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The University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive has acquired the Steven Leiber collection of Conceptual art and ephemera as well as Leiber’s library of Conceptual art reference and artists’ books. Steven Leiber, who was a world-renowned dealer, scholar, and collector with a special interest in Conceptual art, died in 2012.

In recognition of Leiber’s impact on the history of art and on the museum’s own collection, BAM/PFA will name the area of its new building that will house these works “The Steven Leiber Conceptual Art Study Center.” BAM/PFA’s new building, designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, is currently under construction in downtown Berkeley and is slated to open in early 2016. With this new acquisition, BAM/PFA is poised to become one of the world’s leading centers for the study of Conceptual art.

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On Sunday, December 21, the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA) in Berkeley, California, will say goodbye to its Brutalist home of forty-four years. Founded in 1963 following a major donation from the Abstract Expressionist painter Hans Hofmann, the BAM/PFA announced an architectural competition to design the new museum building in 1964. The jury named the San Francisco-based architect Mario Ciampi and his associates Richard L. Jorasch and Ronald E. Wagner the winners of the competition, saying, “The richness of this building will arise from the sculptural beauty of its rugged major forms and will not require costly materials or elaborate details. We believe this design...can become one of the outstanding contributions to museum design in our time.”

One of the largest university art museums in the United States, the BAM/PFA opened the doors of its distinctive Modernist building on the UC Berkeley campus in 1970. Executed in the Brutalist style, an architectural movement that flourished from the 1950s to the mid-1970s, the BAM/PFA’s building is a behemoth cast concrete structure.

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The University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive presents "American Wonder: Folk Art from the Collection," on view October 1 through December 21, 2014. Featuring approximately fifty portraits, landscapes, weather vanes, decorative sculptures, and other works dating from the wake of the Declaration of Independence War to the end of the Civil War, this exhibition captures glimpses of young America during a period of boundless optimism, massive growth, and eventual upheaval. This distinguished collection at BAM/PFA—one of the most impressive American folk art collections from this period anywhere—results from the generosity of two collectors and patrons, Bliss Carnochan and Nancy Edebo. "American Wonder" is the last major art exhibition to open in BAM/PFA’s current museum building at 2626 Bancroft Way before the institution moves to a new location, currently under construction, in downtown Berkeley in early 2016.

American Wonder starts in late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century New England, where the country’s newly independent citizens were beginning to help define and assume a national identity—one aligned with the goals of liberty, self-improvement, and advancement.

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