Matrix 219: Wilhelm Sasnal

November 20 -- March 5, 2006
Berkeley, CA, October 17, 2005 -
The University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA) is proud to present the latest exhibition in the MATRIX Program for Contemporary Art, MATRIX 219 Wilhelm Sasnal. The exhibition features new works by renowned Polish artist Wilhelm Sasnal that draw on Pare Lorentz's award-winning 1938 film The River, a documentary that looked at the Mississippi River and its tributaries, and the havoc wrought on farms and towns by the river's flooding. MATRIX 219 Wilhelm Sasnal will be on view in the MATRIX Gallery from November 20 through February 27, 2006.

Best known as a painter, Sasnal uses mass-media photographs, video, film, and animation as source material for his work. He also incorporates a broad range of art-historical references and different stylistic approaches to create paintings that diffuse and dilute the meaning of the material on which they are based. These references have included works as diverse as Alksandr Rodchenko's 1930 portrait Pioneer Girl, Art Spiegelman's comic MAUS, and concert photographs of Sonic Youth.

Sasnal's MATRIX exhibition uses as its starting point Pare Lorentz's 1938 film The River, which was awarded Best Documentary at the 1938 Venice Film Festival, and which today stands as a paean to the American landscape and its rich history. A subsequent book that combined images from the film with Lorentz's free-verse narration was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1938. For his MATRIX exhibition, Sasnal is creating a film based on the book, set to a soundtrack of Bay Area bands. To accompany the film, Sasnal will create ink drawings that will serve as posters for his movie.

MATRIX 219: Wilhelm Sasnal was curated by Heidi Zuckerman Jacobson, former MATRIX Curator and now director and chief curator of the Aspen Art Museum.

Public Programs
Sunday, November 20, 4 p.m.
Artist's Talk
Gallery 1
Artist Wilhelm Sasnal, former MATRIX Curator Heidi Zuckerman Jacobson, and special guest Jordan Kantor will engage in a conversation about Sasnal's recent work. Artist Jordan Kantor is an associate professor at California College of the Arts and former assistant curator of drawings at The Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Credit Line

The University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Additional support is provided by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Koret Foundation, the Bernard Osher Foundation, Packard Humanities Institute, the Henry Luce Foundation, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the Columbia Foundation, the Christensen Fund, the William H. Donner Foundation, San Francisco Foundation, Gap Inc., other private foundations and corporations, and our individual donors and members. Major endowment support has been provided by the Phyllis C. Wattis Foundation and by George Gund III.

Gap Inc. is proud to support First Impressions: Free First Thursdays at BAM/PFA. For more information about Free First Thursday gallery tours and screenings visit our website at

University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive
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General admission is $8; admission for seniors, disabled persons, non-UC Berkeley students, and young adults (13 – 17) is $5; admission for BAM/PFA members, UC Berkeley students, staff and faculty, and children under 12 is free; admission for group tours is $3 per person (to arrange a group tour, call [510] 642-5188). Admission is free on the first Thursday of each month.

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Posted by admin on October 17, 2005