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Protest in Paris 1968: Photographs by Serge Hambourg (March 12 – June 1, 2008)
Exhibition documents a famously turbulent moment in modern history: the student protests in Paris of spring 1968.
Berkeley, CA, February 21, 2008—(Click for a downloadable PDF version of this press release.) The University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA) presents Protest in Paris 1968: Photographs by Serge Hambourg, an exhibition documenting the student demonstrations that overtook the streets of Paris during the spring of 1968. A stunning representation of one of the most famous protest movements in modern history, this landmark series of photographs fits comfortably in Berkeley, another epicenter of the late '60s student movement. Protest in Paris 1968: Photographs by Serge Hambourg opens March 12 and runs through June 1, 2008.
The year 1968 was pivotal to the political, social, and cultural histories of the United States, France and many other countries across the globe. The events in Paris that year were part of a decade that saw many protests—in support of the American civil rights movement and feminism, and against American involvement in the Vietnam War, to name a few. Documentary photography published in newspapers and magazines and shown on television played an especially important role in stimulating the ferment. Searing images from the Vietnam War era, such as the Kent State student kneeling next to a fallen protestor, or the picture of a screaming Vietnamese girl fleeing napalm, powerfully affected attitudes toward that conflict and the student protests against it.
Less familiar but similarly revealing documents of a famously turbulent moment are Serge Hambourg’s photographs of the protests against the conservative government of General Charles de Gaulle in Paris in 1968. During this year, Hambourg worked as a photojournalist for the weekly magazine Le nouvel observateur. Some of his images of the demonstrations were printed in the magazine; most of them, however, are being seen for the first time in this exhibition, organized by the Hood Museum of Art at Dartmouth College.
The protests of May 1968 had actually begun in March, with students at Nanterre, a university in the suburbs outside Paris. Their demands for reforms at the university level had grown by early May into massive demonstrations in Paris against the government itself. In mid-May, seven to ten million students and workers went out on a general strike; coupled with wildcat and sit-down strikes, this event virtually shut down the economy for two weeks. Serge Hambourg first photographed the student leader Daniel Cohn-Bendit talking to a group at Nanterre University in early March, and followed the demonstrations and meetings as events heated up later in the spring and summer. In these photographs one can almost feel the groundswell of popular sentiment and the strong presence of the youthful student leaders in galvanizing the demonstrators. Hambourg also captured images of the backlash by de Gaulle supporters. The photographer’s keen eye and artistic sense are evident in these images, which represent events that still reverberate almost forty years later.
Serge Hambourg is an independent photographer who worked for Le nouvel observateur from 1966 through 1977. His photographs have been reproduced in books, magazines, and journals including Paris match, New York Magazine, Time, Vogue, Le monde, Art in America, and many others. They are in the collections of museums including the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the New-York Historical Society; the New Orleans Museum of Art; the Minneapolis Institute of Arts; and the Hood Museum of Art. From 1977 through 1992, Hambourg lived in New York City; he now lives and works in Paris.
Artist’s Talk - Serge Hambourg
Friday, April 4, 5 p.m.
In an informal tour of the exhibition, Serge Hambourg will comment on the content and context of his photographs and share personal anecdotes from his experience as a photojournalist in Paris during the spring and summer of 1968. Martin Jay, Sidney Hellman Ehrman Professor of History at UC Berkeley, will join us on this walk through the gallery to converse with Serge Hambourg about some of the images on view. Professor Jay’s research interests include visual culture and late modern Europe.
The Clash of ’68
March 27 – April 20
Featuring works by Jean-Luc Godard, Gillo Pontecorvo, Bernardo Bertolucci, and many others, this twelve-film PFA series is dedicated to the memory of May ’68 and its surrounding history.
The exhibition will be accompanied by Protest in Paris 1968: Photographs by Serge Hambourg, an exhibition catalogue with essays by Anne Sa’adah and Thomas Crow and an introduction by Katherine Hart. The catalogue will be available at the Museum Store.
This exhibition was organized by the Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, and was generously funded by the Parnassus Foundation, courtesy of Jane and Raphael Bernstein. Education programs in conjunction with the Berkeley presentation are supported by Daniel Bernstein and Claire Foerster.
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
About UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive
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 five hundred film programs each year. The museum’s collection of more than 14,000 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.
University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive
2626 Bancroft Way, just below College Avenue near the UC Berkeley campus.
Gallery and Museum Store Hours: Wednesday to Sunday, 11 am to 5 pm. Closed Monday and Tuesday.
Admission: 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 (510) 642-5188). Admission is free on the first Thursday of each month.
Information: 24-hour recorded message (510) 642-0808; FAX (510) 642-4889; TDD: (510) 642-8734