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Envisioning Human Rights: The Next Generation

Through Sept. 14
510-642-0808
<i>Envisioning Human Rights: The Next Generation</i>
Creating art may not be the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks of ways to bring about universal human rights. But art has the potential to build awareness both visually and emotionally. With this in mind, BAM/PFA has collaborated with the Human Rights Center at the UC Berkeley School of Law to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the law school with the show Envisioning Human Rights: The Next Generation. The juried exhibition features student entries from across the UC system that represent a range of social justice issues. For example, UC Berkeley student Nick Randhawa’s crisply screen-printed portrait of Bolivian labor leader Domitila Chúngara calls for increased visibility of female activists and leaders around the world as part of his ongoing series The Woman Project. In conjunction with the show, BAM/PFA is also displaying a number of pieces from acclaimed Colombian artist Fernando Botero’s Abu Ghraib series. The pairing places the student work in line with Botero’s intense depictions of infamous torture scenes that aim to ensure remembrance. Envisioning Human Rights has similar goals, but looks to the future, highlighting the next generation of activist artists.
BAM/PFA 2626 Bancroft Way, Berkeley (map)

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Forrest Bess: Seeing Things Invisible

Through Sept. 14
510-642-0808
<i>Forrest Bess: Seeing Things Invisible</i>
Forrest Bess was a fisherman, painter, biological theorist, and self-proclaimed visionary who lived in near-isolation on the Texas Gulf Coast for most of this life. He consistently experienced hallucinations and visions that emerged through a unique vocabulary of symbols. Bess translated these symbols into paintings, rendered in rich pigments and rough textures that offer a visceral viewing experience. Many of these works are now on view at BAM/PFA (2626 Bancroft Way, Berkeley) in the fascinating show Forrest Bess: Seeing Things Invisible. Bess believed that his visions pointed to a broader universal truth about collective consciousness. His theory involved the argument that by merging the two biological sexes through surgery — a procedure that he underwent himself — one could attain immortality. He spent years compiling his “thesis,” a book that outlined evidence for this theory. Bess’ “thesis” and his paintings corresponded crucially, but he was never given the opportunity to show them together before he died in 1977. Although the actual book is now lost, BAM/PFA is displaying an array of ephemera regarding his scholarship, along with his paintings, in order to offer the closest experience possible to the first full realization of Bess’ bizarrely beautiful vision.
BAM/PFA 2626 Bancroft Way, Berkeley (map)

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