Lawrence Rinder, director and chief curator of BAMPFA, to step down

Rinder in a sweater vest looks at the camera in a gallery

Lawrence Rinder will step down from his role heading BAMPFA in March 2020. (Photo courtesy BAMPFA)

Chancellor Carol issued issued the following message to campus community on Monday, Sept. 23, 2019: 

Dear campus community,

It is with mixed emotions that I write to share the news that Lawrence Rinder will step down from his position as director and chief curator of the UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA) in March of 2020. The campus will launch an international search for his successor in the coming weeks.

Larry first joined BAMPFA in 1988 as curator of MATRIX, the museum’s signature contemporary art exhibition series, and later became assistant director for audience and programs. After taking up a series of positions at California College of the Arts and New York’s Whitney Museum of American Art in the late 1990s and early 2000s, he returned to BAMPFA to become its director in 2008 and additionally chief curator in 2016.

At BAMPFA’s helm, Larry led fundraising and planning for its stunning new Diller Scofidio + Renfro-designed building on the western edge of campus, and supervised the museum’s move into that space from its former home on Bancroft Way. Larry personally curated the new building’s inaugural exhibition, Architecture of Life, which The New York Times deemed one of the year’s best art exhibitions when the museum re-opened in 2016.

Deeply committed to public service, Larry also cultivated the institution’s role as a cultural resource for a diverse and growing audience. He augmented and diversified BAMPFA’s programming by launching new partnerships with independent arts organizations across the Bay Area, and oversaw an ambitious acquisition program that added more than 6,000 works to the museum’s collection. His efforts have led to a doubling of BAMPFA attendance since the museum’s relocation, as well as a significant expansion of its membership program.

While Larry will step down from his leadership post in the spring, I am pleased that he will stay involved with BAMPFA and organize exhibitions through the end of next year.

Amidst this change, BAMPFA will continue to serve Berkeley and the greater Bay Area community as a rich resource whose collections, research material, world-class art exhibitions, and film resources are among the nation’s best, and I encourage you to view its current shows, attend its film series, and otherwise take advantage of this fantastic cultural institution on our campus.

Please join me in thanking Larry for his wonderful work on behalf of the arts at Berkeley.


Carol Christ