An art museum would seem to be no place for the blind. Yet art objects can address all of the senses-sight, touch, hearing, scent, taste-and thus offer an opportunity to reconsider the process of "viewing" or responding to art. Visual artists often think about the very nature of vision: What does it mean to "see"? How does an artwork address the viewer? What are the behaviors of looking? And what are the limits, or the liabilities, of the gaze? Blind at the Museum, in the museum's Theater Gallery, investigates the nature of blindness and the “visual arts” through the work of many artists, among them Sophie Calle, the French conceptual artist well known for her series on blindness; the sculptor Robert Morris; multimedia artists Theresa Hak Kyung Cha and Joseph Grigely, and photographers John Dugdale and Alice Wingwall. Rather than thinking about blindness and sight as polar opposites, these artists encourage us to explore the wide range of optical experiences-peripheral vision, distortion, floaters-along a continuum. Included are artists who emphasize sound, touch, and multisensory expression; artists who investigate the unreliability of vision; artists who are blind and yet are committed to the visual arts; and artists who rethink the activities of viewing within the museum. Some offer a meditation on the limits of the optical; others explore the metaphors and stereotypes of blindness; and a few highlight the embodied experience of visual impairment. John Dugdale, for example, depicts optical aids-ranging from eyeglasses to camera lenses-that are part of his photographic process, and indeed, part of his visual experience. The distortions, reflections, and visual effects that result from these interventions are not only captured in his cyanotypes, but are suggested through the handmade, old-fashioned glass he uses to frame each piece. A highly successful fashion and commercial photographer before losing his sight to CMV (Cytomegalovirus retinitis), Dugdale turned to the origins of photography in order to pursue a fine art career. His nineteenth-century procedures and still life photographs engage in a dialogue with William Henry Fox Talbot, one of the pioneers of photography. Alice Wingwall also depicts the lived experience of blindness, using panoramic cameras and other technologies to give a sense of "warp" to her work. Having come from a background in sculpture and architecture, as well as photography, Wingwall, in her series of photographs of her guide dog Joseph, invites the viewer to experience her renegotiation of beloved architectural sites. Her photographs of Joseph at the Temple of Dendur at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, for example, highlight the ways in which her vision and viewpoint are redirected by her guide dog and her experiences of blindness. At the same time as this show provides a reframing of blindness and what it means to view a work of art, it proposes a rethinking of access, disability, and the museum. The very notion of the blind visual artist can alter our expectations of the museum and the role of the viewer. Prompted by disability rights legislation, museums around the world have undertaken to make their exhibitions more accessible, but this access tends to relegate blind patrons to “special” programming and collections. Often, concerns about access address the physical environment and design-large font size, ramps-rather than diversifying perceptual and intellectual access to artwork. If technologies of vision (such as lenses) change our experiences; if peripheral vision, blind spots, or floaters influence our notions of looking, how might alternative perspectives and technologies invite us to adopt new behaviors and approaches? As part of a larger movement of institutional critique, Blind at the Museum prompts us to reconsider the practice of looking within the museum, and to imagine new ways of seeing and knowing for all viewers. Katherine Sherwood, Professor, Art Practice, UC Berkeley Beth Dungan, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow, Center for Medicine, the Humanities, and Law, UC Berkeley Guest Curators Braille labels and large-print text of accompanying material will be available. A related audio tour is available. Reservations are required; please call (510) 643-4151. The Theater Gallery is open daily; admission is free.