Daring and invention are principles we most often associate with contemporary art. However, as we scan the five-hundred-year sweep of Turning Corners, the notion of “contemporary” shape-shifts, continually reinventing itself as a barometer of the new. Artistic innovation and experimentation are the guiding principles of this exhibition that brings together works from Berkeley Art Museum collections. The exhibition demonstrates how artists, then and now, have turned corners on the mainstream and indicated new directions, in works that delight, challenge, and provoke explorations of thought. Nayland Blake's unconventional untitled installation from 1987 is displayed within a traditional gallery of “old masters.” How, we might ask, do four ungainly painter's boxes, each containing an ominous and slightly kinky black leather whip, relate to celebrated paintings and works on paper of the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries? Upon closer inspection we notice that the whips are tipped with brass plates naming a hall of fame of Western art history-Titian, Velázquez, Goya, Rubens, Ingres, Cézanne, and Palladio, among others, and including several represented in the gallery. Blake takes a humorously irreverent stance toward the centuries-old tradition of young artists attacking the very masters and conventions in which they have been schooled, positioning himself as a self-flagellant disciplined with the heroes of time past, a practice with overtones of religious fervor and sexuality. Among the old masters on view are two early-seventeenth-century Baroque paintings of biblical subjects conveyed with a provocative sexual edge. Il Cavaliere d'Arpino's Judith with the Head of Holofernes (1603–1606) is more a portrait of an alluring beauty than a graphic saga of her brave act. In Giovanni Battista Caracciolo's The Young Saint John in the Wilderness (1610–1620) the physical grace and delicacy of the slightly androgynous boy saint dominate the scene. Arpino and Caracciolo were both contemporaries of Caravaggio, whose innovative style and profane approach to sacred content set new standards in painting, establishing a hallmark of the transition from the High Renaissance to the Baroque. Blake's ironic approach to the canon of art history certainly nods to the pervasive influence throughout the twentieth century of Marcel Duchamp, particularly on the development of Conceptual art. Duchamp often brought a sassy gender-bending sexuality to his complex and enigmatic works. His racy L.H.O.O.Q. (1919)-the Mona Lisa enhanced with mustache and goatee-and the famous urinal re-presented as Fountain (1917) are among the miniaturized versions of his oeuvre in Boîte-Series F (1966), Duchamp's “portable museum” of his own work. Conceptual concerns-the cognitive processes and actions surrounding artistic practice-dominate the art of our time. For instance, while one might easily recognize a historical reference in Anne Chu's Standing Court Lady (1999), Chu's emphasis, rather, is on an ancient practice little explored today, the fusion of painting and sculpture. The famed porcelain female figures of the T'ang dynasty (618–907) echoed in Chu's rough-hewn, abstractly painted wooden figure provided the artist a system through which to enter into a dialogue with the past. Please see the sidebar links at left for articles that explore various thematic topics in Turning Corners. The exhibition is on view through January 22, 2006 in Galleries 5, 6, and B.