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State of Mind: New California Art Circa 1970 

When: Feb. 29-June 17 2012

The most ambitiously curated show in the East Bay right now is also the most enigmatic. To fully appreciate State of Mind, New California Art circa 1970, at the Berkeley Art Museum (2626 Bancroft Way, Berkeley), set aside a couple of hours and come ready to work -- work at grasping the amount of art (more than 150 works by 60 artists), encyclopedically presented, all of it wonderfully strange. Consider not only the greats of California conceptualism (e.g., Baldesarri, Nauman, Ruscha, and Burden), but also the army of lesser giants, who are often more interested in documenting the satirizing of the process of art-making as an art itself. It gets complicated pretty quickly, but hang on, the journey is worth it. The show itself emulsifies all these disparate, intellectual game-things into one, beautiful, museum experience -- arguably more of a work of art than any of the pieces are individually. Show runs through June 17. 510-642-0808 or BAMPFA.Berkeley.edu

— Obi Kaufmann

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