previews

  • Kurt Schwitters, Merzbau, 1923-48, 12' x 19' x 15'. Reconstruction by Peter Bissegger.

    Kurt Schwitters

    Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA)
    2155 Center Street
    August 3–September 27

    The Menil Collection
    1533 Sul Ross Street
    October 22–January 30

    Princeton University Art Museum
    Princeton University
    March 26–June 26

    Curated by Josef Helfenstein

    In 1919, Kurt Schwitters repurposed a syllable of the word Kommerz (“commerce”), originally cut out from a bank advertisement, to designate his artistic project: Merz. “Kurt Schwitters: Color and Collage,” which includes some ninety works (collages, prints, assemblages, reliefs), promises to make a case for the central place of color in the art of the great German modernist, while also emphasizing Schwitters’s engagement with abstraction and his inventive use of found objects and print technologies. The first North American solo museum show of his work in more than two decades, this exhibition will include the full-scale reconstruction of the Merzbau, on loan from the Sprengel Musuem in Hannover, Germany.

    Travels to the Princeton University Art Museum, NJ, Mar. 26–June 26, 2011; University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, Aug. 3–Nov. 27, 2011.

  • Jay Rosenblatt, Short of Breath, 1990, still from a color film in 16mm, 10 minutes.

    Radical Light: Alternative Film and Video in the San Francisco Bay Area 1945-2000

    Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA)
    2155 Center Street
    October 6–April 3

    Curated by Kathy Geritz, Steve Seid, and Steve Anker

    At the beginning of Christopher Maclaine’s film The End (1953), the most apocalyptic expression of Beat Generation angst, the doomed narrator addresses San Francisco as “a city among cities gone down in fire.” It had not gone down, but San Francisco certainly was burning. In 1955, Allen Ginsberg’s reading of “Howl” at the Six Gallery announced one of the most remarkable cultural revolutions to transform any city, one whose moving-image component was seminal to the postwar US avant-garde. With works ranging from experimental films of the 1940s to eclectic video art of the 1990s, this exhibition and its screenings, which mark the release of a related book, will provide for a long-overdue reappraisal.

    Screening series travels to multiple US venues beginning in Jan. 2011.