UC Berkeley News


Lawrence Rinder named to helm BAM/PFA
He returns to the museum after a decade away to oversee its new-building campaign and expanded programming

30 April 2008

The appointment of distinguished curator, critic, and educator Lawrence Robert Rinder as the new director of the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA) was announced last week by Chancellor Robert Birgeneau. Rinder will begin work in his new position this summer.

Lawrence Rinder

Currently dean of the California College of the Arts in San Francisco and Oakland, Rinder worked at BAM/PFA from 1988 through 1998, serving in a variety of positions, including curator for 20th-century art. In his new position he succeeds Jacquelynn Baas, former director of BAM/PFA (1988–99), who has served as interim director since last October, following the retirement of Kevin Consey.

Said BAM/PFA board chair Noel Nellis: “Larry Rinder’s unique combination of experience as a curator, administrator, and educator — and his full understanding of the role of an institution such as ours, which serves both students and a diverse public — will richly inform his work as BAM/PFA’s new director. We’re thrilled that he’ll be leading the institution in the exciting years ahead.

“We also owe a great debt of gratitude to Jackie Baas, who has not only ensured that BAM/PFA’s plans for its new building in downtown Berkeley, as well as its rich programming, maintained crucial momentum, but was also key in recruiting Larry Rinder to return to BAM/PFA as its new director.”

“Joining BAM/PFA as director is both returning to an institution that I know and love and launching into terrifically exciting new territory,” said Rinder. “The museum’s plans — for both its building and its program — are so full of promise and vision that I am certain BAM/PFA will set a new standard for museum practice in the years to come. Toyo Ito’s remarkable building design will draw worldwide attention, while uniting the museum’s exceptional collection and programmatic strengths with the unparalleled resources and highly engaged audiences of both UC Berkeley and the city of Berkeley.”

Rinder will lead BAM/PFA through the design and implementation of a new facility that will play a central role in the city of Berkeley’s growing arts district. The first North American project for Toyo Ito & Associates Architects, the new building will reunite the museum galleries with the Pacific Film Archive Theater, which has occupied temporary quarters since 1999. It will create a multi-faceted arts complex and enable BAM/PFA to expand its programming.

An artful C.V.

Rinder began his career as an educational consultant to the Museum of Modern Art in New York, then worked as a curatorial/education intern at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis before coming to Berkeley. Here he was MATRIX curator at the museum from 1988 to 1998, organizing an ongoing series of exhibitions of contemporary art. In addition to serving as curator for 20th-century art from 1991 to 1998, he was assistant director for audience and program in 1997-98, helping integrate the museum’s education and public-programming initiatives with its exhibitions program.

From 1998 to 2000, Rinder was founding director of the Institute for Exhibitions and Public Programs (now the Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts) at the California College of Arts and Crafts (now California College of the Arts), before joining the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York as the Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Curator of Contemporary Art. He remained at the Whitney for four years before returning to the California College of the Arts as dean of graduate studies and, later, dean of the college.

He has organized or co-organized more than 100 exhibitions at museums and galleries across the country. These have included Louise Bourgeois: The Insomnia Drawings (2003); The American Effect (2003), an exploration of perceptions of America as seen in international contemporary art; and the 2002 Biennial Exhibition, all at the Whitney. At BAM/PFA he organized In a Different Light (1995), co-organized with Nayland Blake, which explored the resonance of gay and lesbian experience in 20th-century American culture; Suzan Frecon: Drawings and Small Paintings (1995); Knowledge of Higher Worlds: Rudolf Steiner’s Blackboard Drawings (1997); and Richard Tuttle: Folded Space (1994).

Rinder has published and lectured widely and held teaching positions at Columbia, Berkeley, and California’s Deep Springs College. He attended the School of Visual Arts in New York, received his B.A. in art from Reed College in Portland, Ore., and earned an M.A. in art history from Hunter College in New York.

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