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Kevin E. Consey to Step Down after Eight Years as BAM/PFA Director (September 21, 2007)
Berkeley, CA, September 21, 2007: Kevin E. Consey, who has led the University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA) since the autumn of 1999, announced his retirement today, effective January 2, 2008.
"I have been privileged to work with a talented and energetic staff of the highest professional caliber during my tenure. The significant and substantial accomplishments produced during this time were due to our collaborative efforts and their intelligence, skill, and perseverance," Consey said.
He continued, "The continuing demanding work and challenges of the new building project and capital campaign need increased energy over the next several years. Eight years of service and significant accomplishments in the areas of institutional growth and preparatory fundraising, program development, architect selection, and conceptual design work for a new building mark a good time to step down and retire."
UC Berkeley appointed Consey in 1999, in part because of his more than twenty years of leadership experience directing art museums, especially those in growth and building phases. Consey was asked to assist the campus with developing a strategy to ameliorate the seismic limitations of the museum's current building on Bancroft Way. Part of his key early work was to organize and manage a temporary seismic retrofit of the existing structure. This was completed in 2001, and has enabled the institution to meet the applicable state seismic safety codes and remain open and active during the planning process for a new facility.
During his tenure, Consey led the process to develop a program, select a site, and initiate a fund-raising campaign for a new building for the museum and film archive in downtown Berkeley. In September 2006, a committee comprising UC Berkeley staff, faculty, students, and donors selected the Tokyo-based architectural firm of Toyo Ito and Associates to design the new facility from a field of over 140 competitors. The initial phase of conceptual design has been completed, and is now beginning the campus approval process.
The period of 2000 through 2007 was one of dramatic programmatic, collection, and economic growth for BAM/PFA. According to Consey, the institution's annual operating activity grew over 100 percent over eight years, from $4,837,000 to $9,680,000, due to robust increases in private philanthropy, and despite a permanent $500,000-per-year cut in campus funding due to state budget shortfalls.
In that same period, the market value of BAM/PFA's endowment increased from $15,528,000 in 1999 to $60,776,000 in 2007, with an additional $7.5 million in funds functioning as endowment—an increase of over 390 percent. In a similar fashion, the market value of BAM/PFA acquisition funds grew from $216,900 to $3,011,000, a more than tenfold increase.
Staff recruited and hired to carry out the mission of BAM/PFA increased from 72 FTE (full time equivalent) to 102 during this period.
During Consey's tenure, BAM/PFA has pursued an acquisition program as active and ambitious as that of any museum in the U.S. Since 1999, more than 2,000 works of art and over 4,000 films and videos have been added to the collection, ensuring the institution's continuing excellence among American university museums.
Acquisition highlights include fifty major historical Chinese paintings from the renowned James Cahill family collection, the Bernard-Murray Collection of Tibetan Art, and the Peil Collection of late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century photographs. In addition, there have been numerous gifts and purchases of work by artists who have been featured in BAM/PFA's groundbreaking exhibitions program, including Joe Brainard, William Wiley, Peter Doig, Richard Misrach, Joan Jonas, Shirin Neshat, Rigo, Fred Wilson, Jay DeFeo, Bruce Nauman, and Eija-Llisa Ahtila. In 2005 BAM/PFA established the Edith R. Kramer Film Collection in honor of her remarkable tenure as Senior Curator at the Pacific Film Archive.
The exhibition program has been equally active, with major exhibitions and publications produced, such as Joe Brainard: A Retrospective (2000); The Dream of the Audience: Theresa Hak Kyung Cha (2001); Richard Misrach: Berkeley Work (2002); Everything Matters: Paul Kos, A Retrospective (2003); Drawn by the Brush: Oil Sketches by Peter Paul Rubens (2005); Measure of Time (2006-07); Ant Farm: 1968-1975 (2006); and A Rose Has No Teeth: Bruce Nauman in the 1960s (2007). A vibrant public lecture program and symposium series evolved and expanded along with the exhibition program.
BAM/PFA's MATRIX Program for Contemporary Art, one of the longest-running exhibition series of its kind, has continued to thrive, with more than fifty new projects over the last eight years, with a particular emphasis on international artists from countries including Australia, Brazil, China, Finland, Germany, Great Britain, Israel, Japan, Poland, South Africa, and Venezuela.
The Pacific Film Archive continued its level of high achievement as one of the leading film archives in the country, presenting numerous major film retrospectives including the work of directors Michelangelo Antonioni, John Cassavetes, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Alfred Hitchcock, Abbas Kiarostami, Krzysztof Kieslowski, Akira Kurosawa, Ang Lee, Guy Maddin, Louis Malle, Mikio Naruse, Yoko Ono, Yasujiro Ozu, Sam Peckinpah, Gus Van Sant, and Luchino Visconti. In addition, PFA has presented and supported an extremely wide variety of film festivals and special programs including the San Francisco International Film Festival and the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival.
BAM/PFA's role in supporting and enhancing the educational mission of the campus has remained central to its mission. During his tenure, Consey led a range of initiatives to increase student attendance and participation in the museum and film archive. These include establishing a full-time academic liaison, who works with faculty members to integrate BAM/PFA programs, collections, and exhibitions in the core-teaching curriculum on campus. In 2002, an Academic Advisory Committee was formed, comprising UC Berkeley faculty members in diverse fields who advised the director and museum staff on academic issues of importance to the faculty, and communicated to faculty research and future projects of BAM/PFA staff. The BAM/PFA Student Committee was also revitalized over this period. The cumulative result of these initiatives was a substantial increase in student attendance at both the art museum and film archive to as much as 24 percent of the total audience.
Consey will continue to reside in Berkeley, where he will work on independent projects and resume his arts management consulting practice that he established in 1996 and suspended during his tenure at Berkeley.
The campus will commence the search for a Director for the museum and film archive immediately.
The UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA) aims to inspire the imagination and ignite critical dialogue through contemporary and historical art and film, engaging audiences from the campus, Bay Area community, and beyond. BAM/PFA is one of the largest university art museums in the United States in both size and attendance, presenting fifteen art exhibitions and more than four hundred film programs each year. The museum's collection of more than 15,000 works includes exceptional examples of mid-twentieth-century painting, including important works by Hans Hofmann, Jackson Pollock, Eva Hesse, and Mark Rothko, as well as historical and contemporary Asian art, early American painting, Conceptual and contemporary international art, and California and Bay Area art. The PFA film and video collection now includes the largest group of Japanese films outside of Japan, as well as impressive holdings of Soviet silents, West Coast avant-garde cinema, seminal video art, rare animation, Central Asian productions, Eastern European cinema, and international classics.
The University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Additional support is provided by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Koret Foundation, the Bernard Osher Foundation, Packard Humanities Institute, the Henry Luce Foundation, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the Columbia Foundation, the Christensen Fund, the William H. Donner Foundation, San Francisco Foundation, Gap Inc., other private foundations and corporations, and our individual donors and members. Major endowment support has been provided by the Phyllis C. Wattis Foundation and by George Gund III.
2626 Bancroft Way, just below College Avenue near the UC Berkeley campus.
Gallery and Museum Store Hours:
Wednesday and Friday to Sunday, 11 to 5; Thursday, 11 to 7. Closed Monday and Tuesday.
2575 Bancroft Way at Bowditch
General admission is $8; admission for seniors, disabled persons, non–UC Berkeley students, and young adults (13 – 17) is $5; admission for BAM/PFA members, UC Berkeley students, staff and faculty, and children under 12 is free; admission for group tours is $3 per person (to arrange a group tour, call  642-5188). Admission is free on the first Thursday of each month.
PFA Theater Admission:
General admission is $9.50; admission for seniors, disabled persons, UC Berkeley staff and faculty, non-UC Berkeley students, and youth (17 and under) is $6.50; admission for BAM/PFA members and UC Berkeley students is $5.50. Additional features are $4 for all patrons.
PFA Ticket Sales:
Daily 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. at the museum's Bancroft lobby admissions desk, and one hour before the first showtime of the day at the PFA Theater box office.
Advance tickets: Online at bampfa.berkeley.edu, or charge-by-phone: (510) 642-5249.
24-hour recorded message (510) 642-0808; fax (510) 642-4889; TDD (510) 642-8734.