Hans Hofmann, the great abstract expressionist painter and teacher, might never have made his indelible imprint on 20th-century American art, first on the West Coast and ultimately across the U.S., had it not been for two summers teaching at UC Berkeley. The invitation came from Worth Ryder, an art department faculty member and former Hofmann student, and without it, it’s possible there wouldn’t even be much of a Berkeley Art Museum.
Arts + Letters
Bright, sherbet colors form the palate of Wesaam Al-Badry’s newest exhibit, a series of portraits that features Muslim women in traditional garb—with a twist. Instead of the usual neutral-toned veil, the women don designer scarves, made by brands like Gucci and Chanel, that have been repurposed as high-fashion niqabs.
Posted on January 18, 2019 - 3:41pm
Chris Beale doesn’t call himself a photographer. Or a journalist. Or an activist. When asked his profession, the 42-year-old is quiet for a moment before replying, “Gardener. I’m a landscape gardener.”
Posted on December 24, 2018 - 7:02am
Cal Performances isn’t in the habit of weighing in on topical controversies, but when it comes to defending Cal students, the organization decided it was time to raise a voice.
Make that many voices—Cal Performances has assembled a stellar roster of artists to create an oratorio inspired by the stories of undocumented students living in fear that they and their families could be uprooted at any moment.
Cal’s interest in the fate of undocumented students predates the 2016 election by years.
Javier Zamora, a Salvadoran-American poet who lived for most of his life sin papeles, doesn’t care too much for labels. Or borders for that matter.
Born in El Salvador and educated at UC Berkeley, Zamora immigrated to the U.S. when he was only 9 years old. Since then, his literary success has earned him new titles—immigrant activist, hero of the American Dream, and very recently, with his new EB-1 visa, a person with “an extraordinary ability.”
The latest issue of CALIFORNIA contains a chapter-length excerpt from I Will Be Complete, the new memoir by acclaimed novelist and UC Berkeley alum Glen David Gold (Carter Beats the Devil, Sunnyside).
Posted on October 8, 2018 - 1:32pm
Comedian and Cal grad Zahra Noorbakhsh is a self-described “pork-eating, alcohol-drinking, premarital sex-having, bisexual feminist Iranian Shi’a Muslim.” That is, she doesn’t fit neatly into any one box.
Posted on October 5, 2018 - 12:21am
The following chapter “Biography” has been excerpted from I WILL BE COMPLETE: A MEMOIR (2018) by Glen David Gold. Used by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Penguin Random House LLC.
UC Berkeley grad and Spanish professor at Diablo Valley College, Marina Crouse has recently found remarkable success in her long-forgone passion for music. With the release last month of her debut album Never Too Soon (Little Village Foundation), the late-blooming singer is starting to earn national attention. And in just a few short years Crouse has become one of the most powerful new voices in the Bay Area music scene.
Posted on September 18, 2018 - 1:40pm
As a successful, Filipina-American, experimental feminist poet, Barbara Jane Reyes is something unusual. Her poetry, which she describes as “Filipina affirming work, Filipina centric work, in which the definition of Filipina must be complex and manifold,” is being featured at the San Francisco Asian Art Museum, through the month of August. She joins poet Al Robles as part of the Pilipinx American Library, a non-circulating library in the museum’s Resource Room.
Posted on August 30, 2018 - 7:59am
In 1940, a Polish historian named Emanuel Ringelblum and a group of 60 scholars, journalists, and local leaders, known as the Oyneg Shabes, set out to record Jewish life in the Warsaw Ghetto. The Nazis had taken over, and, unbeknownst to Ringelblum, a plan for the “Final Solution”—the systematic extermination of the Jewish people—was beginning to formulate.
Posted on August 29, 2018 - 11:57am
What can historical garments tell us about today’s political climate? Berkeley Art Practice professor Stephanie Syjuco has some ideas.
This November, Syjuco will present a selection of her projects at the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Renwick Gallery in Washington, D.C. Her works have typically dealt with global issues, but lately she has turned her attention to the political and social drama unfolding across the U.S. stage.
Posted on August 7, 2018 - 3:34pm
Art critic and professor Julia Bryan-Wilson likes process. So when she and Andrea Andersson co-curated About to Happen, a solo show by artist and poet Cecilia Vicuña, she photographed Vicuña gathering materials along the Louisiana coast for a site-specific sculpture at the Contemporary Arts Center in New Orleans. Bryan-Wilson thought those photos would enhance the exhibition.
Posted on July 26, 2018 - 2:03pm
Music director Jonathan Khuner ’70, M.A. ’73, has been a shaping force for West Edge Opera company since the mid-1980s, when he began conducting for this vibrant troupe. In his choice of repertoire, his own tastes and uncompromising outlook helped define the company’s aesthetic, first in its original incarnation as Berkeley Opera and now as West Edge.
The best jazz musicians can bend and twist time, changing meter mid-phrase to fold a melody back on itself, or stretching a beat so that it seems to hang, pregnant, in mid-air. As a first-call pianist in New York City, Rob Schneiderman spent more than a decade expanding and compressing music’s temporal dimensions with jazz legends such as trumpeter Chet Baker, trombonist J.J. Johnson, and saxophonist James Moody, while also recording a series of critically hailed albums under his own name.
Posted on June 27, 2018 - 3:08pm