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

Create (May 11 through September 25, 2011)

Evelyn Reyes: Garbage Cans, 2004; oil pastel on paper; 11 1/4 × 17 5/8 in.; courtesy of the artist and Creativity Explored, San Francisco.

Group show features over 135 works by twenty artists representing San Francisco’s Creativity Explored, Oakland’s Creative Growth Art Center, and Richmond’s NIAD Art Center.

Berkeley, CA, March 1, 2011—(Download a PDF version of this press release.) The University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA) is thrilled to present Create, an exhibition that highlights the extraordinary contributions of three of the leading centers for artists with disabilities in the United States: San Francisco’s Creativity Explored, Oakland’s Creative Growth Art Center, and Richmond’s National Institute of Art and Disabilities (NIAD Art Center). Curated by BAM/PFA Director Lawrence Rinder, with Matthew Higgs, director of White Columns, New York, the exhibition features over 135 works by twenty artists who have created artworks at these centers over the past twenty-five years. On view from May 11 through September 25, 2011, the exhibition features works by noted artists Judith Scott, William Scott, Willie Harris, James Miles, John Patrick McKenzie, Evelyn Reyes, Aurie Ramirez, and Dan Miller, among others.

“The artists featured in this exhibition—all of whom have some form of developmental disability—possess the talent, independence, and depth of feeling that makes the most powerful art possible,” says BAM/PFA Director Lawrence Rinder.

While the centers are independent of one another and have rarely collaborated, Creativity Explored, Creative Growth, and the NIAD Art Center have a shared history: all three were founded by two pioneers of the art and disabilities movement, Florence Ludins-Katz, an artist and educator, and Elias Katz, a psychiatrist. In the 1970s the Katzes developed an innovative new methodology for supporting artists with developmental disabilities. Their approach focused on a group studio environment, professionalism, and engagement with the broader art community. The San Francisco Bay Area, with its traditionally progressive attitudes towards the rights of disabled peoples, proved the perfect community for advancing these methods. Today artists at these three centers work daily alongside one another, create new works specifically for exhibition and sale, make frequent visits to local galleries and museums, and have regular access to artist mentors who assist them in developing new approaches and techniques.

There is no greater testimony to the success of the Katzes’ process than the extraordinary quality of art consistently being created at these centers. Clichés about how art by the disabled looks are quickly dispelled when confronted with the tremendous diversity of styles and approaches being deployed in Create. Willie Harris creates innovative abstract works in which thickly layered monochrome canvases are attached to one another to form a hybrid of painting and sculpture. Mary Belknap uses a variety of media—Sharpies, watercolors, pencils, and oils—combined with delicate repetition to create brightly colored patterns that seem to dance and move across, and beyond, the paper. Judith Scott created densely compacted sculptures from wool, rubber bands, and other media, evoking the shapes of rocks and chairs. In contrast, Carl Hendrickson’s large but spare wood constructions possess a fragile transparency while alluding to everyday objects such as tables, chairs, and flagpoles. Lance Rivers draws and paints from memory uncannily precise representations of Bay Area train stations, bridges, and other local landmarks. Meanwhile, William Scott’s ebullient portraits combine with inspirational text to evoke a brightly optimistic, utopian vision of San Francisco.

Complete Roster of Artists
Mary Belknap, Jeremy Burleson, Attilio Crescenti, Daniel Green, Willie Harris, Carl Hendrickson, Michael Bernard Loggins, Dwight Mackintosh, John Patrick McKenzie, James Miles, Dan Miller, James Montgomery, Marlon Mullen, Bertha Otoya, Aurie Ramirez, Evelyn Reyes, Lance Rivers, Judith Scott, William Scott, William Tyler

Related Materials
By Lawrence Rinder, with Matthew Higgs
Texts by Kevin Killian
Published by BAM/PFA
Paperback, 176 pages
Pub date: May 11, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-9719397-9-0
A fully illustrated catalog published by BAM/PFA and distributed by D.A.P./Distributed Art Publishers will accompany the Berkeley presentation of Create and subsequent tour. The 176-page full-color catalog features a foreword and introductory essay by Lawrence Rinder and sections devoted to each of the twenty artists included in the exhibition, with texts by Kevin Killian, as well as artists’ biographies. With 109 full-color reproductions of work by these artists, the catalog highlights the diversity of styles and approaches of the Creativity Explored, Creative Growth Art Center, and NIAD Art Center artists, challenging our ideas about art by people with developmental disabilities.

After the BAM/PFA presentation of Create, the exhibition will embark on a national tour organized by Independent Curators International (ICI). Cities, venues, and dates have not been set at the time of this writing. Visit the ICI Create page regularly for the latest details: www.ici-exhibitions.org/index.php/site/exhibitions/create

Related Links
Creativity Explored: www.creativityexplored.org
Creative Growth Art Center: www.creativegrowth.org
NIAD Art Center: www.niadart.org

Public Programs
Curator's Gallery Talk: Lawrence Rinder
Thursday, May 12, 12:10 p.m.
BAM/PFA Galleries
Included with museum admission
Lawrence Rinder, BAM/PFA director and curator of Create, will lead an informative tour of this new exhibition that showcases the work of artists from Creative Growth Art Center, Creativity Explored, and the National Institute of Art and Disabilities (NIAD Art Center).

Artists' Panel: Andres Cisneros-Galindo, Paul Moshammer, and Tara Tucker with Matthew Higgs and Lawrence Rinder
Thursday, June 23, 6:30 p.m.
Museum Theater
Admission free
The open group studio environments of Creative Growth Art Center, NIAD Art Center, and Creativity Explored foster productive artistic exchange as student/studio artists work alongside one another and with master/staff artists, who demonstrate and encourage a variety of approaches and techniques. In a discussion moderated by Create curator and BAM/PFA director Lawrence Rinder, staff artists Andres Cisneros-Galindo (NIAD), Paul Moshammer (Creativity Explored) and Tara Tucker (Creative Growth)—all of whom practice and exhibit professionally in the Bay Area and beyond—will talk about the dynamic of mutual influence in these studios and its effect on their own work. Matthew Higgs, director and chief curator of White Columns in New York and longtime collaborator with Creative Growth, will address the wider artistic influence of the NIAD Art Center, Creativity Explored, and Creative Growth artists.

Sign-Language Interpreted Tour: Patricia Lessard
Saturday, June 11, 1:30 p.m.
BAM/PFA Galleries
Included with museum admission
Expert American Sign Language interpreter Patricia Lessard, a specialist in the interpretation of visual art, will present an engaging gallery tour of Create with a UC Berkeley graduate student tour guide.

Guided Tours
Guided tours of the exhibition will be offered on selected Thursdays at 12:15 p.m. and selected Sundays at 2 p.m. Please consult the BAM/PFA website for the schedule. Tour guides are UC Berkeley graduate students from the departments of Art Practice and Performance Studies.

Create is curated by Lawrence Rinder, with Matthew Higgs, and has been made possible in part by Dr. James B. Pick and Dr. Rosalyn M. Laudati, the LEF Foundation, and the continued support of the BAM/PFA Trustees.

The Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA) is the visual arts center of the University of California, Berkeley, the nation’s leading public research university. One of the largest university art museums in the United States in both size and attendance, BAM/PFA aims to inspire the imagination and ignite critical dialogue through contemporary and historical art and film, engaging audiences from the UC Berkeley campus, the Bay Area, and beyond. Each year BAM/PFA presents fifteen art exhibitions, 380 film programs, and dozens of performances, as well as lectures, symposia, and tours. The museum’s collection of more than 30,000 works ranges from Neolithic Chinese pottery to contemporary video art. Among the collection's exceptional strengths are Ming and Qing dynasty Chinese painting, Italian Baroque painting, Old Master works on paper, early American painting, mid-twentieth-century abstract painting—including important works by Hans Hofmann, Jackson Pollock, Eva Hesse, and Mark Rothko—Japanese cinema, Soviet silent film, West Coast avant-garde video and film, animation, and international classic films.

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

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

Admission: General admission is $10; admission for seniors, disabled persons, non–UC Berkeley students, and young adults (13–17) is $7; 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/PFA galleries is $7 after 5 p.m. 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