The 46th Annual University of California, Berkeley Master of Fine Arts Graduate Exhibition (June 29–August 7, 2016)


Isaac Vazquez Avila: brown utopia sintitulo, 2016; oil on paper; 31 x 21 in.; courtesy of the artist.

(Berkeley, CA) June 8, 2016 — For the forty-sixth consecutive year, the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA) presents the University of California, Berkeley Master of Fine Arts Graduate Exhibition. This year’s presentation features the work of six extraordinary artists who bring innovative perspectives and approaches to art making. While the work cannot be categorized under a single theme or style, many of these artists use tactics of humor and “world making” to comment on serious contemporary issues, such as extinction, personal trauma, gentrification, and social and cultural melding.

Isaac Vazquez Avila incorporates elements of painting, collage, and sculpture to create works that evoke the power of living between cultures, specifically referencing the artist’s Mexican American heritage. Sculptor Michael Berens creates installations, videos, and drawings that celebrate the precariousness of objects within space, employing a playful and humorous approach to examine the world around us. Lark Buckingham’s films explore the ways that institutional monitoring and technology are threatening our individual privacy and safety, challenging the pervasiveness of social media networks. Working with materials ranging from glitter to bouncy houses, José Joaquin Figueroa creates installations that take viewers on transformative, even spiritual journeys through worlds that suggest dystopia rather than nirvana. Clement Hil Goldberg presents a new stop-motion animated film that explores queerness in the context of biological diversity and the extinction of lemurs in Madagascar, illustrating the animals’ struggle for survival while interrogating a human-centric world. Documentary photography and video form the basis of Jin Zhu’s creative practice, which addresses the vulnerability of the displaced, specifically those who have experienced the trauma of eviction in San Francisco due to gentrification brought on by the influx of tech companies and real estate developers.


The 46th Annual University of California, Berkeley Master of Fine Arts Graduate Exhibition is organized by BAMPFA Curatorial Associate Lauren R. O’Connell. The annual UC Berkeley MFA exhibition is made possible by the Wiltsek Endowment for the Master of Fine Arts Exhibition.

Public Programs

Opening Reception
Friday, July 1, 2016; 6 p.m.
Join us for a reception to celebrate the 2016 MFA graduates of UC Berkeley’s Department of Art Practice. During the opening reception, looped screenings of MFA graduate Lark Buckingham's film Tattletale Heart will be shown in BAMPFA's Theater 2.

Open to BAMPFA members and guests of the artists

Artists’ Talks
July 3, 2016; 3 p.m.
Meet the 2016 graduates of UC Berkeley’s Masters of Fine Arts program as they talk about their work at the outset of their professional careers. This year’s MFA graduates are Isaac Vazquez Avila, Michael Berens, Lark Buckingham, José Joaquin Figueroa, Clement Hil Goldberg, and Jin Zhu.

Included with admission

Tenants Speak
July 3, 2016; 4:30 p.m.
Join us for a short screening of video interviews with San Francisco tenants who fought their evictions, made by MFA artist Jin Zhu and Alexandra Lacey in collaboration with the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project. The filmmakers will be available at the screening for a Q&A with the audience. 

Included with admission


Internationally recognized for its art and film programming, the UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA) is a platform for cultural experiences that transform individuals, engage communities, and advance the local, national, and global discourse on art and film. Founded in 1963, BAMPFAis UC Berkeley’s primary visual arts venue with its screenings of some 450 films and presentations of up to twenty exhibitions annually. BAMPFA’s mission is to inspire the imagination and ignite critical dialogue through art and film.

The institution’s collection of over 19,000 works of art dates from 3000 BCE to the present day and includes important holdings of Neolithic Chinese ceramics, Ming and Qing Dynasty Chinese painting, Old Master works on paper, Italian Baroque painting, early American painting, Abstract Expressionist painting, contemporary photography, and Conceptual art. BAMPFA’s collection also includes over 17,500 films and videos, including the largest collection of Japanese cinema outside of Japan, impressive holdings of Soviet cinema, West Coast avant-garde film, seminal video art, as well as hundreds of thousands of articles, reviews, posters, and other ephemera related to the history of film—many of which are digitally scanned and accessible online.

To download a .pdf version of this release click here.

Posted by pcavagnaro on June 08, 2016