17 January 2014

University Art Museum listed in the National Register

On 8 January 2014, the University Art Museum (BAM) was listed in the National Register of Historic Places. BAHA sponsored the nomination, which was written by John English.

The building is considered a masterwork of modernist design and has been called a “visual masterpiece.” In its scuptural forms, it outstandingly exemplifies the Brutalist style of its era. Especially impressive is the unique complex formed by the soaring atrium and spirals of multiple galleries and ramps. Also visually powerful is the building’s exterior, which strongly reflects the interior layout and presents staggered Cubist masses that rise and shift direction compellingly. BAM is a prime example of work by Mario J. Ciampi (1907–2006), an important Bay Area architect and urban designer with a distinctive modernist flair.

Art historican Sidra Stich notes that “At one time the museum was the center of contemporary art activity in the Bay Area. It produced internationally significant exhibitions, had its finger on the pulse of avant-garde activity, and was an energizing hub for people and ideas [...] aspects of the [museum’s] program still focus on the current era, offering insights into contemporary ideas and modes of expression.”

The museum has a continuing commitment to presenting new and experimental work. Also exceptional is the museum’s world-class Pacific Film Archive.


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