A ghostly green glow beckons on Bancroft

Car and green glow outside original BAM

‘Will Brown / MATRIX 259,’ 2015. (Photo by Will Brown)

The original UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive building on Bancroft is closed. But outside its entrance, an old car beckons passersby who might be drawn in by the ephemera it holds, or by its green glow after dark.

The car is part of a collaborative multimedia exhibit called Will Brown / MATRIX 259, which takes as its point of departure a work made by Minimalist artist Dan Flavin for BAM/PFA’s main public stairway in 1977–78. Flavin’s installation, untitled (for Gretchen, a colorful and fond match), consisted of 28 fluorescent lightbulbs installed in the building’s light well, sending their glow into the adjacent stairway and lobby.

In addition to the car, the exhibit includes an artist book displayed in the Morrison Library and a light installation on the roof of the Bancroft building. A related theatrical production accompanied the exhibition’s opening.

The exhibit reactivates and expands on the history of Flavin’s earlier work and sets in motion a host of new narratives linked to the transitioning museum and the Bay Area art scene’s ever changing character, according to a new post by Emily Hunt on KQED’s blog.

In her post, Hunt discusses the exhibit with David Kasprzak, Jordan Stein and Lindsey White, the collaborators who make up Will Brown. 

“Each element of the exhibition is a little slippery and very theatrical, similar to how people recount historical events,” the collaborators say. “You may pass the museum during the day and not even see the green glow. You may walk up to the car, look through the windows and think it’s just a bunch of junk.

“At night, the museum entrance looks completely different, as if an alien life force has taken over. You may stumble upon the artist book in the Morrison Library and wonder why some lunatic is obsessed with Dan Flavin. There are many versions of the story. Each person will have a different experience of seeing it, and that excites us.”

Read the full interview on KQED’s website.