UC Berkeley News


Kevin Consey to step down as BAM/PFA director

| 03 October 2007

Kevin Consey, who has led the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA) since 1999, announced his retirement on Sept. 21, effective Jan. 2, 2008.

During his tenure, Consey organized and managed a temporary seismic retrofit of the existing Durant Avenue museum and film-archive structure, which was rated seismically poor. Completed in 2001, the retrofit enabled the institution to meet the applicable state seismic-safety codes and remain open and active during the planning process for a new facility.

Kevin Consey (Peg Skorpinski photo)

Consey then led the process to develop a program, select a site, and initiate a fundraising campaign for a new BAM/PFA home in downtown Berkeley. In September 2006 the Tokyo-based architectural firm of Toyo Ito and Associates was selected to design the new facility from a field of more than 140 competitors. The initial phase of conceptual design has been completed and is now beginning the campus-approval process.

"The continuing demanding work and challenges of the new-building project and capital campaign need increased energy over the next several years," said Consey. "Eight years of service and significant accomplishments in the areas of institutional growth and preparatory fundraising, program development, architect selection, and conceptual-design work for a new building mark a good time to step down and retire."

During Consey's tenure, more than 2,000 works of art and more than 4,000 films and videos have been added to BAM/PFA's collection, ensuring the institution's continuing excellence among American university museums. Acquisition highlights include 50 major historical Chinese paintings from the renowned James Cahill family collection, the Bernard-Murray Collection of Tibetan Art, and the Peil Collection of late-19th- and early-20th-century photographs. In addition, there have been numerous gifts and purchases of work by artists who have been featured in BAM/PFA's groundbreaking exhibitions program, including Joe Brainard, William Wiley, Peter Doig, Richard Misrach, Joan Jonas, Shirin Neshat, Rigo, Fred Wilson, Jay DeFeo, Bruce Nauman, and Eija-Llisa Ahtila.

Major exhibitions and publications produced during the same period include Joe Brainard: A Retrospective (2000); The Dream of the Audience: Theresa Hak Kyung Cha (2001); Richard Misrach: Berkeley Work (2002); Everything Matters: Paul Kos, A Retrospective (2003); Drawn by the Brush: Oil Sketches by Peter Paul Rubens (2005); Measure of Time (2006-07); Ant Farm: 1968-1975 (2006); and A Rose Has No Teeth: Bruce Nauman in the 1960s (2007).

Meanwhile, the Pacific Film Archive presented numerous major film retrospectives during Consey's tenure, including the work of directors Michelangelo Antonioni, John Cassavetes, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Alfred Hitchcock, Abbas Kiarostami, Krzysztof Kieslowski, Akira Kurosawa, Ang Lee, Guy Maddin, Louis Malle, Mikio Naruse, Yoko Ono, Yasujiro Ozu, Sam Peckinpah, Gus Van Sant, and Luchino Visconti.

Consey will continue to reside in Berkeley, where he will work on independent projects and resume the arts-management consulting practice that he established in 1996 and suspended during his tenure at Berkeley. The campus will commence the search for a director for the museum and film archive immediately.