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Exhibition celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love
Unknown, Berkeley Protest Poster, c. 1970; screenprint on paper; 14 ⅞ x 22 in.; collection of Lincoln Cushing/Docs Populi Archive.

BERKELEY, CA.- The University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive launched the region-wide celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love with Hippie Modernism: The Struggle for Utopia. This major exhibition explores the intersection of the radical art, architecture, and design of the counterculture of the 1960s and early 1970s and the resonance of these innovations today. A traveling exhibition organized by the Walker Art Center and assembled with the assistance of BAMPFA, Hippie Modernism is on view in Berkeley from February 8 through May 21, 2017. The exhibition coincides with the first anniversary of BAMPFA’s new Diller Scofidio + Renfro–designed building in downtown Berkeley.

The curators of the Berkeley presentation, BAMPFA Director and Chief Curator Lawrence Rinder and UC Berkeley Associate Professor of Architecture Greg Castillo, have added nearly 75 works to the exhibition, expanding its scope to highlight the key role the Bay Area—and especially Berkeley—played in the counterculture movement. Many artists, architects, and designers in this period were searching for a new kind of utopia as an implicit critique of society; however, in the Bay Area, many hoped to go beyond mere critique to create actual change—technological, political, and ecological—on the streets, in the classroom, and in government policy.

The Berkeley presentation of Hippie Modernism includes a special focus on the transformative design and architecture of Northern California counterculture—ranging from documentation of the hand built houses of Canyon and Sausalito and the Emeryville mudflats anonymous sculpture park to J.B. Blunk’s iconic redwood stools and Gary D. Anderson’s original design for the now ubiquitous recycle symbol from 1970. Additional exhibition highlights include:

• Community Memory, a computerized public bulletin board system established in Berkeley in 1973, making it one of the first-ever digital social networks

• Archival materials from Bay Area protest movements and collectives, including the Indians of All Tribes’ nineteen-month-long occupation of Alcatraz (1969–71) and the gender-bending performances of the Cockettes and the Angels of Light

• Works by Bay Area artists and designers, including Frances Butler, Gordon Ashby, J.B. Blunk, Sonya Rapoport, and Bonnie Ora Sherk

• Posters from the Chicago Women’s Graphics Collective, the Black Panthers, the Mexican-American Liberation Art Front, and the 1970 Gay-In in Griffith Park

The Berkeley presentation is accompanied by Hippie Modernism: Cinema and Counterculture, 1964–1974, a four-month film series organized by Associate Film Curator Kate MacKay. The series, which will run from February – May 2017, includes documentaries, experimental works, and feature films that explore the progressive social, political, and aesthetic concerns of the era. Highlights include BAMPFA’s newly completed restoration of Steven Arnold’s Luminous Procuress; Haskell Wexler’s Medium Cool; Peter Watkins’s Punishment Park; and Michelangelo Antonioni’s Zabriskie Point. Also central to the film series are works by and about the Berkeley area counterculture, including Elegy to Ecstasy (1964– 74), a program from the Bay Area’s famed Canyon Cinema; Jordan Belson: Films Sacred and Profane (1954–77), which features the meditative films of the Bay Area filmmaker; and John Coney's Space is the Place (1974), which was shot in Oakland and stars Sun Ra, and was inspired by a series of lectures Ra gave at UC Berkeley.

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