will be interesting to follow these two institutions in the coming decade. Oakland, for all its problems, seems to have a vision for what their museum can do and who they want to connect to.

Also: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/04/23/PKLE1CVE71.DTL&type=art

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