While acknowledging the surprise and ripple effects from a cultural figurehead leaving a prominent arts institution, Lawrence Rinder’s coming departure announced Sept. 24 from his position as director and chief curator of the UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive did follow precedent. After all, it is not uncommon for a director to leave after successfully completing a major capital campaign.
During the second of two periods when Rinder has served at BAMPFA — returning as director in 2008 (after having first been its curator and assistant director for audience and programs from 1988 to 1998) — Rinder oversaw BAMPFA’s move from Bancroft Way to a new building in downtown Berkeley designed by renowned New York City firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro.
After curating in 2016 the inaugural exhibition “Architecture of Life,” and earning ongoing accolades from The New York Times and others, Rinder initiated partnerships with diverse, independent Bay Area arts organizations, acquired more than 6,000 works for the collection and saw attendance figures double and membership grow by roughly 4,100 members. Rinder will leave the museum in March 2020, a decision he revealed was years in the making and made about 120 miles north of his book-filled Berkeley office.
“The reasons that led to the decision are that I’ve been researching for a novel for the past six years. If I wanted to write it, I was going to have to quit. I’ve also had a home for 15 years in Ukiah in a remote, wild area on a dirt road. It’s hard to come back to the city after a weekend up there,” he said.
It is also hard for Rinder to focus on and fuel creative juice for personal projects when masterminding an organization like BAMPFA.
“That’s the shift I see in my life. Maybe I have creativity of my own, but I can’t explore that on the margins. I need to get in the ‘groove.’ It takes time; I have to soak in it. I’m going to do that, sitting in nature.”
He admits to pushing aside counterarguments.
“Loving the staff, loving every day in this new building, the collection, the way the public engages. It’s so fun, meaningful and inspiring that it seems ludicrous to walk away. I’m in a position with great latitude to express myself through the museum. That kind of pleasure comes only at the peak of one’s career when you have the basics down.”
Notably, the “basics” …
Source:: East Bay – Entertainment