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Dick Whittington back in Berkeley, his kinda' town

Dick Whittington back in Berkeley, his kinda' town Parker Place development wins council approval Arts

Parker Place development wins council approval

town Parker Place development wins council approval Arts Berkeley’s new Magnes building to be unveiled on

Arts

Berkeley’s new Magnes building to be unveiled on Sunday

January 19, 2012 1:00 pm by Tracey Taylor

on Sunday January 19, 2012 1:00 pm by Tracey Taylor The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art

The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art & Life is housed in a 1920s former printing plant on Allston Way. Photos: Tracey Taylor

On Sunday, the doors will open to a new cultural institution in Berkeley. The many thousands of book paintings, prints, textiles, and photographs that make up The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art & Life

was formerly located in an early 20th-century family home on Russell Street in the Elmwood neighbor will now be readily accessible to the public in a beautifully renovated, centrally located 25,000 sq ft sp 2121 Allston Way.

The building, which was designed in the 1920s as a printing plant for UC Berkeley, was most recently UC’s Bancroft Library, with whom the Magnes now partners. Before that, the Berkeley Public Library the space. Marks left by book stacks on the stained, maple-colored concrete floors bear the stamp of building’s history.

concrete floors bear the stamp of building’s history. The heart of the new museum is an

The heart of the new museum is an open exhibition space featuring elm wood and glass, transparency and warmth being key to the space's design

The building has been transformed by San Francisco architects Pfau Long in collaboration with local fabrication company Picassa Studios. The goal, said the museum’s Director Alla Efimova, was to cre inviting place with an emphasis on transparency.

“We wanted an open space with a good flow where the community could spend time discovering the she said.

The heart of the museum is an exhibition space crafted from reclaimed elm and glass which will show revolving exhibition of the Magnes’ permanent collection. There is also a study room, a conference s large events room, as well as a gallery and offices. The museum has doubled its storage space, and collection is now on-site.

The auditorium, which seats more than 200 people, will be used for events and is

The auditorium, which seats more than 200 people, will be used for events and is available for rent

“We have had such fun uncovering things we haven’t seen for a long time,” said Efimova on Wednes she watched staff preparing a 15th-century manuscript from Aragón and a collection of vintage postc display.

Peter Pfau, principal at Pfau Long, who oversaw the redesign, said it’s been an exciting process to cr space where local history can play out.

“A lot of the major civic players in California and the Bay Area have been of the Jewish faith and it is f to make the connections between the old world and contemporary life through this collection,” he said

The museum's 1920s façade with its Art Deco-style features and warm brick color makes for

The museum's 1920s façade with its Art Deco-style features and warm brick color makes for a vibrant addition to downtown Berkeley at night. Photo: Ira Serkes

Pfau said he hopes the new space will allow visitors to have a direct relationship with the collection a all kinds of cultural and educational events, while building synergies both between the Magnes and U Berkeley, and the museum and the city.

“It’s a wonderful addition to Berkeley on several levels,” said John Caner, director of the Downtown B Association. “It builds on the already vibrant theater district, including newer arrivals such as The Mar will have a new Berkeley Art Museum next. It also adds an intellectual destination to the center of Ber much scholarly work will be done there. And, finally, it becomes part of a rich multicultural hub, joining institutions such as the Persian Center and the Buddhist Mangalam Centers.”

The opening exhibition in the Case Studies space is "Shaken, Not Stirred": art and artifacts

The opening exhibition in the Case Studies space is "Shaken, Not Stirred": art and artifacts from the permanent collection that were packed away in storage during the move, and which the Magnes staff took pleasure in discovering and re-encountering

staff took pleasure in discovering and re-encountering The museum's main gallery opens with “Dissolving

The museum's main gallery opens with “Dissolving Localities, Berkeley Jerusalem”, a multimedia project by Emmanuel Witzthum, a composer, violist, installation artist, and lecturer who is currently a resident Fellow at the Townsend Center for the Humanities at UC Berkeley

Built by Oakland woodworking and architecture firm Picassa Studios, the display cases at the very

Built by Oakland woodworking and architecture firm Picassa Studios, the display cases at the very center of the new Magnes building highlight thematic selections from the museum's permanent collection

Francesco Spagnolo, Curator of Collections at the Magnes, looks at items in its vast collection.

Francesco Spagnolo, Curator of Collections at the Magnes, looks at items in its vast collection. The new museum has doubled its storage space and 80% of the collection is on site

Torahs in storage: The Magnes has a 10,000+ piece collection of paintings, prints, photographs, textiles,

Torahs in storage: The Magnes has a 10,000+ piece collection of paintings, prints, photographs, textiles, and Judaica

The Magnes merged with the Bancroft Library in July 2010, and much of its collection has been unav view since then. Its Western Jewish History Center, an archive that documents the role early Jewish have played in settling the West, is now housed at the Bancroft building on campus.

The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art & Life will hold a “Grand Re-Opening and Open House,” on Sun January 22, 12-4 pm, with a free party at 2121 Allston Way. The entire Berkeley community is welcom

The Open House Party starts with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and includes free food and free admissi the Magnes collection. Exhibiting artists and Magnes staff will be on hand at the street festival-inspire that will feature continuous musical performances by local bands and university choral and instrumen Local restaurants will be serving up delicious eats and treats.

Related:

Rebecca Fromer, co-founder of the Magnes Museum, dies [01.03.12] Magnes Collections get new downtown Berkeley home [10.13.10] Magnes Museum collections will move to UC Berkeley [06.21.10] Magnes Museum to sell its Russell Street property [02.16.10] Seymour Fromer, founder of Magnes Museum, dies [10.26.09]

To find out about more events in Berkeley and nearby, visit Berkeleyside’s Events Calendar. W encourage you to submit your own events.

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Real-time updating is paused . Showing 1 comment Sort b serkes The collection and presentation looks

serkes

The collection and presentation looks stunning!

I'm delighted to see them stay in Berkeley.

Ira

32 minutes ago

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