August 29, 2011

UC Berkeley Extension Fall Courses

University of California, Berkeley

Jackson Pollock, Guardians of the Secret, 1943.
Oil on canvas; 48 3/8 in. x 75 3/8 inches.
Collection SFMOMA; Albert M. Bender Collection, Albert M. Bender Bequest Fund purchase; © Pollock-Krasner Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Two fall courses now open for enrollment at UC Berkeley Extension highlight the educational leader’s connection to the Bay Area art community, specifically the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA) and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA). UC Berkeley Extension is the continuing education branch of the University of California, Berkeley, and offers professional development and personal enrichment for adults in the Bay Area and beyond. Taking up the banner of personal enrichment, Bay Area Now 6: An Insider’s View and Abstraction vs. Figuration: Five Decades of Modern and Contemporary Art are unique courses sure to give students a greater understanding and appreciation of two of San Francisco’s most celebrated art institutions.


Bay Area Now 6 (BAN6): An Insider’s View (September 14–October 5) delves into the visual arts component of BAN6, YBCA’s signature triennial exhibition. Led by Betti-Sue Hertz, YBCA director of visual arts, and Thien Lam, YBCA visual arts curatorial assistant, the course explores the work of 17 contemporary Bay Area artists featured in BAN6, which includes photography, painting, video, sculpture, conceptual art, installations, and textiles. Through class discussions, gallery tours, artist studio visits, and performances, students discover themes such as the relationship between humans and nature through environmentalism, geopolitics, 19th-century romanticism, and artificial landscapes. Course content also examines Americana—including the rural South and colonial history—and contemporary culture, specifically globalization, Afrofuturism, and the politics of marijuana in the Bay Area.


The class meets on four Wednesday evenings (5:30–8:30 pm) and one Saturday afternoon (12–3 pm) at YBCA, 701 Mission St. in San Francisco. The course fee is 325 USD. To enroll, visit To learn more about BAN6, running through October 22, 2011, visit


Abstraction vs. Figuration: Five Decades of Modern and Contemporary Art (October 11–November 15) introduces students to key 20th-century artists from the permanent collection at SFMOMA, including the recently acquired Fisher Collection featuring Alexander Calder, Chuck Close, Anselm Kiefer, Roy Lichtenstein, Agnes Martin, Gerhard Richter, Andy Warhol, and others. Instructor Julie Charles, SFMOMA associate curator of education, helps students examine the primary stylistic struggle that defined the development of modern and contemporary art from the 1950s through the 1990s. Moving decade by decade, Charles leads each class through specific SFMOMA galleries to analyze artworks and better understand the development of international postwar art practice in general.


Abstraction vs. Figuration meets on six Tuesday afternoons (2:30–5 pm) at the UC Berkeley Extension Art and Design Center, 95 Third St. in San Francisco. The course fee is 325 USD. To enroll, visit Details about SFMOMA and the Fisher Collection are available at


Both of these courses are eligible for Art History elective credit in the UC Berkeley Extension Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Visual Arts. Combining rigorous studio practice with theory and art history instruction, the certificate helps students develop a portfolio of work for application to graduate programs in fine art. Details about the Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Visual Arts are available at


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