The mission of the UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive is to inspire the imagination and ignite critical dialogue through art and film.
The UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive is the visual arts center of the University of California, Berkeley. Through art and film programs, collections and research resources, we aspire to be locally connected and globally relevant, engaging audiences from the campus, community, and beyond.
One of the largest university art museums in the United States, BAM/PFA opened the doors of its distinctive Modernist building on the south side of the UC Berkeley campus in 1970. BAM/PFA’s diverse exhibition programs and its collections of more than 16,000 objects and 14,000 films and videos are characterized by themes of artistic innovation, intellectual exploration, and social commentary, and reflect the central role of education in BAM/PFA’s mission.
The museum was founded in 1963 following artist and teacher Hans Hofmann’s donation of forty-five paintings and $250,000 to the University; today BAM/PFA’s collection of work by this important Abstract Expressionist artist remains the largest in any museum internationally. An architectural competition to design the new museum building was announced in November 1964, and the following year San Francisco architect Mario Ciampi and associates Richard L. Jorasch and Ronald E. Wagner were named the winners. The jury declared, “The richness of this building will arise from the sculptural beauty of its rugged major forms and will not require costly materials or elaborate details. We believe this design . . . can become one of the outstanding contributions to museum design in our time.” Construction began in 1967, and the building opened on November 7, 1970. BAM/PFA is currently planning a new visual arts center.
The following articles on BAM/PFA history are reprinted from Chronicle of the University of California: A Journal of University History, Number 6, Spring 2004:
Collecting the Moment—The Berkeley Art Museum
Guerrilla Cinematheque Comes of Age: A History of the Pacific Film Archive