New BAMPFA drawing the crowds

Visitors take a close look at Mission School artist Chris Johanson's 2003 piece, Cityscape with House and Energy.

Business is booming at the new Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive since the new facility’s Jan. 31 opening on the edge of the city’s downtown arts district.

BAMPFA has issued approximately 55,000 gallery passes and more than 13,000 film tickets over the last two-and-a-half months, a period in which membership has doubled to approximately 5,000.

The BAMPFA store also has done brisk business, already matching in sales what the store had earned in its last eight months of operation at the previous address.

In recent years, BAMPFA averaged a combined 75,000 annual attendance at its galleries and theaters. 

The new building design by architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro incorporates a 1939 Art Deco-style former UC printing plant into a bold stainless-steel clad structure, with an outdoor screen for video on its northern end.

After the close of the inaugural Architecture of Life exhibit on May 29, BAMPFA will launch a series of exhibitions over the summer that spotlight particular aspects of its encyclopedic collection of over 19,000 works.

Read more about the response to the new BAMPFA here.