Constructing the 1930s, on view in the museum's Theater Gallery, bridges two major exhibitions in the main galleries - Richard Misrach: Berkeley Work and Alexander Rodchenko: Modern Photography, Photomontage, and Film. Misrach's contemporary photographs of the Golden Gate Bridge are formally composed, majestic, and taken from an immovable viewpoint. By contrast, Rodchenko's images from the 1920s and 1930s are sober, dynamic, and reject a single viewpoint in principle. Yet, there is a connection - bridges, and the achievements in industrial construction in both the United States and the USSR of the 1930s they represent. This common theme is the starting point for Constructing the 1930s. Photographs documenting the construction of Bay Area bridges are on display alongside Rodchenko's photographic essays from the pioneering Soviet propaganda magazine USSR in Construction. Roosevelt's New Deal and the Soviet Five–Year Plan stimulated grandiose, unprecedented building projects, along with increased demand to record them for publicity, propaganda, and institutional archives. An entirely new photographic genre was born in the 1930s-the sequential documentation of construction projects from groundbreaking to grand opening. Lewis Hine's series documenting the raising of the Empire State Building is perhaps the best known example of this genre. The cinematic quality of such sequences lent them narrative, drama, and visual impact. The sequential series could be simple engineering photographs commissioned by project developers, such as the photographs of the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge (1937) and Bay Bridge (1936). They could also be photojournalistic, like Peter Stackpole's famous series When They Built the Bridge (1934–1936), which paid tribute to bridge construction workers, or Rodchenko's controversial documentation of the construction of the White Sea Canal (1933), where thousands of political prisoners labored and died in inhuman conditions. Simple snapshots of the Golden Gate Bridge "before and after" or striking aerial photographs of the Bay Bridge–in–progress-all are imprinted with the romantic excitement of photographers who witnessed the conquest of space and time. Photographers such as Hine and Stackpole paid homage to the workers who made the construction happen, while others were interested in the purely structural drama and engineering feats of the projects. These two distinct approaches continue to distinguish contemporary photographers who undertake construction documentation. Work by two Bay Area photographers included in the exhibition demonstrates how the vision established in the decade of industrial exhilaration has survived into the present. Catherine Wagner's documentation of the building of Moscone Center (1981) and Joseph Blum's photographs of the Four Seasons Hotel and Tower (2001) in San Francisco could not be more different in their focus. Wagner's graphic images are devoid of people, while Blum's close-ups concentrate on workers' skillful efforts. Yet both photographers pay tribute to their predecessors who exposed us to the visual drama of fast-growing skyscrapers, fantastically strung bridges, and massively towering dams. Most of the materials in the exhibition are on loan from the Pictorial Collection at the Bancroft Library, UC Berkeley. The collection, comprising an estimated 3.5 million items in a variety of media, documents and illustrates the history of California and the American West.