While showing a new 35mm print of Ingmar Bergman’s revered Seventh Seal
(1957) will likely delight devotees of San Francisco’s International Film Festival—the nation’s longest-running film festival—the hybrid institution is specially poised to address the way art and film bleed and tarry into one another. Organized by the museum’s director, Lawrence Rinder, a former Whitney curator responsible for the 2002 Biennial, BAMPFA’s inaugural exhibition, “Architecture of Life,”
features films by
. But an even better reckoning of this medium-border-crossing will come with the exhibition “Covered in Time and History: The Films of Ana Mendieta,” opening on November 9th. A Cuban-born artist,
developed a genre she called “earth-body” performances, which often explored her orphaned, immigrant, female identity in elegant weaves of sculpture, photography, and film.
Such fusions push BAMPFA further into its admixture of a focused educational mission and broader civic responsibilities. Sherry Goodman
, the museum’s Director of Education and Academic Relations, who has worked at the museum for over 20 years, points to the growing importance of art for graduate and undergraduate curricula. Campus-wide programs like “Berkeley Connect
” facilitate interdisciplinary work at which university museums excel. Goodman explains that BAMPFA “empowers students to interface with a broader public” through works—such as Chinese artist Qiu Zhijie’s literati-style garden on the museum’s temporary art wall—that represent the community’s diverse cultural heritage. Given the revolutionary social history of the East Bay and its current struggle for dignity and identity that Rebecca Solnit describes in her contribution to The Architecture of Life catalogue
, that interface is more important now than ever.