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A Tribute to a UC Berkeley Professor, and International Avant-Garde

This week at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA), there will be two new exhibitions opening. One pays tribute to a recently departed professor, and another is from the museum’s MATRIX 254 program.

First up is Looking Intently, which celebrates the legacy of James Cahill, Professor Emeritus at UC Berkeley, who passed away this year. The exhibition is presenting a selection of works collected by the professor, many of which are Chinese and Japanese paintings from the Ming and Qing periods. And though it is only a handful of Cahill’s collection, the exhibition exhibits his understanding of the inherent value of these works, and would go on to kick off a lifelong pursuit of fine paintings, and would even be given a studio name, Ching Yuan Chai (bestowed to him by his own teacher, Shimada Shujiro). Now his collection makes up the core of BAM/PFA’ s Chinese painting collection.

An example of what’s to come in this exhibition can be seen at the museum’s website at, which shows a 15th century silk painting titled Summer Trees Casting Shade by artist Dai Jin (1388-1462). Looking Intently opens on Wednesday July 23rd, and will be on view until December 21st.

The second exhibition opening this week is from MATRIX 254, and it features the work of Romanian artist Geta Brătescu. She has lived and worked in Bucharest since the 1950s, and has worked with a wide range of media including graphic design, video, performance and installation. Yet because of being constantly exiled from her home country, because of her avant-garde work as well as Romania’s political isolation, she was rarely known to international audiences until recently.

Brătescu’s upcoming exhibition at BAM/PFA is the first for a U.S. museum, and it presents a selection of works made between 1977 and 2000, including the print Mrs. Oliver in her Traveling Costume (1985), which can be seen at BAM/PFA’s website. The exhibition opens on Friday July 25th, and will be on view until September 28th.

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