April 24, 2008 - University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA) - Thirty years of MATRIX
April 24, 2008

Thirty years of MATRIX

Kiki Smith: Crèche, 1995
phosphorous bronze
various dimensions, 3 x 1 1/2 x 1 1/2 in. to 10 x 20 x 9 in.
gift of Richard and Lenore Niles.

Thirty years of MATRIX at BAM/PFA

University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA)
2626 Bancroft Way
Berkeley, CA 94720


Over the past thirty years, with more than 220 exhibitions, BAM/PFA’s acclaimed MATRIX Program has charted a unique course through the landscape of contemporary art. At the program’s inception in 1978, then museum director James Elliott brought to Berkeley an idea developed originally during his tenure at the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, Connecticut. The continuous exhibitions of contemporary art in the MATRIX Program were envisioned as “discrete units in a cumulative and ongoing statement reflective of the wide range of ideas being explored by today’s artists.”

Over the thirty-year history of the program, MATRIX curators Michael Auping, Constance Lewallen, Lawrence Rinder, Heidi Zuckerman Jacobson, Chris Gilbert, and Elizabeth Thomas have cultivated the development of exhibitions and special projects that embody experimentation, material and conceptual innovation, and engagement with the ideas of our times. This dedication to progressive art practices was rare when the program was founded in 1978, and the pioneering success of MATRIX has led many other art institutions to adopt similar programs.

Many artists had their first major exhibition in the MATRIX Program, and many have gone on to great prominence in the field. Past participants include Doug Aitken, John Baldessari, Jennifer Bartlett, Georg Baselitz, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Louise Bourgeois, James Lee Byars, Sophie Calle, Jim Campbell, Bruce Conner, Willem de Kooning, Richard Diebenkorn, Peter Doig, Brian Eno, Peter Fischli and David Weiss, Nan Goldin, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Eva Hesse, Robert Irwin, Alfredo Jaar, Sol LeWitt, Ree Morton, Tom Marioni, Chris Marker, Julie Mehretu, Elizabeth Murray, Adrian Piper, Charles Ray, Susan Rothenberg, Richard Serra, Ed Ruscha, Wilhelm Sasnal, Allan Sekula, and Cindy Sherman, to name just a few.

BAM/PFA will mark the thirtieth anniversary with a year of programs, beginning with MATRIX/REDUX (on view through July 6), an exhibition that samples from the rich history of the MATRIX program with selections from the BAM/PFA collection and loans from local collections rarely seen by museum audiences.

On April 25, BAM/PFA celebrates the MATRIX program with a birthday party, featuring special guest David Ireland, and including a collaborative performance with Deerhoof and future MATRIX artist
Martha Colburn.

A year-long series of public conversations between past MATRIX artists and curators will begin with Heidi Zuckerman Jacobson and painter Peter Doig on April 27.

Other talks include Constance M. Lewallen, Larry Sultan, and Mike Mandel on June 22; Lawrence Rinder and Nayland Blake on October 19; Michael Auping and Susan Rothenberg on November 2; and Elizabeth Thomas and Paul Chan in January 2009.

In Spring 2009, at the end of the year of programs, BAM/PFA will publish a book gathering these live conversations, as well as selected artist conversations convened specifically for publication. To mirror the spirit of the program, New York-based designers Project Projects have been commissioned to generate an archival framework that contextualizes the totality of the MATRIX program’s eclectic history. Together, these dual aspects of the book will produce new reflections on the program and the artists who shaped
its history.

Credit Line
The MATRIX Program at the UC Berkeley Art Museum is made possible by a generous endowment gift from Phyllis C. Wattis.

Additional donors to the MATRIX Program include the UAM Council MATRIX Endowment, Jane and Jeffrey Green, Joachim and Nancy Bechtle, Rena Bransten, Maryellen and Frank Herringer, Noel and Penny Nellis, James Pick and Rosalyn Laudati, Barclay and Sharon Simpson, Roselyne C. Swig, Paul L. Wattis III, Penelope Cooper and Rena Rosenwasser, Paul Rickert, Iris Shimada, and other generous donors.

University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive
2626 Bancroft Way, Berkeley CA 94720


(510) 642-0808
TDD: (510) 642-8734

Press contact
Jonathan L. Knapp jlknapp@berkeley.edu

University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA)
Share - Thirty years of MATRIX
  • Share
Click to subscribe to e-flux and be the first to receive the latest news on international exhibitions and all e-flux related announcements
Subscribe to e-flux
Be the first to receive the latest news on international exhibitions and all e-flux related announcements.
Subscribe to architecture
Explore the most recent content from e-flux architecture and urbanism
Subscribe to e-flux programs
Keep up-to-date on all upcoming talks, screenings, and exhibitions at e-flux in New York