On View March 27—September 1, 2019
Exhibition Highlights Significant Gift to the Museum that Advances Its Growing Photography Holdings
(Berkeley, CA) March 27, 2019—An exceptional private collection of photography goes on view at the UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA) this spring, celebrating a major new gift to the museum by the Bay Area collectors William Goodman and Victoria Belco. The couple has donated to BAMPFA nearly 100 works from their collection, more than seventy of which are featured in Unlimited: Recent Gifts from the William Goodman and Victoria Belco Photography Collection. Encompassing a broad range of historical and contemporary images, the Goodman Belco collection substantially advances BAMPFA’s photography holdings, which continue to be a major area of growth in the museum’s encyclopedic collection.
International in scope, the Goodman Belco Collection is especially strong in contemporary global photography from Europe and East Asia, as well as experimental and documentary work from notable photographers like William Larsen, Marco Breuer, and Steve Kahn. Many prominent Bay Area photographers are represented in the collection, including living artists like Sean McFarland, Janet Delaney, McNair Evans, and Catherine Wagner. Historical highlights from the collection include photos by early twentieth-century French photographer Jacques-Henri Lartigue (who shot most of his photos between the ages of eight and eighteen) and modernist images by English photographer Bill Brandt.
The Goodman Belco gift enhances BAMPFA’s already extensive photography holdings, which include nearly 5,500 works in a broad range of styles and subjects. Following the museum’s celebrated retrospective of photos by Peter Hujar last summer, Unlimited signals the growing commitment to photography as a major component of the museum’s acquisition and exhibition programs. Unlimited is organized by SFMOMA’s Curator Emerita of Photography Sandra Phillips, whose recent appointment as adjunct curator at BAMPFA further underscores the museum’s deepening commitment to exhibiting this important area of its collection.
The strength of BAMPFA’s photography holdings reflects the longstanding vibrancy of the Bay Area’s photography community, which encompasses some of the leading private and museum collections of photography in the United States—as well as a legacy of distinguished photographers such as John Gutmann, Robert Hartman, and Richard Gordon, all of whom are represented in the Goodman Belco Collection. The couple began their collecting practice after moving in the early 1970s to the Bay Area, where they became active in San Francisco’s then-nascent photography gallery scene. Over the past four decades, they have assembled a collection of more than five hundred photographs, including works acquired both locally and on multiple international trips.
On Thursday, March 28 at 12 p.m., Phillips provides a curatorial overview of Unlimited that contextualizes works produced in the Bay Area alongside notable images by Asian and European photographers. Phillips’s talk is followed on Thursday, May 23 at 5:30 p.m. by an exhibition tour with Delphine Sims, Andrew W. Mellon Curatorial Intern at BAMPFA and a PhD student in UC Berkeley’s Department of History of Art, who served as a curatorial assistant on the show. Families are invited to engage with the exhibition through BAMPFA’s Gallery + Studio program, which offers art-making workshops inspired by the works in Unlimited on Saturday, April 13 at 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. All programs are free with museum admission.
Unlimited: Recent Gifts from the William Goodman and Victoria Belco Photography Collection is organized by Adjunct Curator Sandra S. Phillips with Andrew W. Mellon Curatorial Intern Delphine Sims and additional assistance from Assistant Curator Stephanie Cannizzo and Curatorial Assistant Valerie Moon. The exhibition is made possible with generous support from the BAMPFA Trustees and from William Goodman and Victoria Belco, in memory of Teresa Goodman.