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Media Contact: Peter Cavagnaro, pcavagnaro@berkeley.edu, (510) 642-0365

Flowers of the Four Seasons: Ten Centuries of Art from the Clark Center for Japanese Art and Culture (August 25, 2010–December 12, 2010)

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Saitō Ippo: Flowers of the Four Seasons, late 18th–early 19th century, Japan (detail); ink and colors on gold leaf; six-fold screen; 36 3/4 x 95 1/4 in.; Clark Center for Japanese Art and Culture.

BAM/PFA’s Major Fall 2010 Exhibition Gives Bay Area Residents an Opportunity to View Key Pieces from One of the Most Significant Collections of Japanese Art in North America

Berkeley, CA, June 22, 2010—(Download a PDF version of this press release.) One of the most significant collections of Japanese art in North America will pay its first visit to the Bay Area for the University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive’s major fall 2010 exhibition, Flowers of the Four Seasons: Ten Centuries of Art from the Clark Center for Japanese Art and Culture. BAM/PFA will display over 110 works of art from the Clark Center of Hanford, California. The exhibition reflects the broad collecting interests of the Center’s founder Willard G. Clark. His passion for Japanese art and culture has resulted in a collection ranging from the late Heian period (794–1185) to the twenty-first century, including all major areas of artistic endeavor—screens, scrolls, wood sculptures, textiles, ceramics, and works of bamboo.

Clark studied architecture at UC Berkeley and animal husbandry at UC Davis in the early 1950s. He started his art collection with modestly priced purchases of art on his several visits to Japan from Hawai’i where he was stationed as a young officer in the United States Navy. After his release from the military in 1963, he took charge of the family business, quintupled its size, and embarked on an even more successful venture exporting bull semen overseas. As Clark’s businesses grew, so did the size and scope of his immense art collection. In 1995 he founded the Clark Center, a museum for Japanese art, to better protect these precious works and to make them available for public viewing. From 2002 to 2003 highlights from the collection traveled to five cities in Japan, including Tokyo and Osaka, where they were admired by thousands of visitors. Given the Center’s relative remoteness, too few in the United States have had a chance to view this important collection. The BAM/PFA exhibition will change this by presenting to the public the most significant pieces from each of the key areas of the collection.

Much of the Flowers of the Four Seasons exhibition comprises work from the Edo, or pre-modern, period (1603–1868). The hanging scrolls and folding screens on display portray a variety of subjects; playful images of urban life, the elegant diversions of nobility, portraits of Buddha, natural and idealized landscapes, flora, birdlife, and other animals. The overall effect of this variety of imagery is a remarkable view of the artistic creativity in Edo Japan.

Wood and polychromy Buddhist sculptures, dating from the Heian period to the Kamakura period (1185–1333), are the oldest pieces in the exhibition. Moving forward in time, a portion of the exhibition focuses on late-twentieth century bamboo sculpture. Japanese farmers and artisans plaited bamboo for hundreds of years, but it wasn’t until the mid-twentieth century that bamboo began to be thought of as a sculptural medium in its own right. Flowers of the Four Seasons highlights signature works of some of the most significant modern bamboo sculptors including Ueno Masao, Mimura Chikuhō, Nagakura Ken’ichi, and Uematsu Chikuyū. Contemporary artist Fukami Sueharu’s collection of light blue ceramic sculptures, with sleek edges and softly contoured planes that evoke sword blades or ocean waves, round out the exhibition and demonstrate that Clark’s interests encompass both the past and the future of Japanese art.

The exhibition will be accompanied by public programs, including a lecture on August 26, 2010, by British scholar Timon Screech—Collecting and Viewing in the Edo Period: Some Thoughts on the Ownership and Display of Paintings—and a series of four performance-based events presented in conjunction with BAM/PFA’s after hours program L@TE: Friday Nights @ BAM/PFA, programmed by Tomo Yasuda, a Bay Area-based Japanese-American electronic musician.

Flowers of the Four Seasons: Ten Centuries of Art from the Clark Center for Japanese Art and Culture is organized jointly by the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive and the Clark Center for Japanese Art and Culture and is co-curated by Julia M. White, senior curator for Asian Art at BAM/PFA and Andreas Marks, Clark Center director.

Credit
Public programming for Flowers of the Four Seasons: Ten Centuries of Art from the Clark Center for Japanese Art and Culture is supported by Bonhams & Butterfields, Bonhams Japanese Art North America, and the Metropolitan Center for Far Eastern Art Studies. Flowers of the Four Seasons has been made possible in part by the Center for Japanese Studies, UC Berkeley.

About BAM/PFA
The Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA) is the visual arts center of the University of California, Berkeley, one of the nation’s leading research universities. 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. One of the largest university art museums in the United States in both size and attendance, BAM/PFA presents fifteen art exhibitions and five hundred film programs each year. The museum’s collection of more than 15,000 works, distinguished by artistic excellence and innovation, intellectual exploration, and social commentary, 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.

Museum Information
Location:
2626 Bancroft Way, just below College Avenue near the UC Berkeley campus.

Gallery and Museum Store Hours: Wednesday through Sunday, 11–5. Open L@TE Fridays until 9 p.m. Closed Monday and Tuesday.

Admission: General admission is $8 ($10 beginning September 1, 2010); admission for seniors, disabled persons, non–UC Berkeley students, and young adults (13 – 17) is $5 ($7 beginning September 1, 2010); admission for BAM/PFA members, UC Berkeley students, staff, and faculty, and children under 12 is free. Reservations are required for group visits; for information, rates, and schedule, please e-mail sgvisits@berkeley.edu. Admission is free on the first Thursday of each month.

L@TE Admission: On L@TE Fridays, general admission to the BAM galleries is $5 after 5 p.m. ($7 beginning September 1, 2010). Show your ticket for a same-day PFA screening or gallery visit and get in free. Admission is always free for BAM/PFA members and UC Berkeley students, faculty, and staff. For updates on L@TE programs and to purchase tickets, visit bampfa.berkeley.edu/late.

Information: 24-hour recorded message (510) 642-0808; fax (510) 642-4889; TDD (510) 642-8734.

Website: bampfa.berkeley.edu

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Please note: For a selection of media images, please contact Peter Cavagnaro at (510) 642-0365 or pcavagnaro@berkeley.edu.