switching gears

Sunday was the last day for Fermata. Monday, we all went in there and took our work down. With the exception of Motel Cucaracha (which was a pain in the ass), de-installing work is usually fairly quick and painless, relative to the drama and anxiety leading up to any major show. Monday at the Berkeley Art Museum was no different: very quiet, very anti-climactic. My time at BAM intersected with Bill’s and Joe’s for a few minutes, which was nice. I’d brought a bunch of bedsheets with me to wrap my work up with: next thing you know, Bill, Joe and I collaborated on a 30-second performance piece in front of Ali’s massive wall (Joe directed, Bill snapped, I posed).



Fitted sheets: always fun. Contextually, it’s also funnier if you know Ali, and the personas he’s created in his works. Anyway, much more interesting than discussing what it’s like removing 40 paintings from a wall and putting them into boxes. In any case, since it only took a short amount of time to de-install and re-photograph my piece, I took the opportunity to take a few more photos inside BAM, since I’ll prolly never be allowed to do so again.


Something I reflected on a lot while this show was up was the enormous sense of connectedness I felt, finally being in a show in this particular museum. When we first moved back to the US I was in high school, and I found myself desperate to escape the horrors of the suburbs. One of the places I used to escape regularly to was Berkeley, and specifically to BAM (back then, it was still UAM: University Art Museum). Its nutty architecture worked its magic on me, and I was hooked.


I can think of a number of milestone shows that really moved me when I was still pretty young: Kiki Smith’s first MATRIX show(1991), Jay DeFeo (1990), Christian Boltanski (1989)…These shows, as well as works by many artists in the permanent collection (Betye Saar, Jonathan Borofsky, Jean Tinguely, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha), were completely formative and inspiring for me as a teenager, and I’ve never forgotten them.

Supposedly BAM will be moving to a new building in downtown Berkeley in the future: it sounds like it could be a while. No problem with me: I’m so attached to this old building, I’m happy to get to keep visiting it for quite a while longer.

By the way, Point of Departure, the piece I exhibited, is still on its way to becoming a full-fledged web project: I’ll keep you posted on when it’s up and running in its complete state.

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