Best Museum: Most indulgent art in the East Bay
Berkeley Art Museum
Good art needs liquid nourishment, and there are few fatter teats than the voluminous nipple of UC Berkeley. Since 1963, when Abstract Expressionist Hans Hofmann donated 45 of his paintings and $250,000, the Berkeley Art Museum has been throwing money around to gather thirteen thousand objects emphasizing artistic innovation, intellectual exploration, and social commentary. It received a $2 million endowment to do "edgy" shows this year. The museum holds its own on historical and contemporary Asian art, early American painting, mid-20th-century conceptual, and contemporary international. In addition to showing some art by Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock, and Paul Gauguin, BAM offers the brightest from Berkeley's MFA program. The upcoming "Flaming Sword of Truth" promises several masterful takes on the nature of truth, while being engaging even if you haven't read fifty books on art history.