The UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive announced today that director and chief curator Lawrence Rinder will leave the museum in March 2020. Rinder, who assumed the position in 2008, will continue to organize exhibitions at BAMPFA through the end of next year, and the museum will begin an immediate search for his successor.
Prior to this most recent role, Rinder worked at BAMPFA between 1988 and 1998 as a curator and assistant director for audience and programs. His other positions in the art world, on both coasts, include founding director of the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, curator of contemporary art at the Whitney Museum and dean of graduate studies and then dean of the college at California College of the Arts.
At BAMPFA, Rinder oversaw the institution's move from its former building on Bancroft Way to the new Diller Scofidio + Renfro-designed expansion in downtown Berkeley, and curated the new space's inaugural show, Architecture of Life. The move—and its proximity to the Downtown Berkeley BART station—connected the museum, its visual art and film programming to a growing audience. According to today's announcement, BAMPFA attendance has doubled since its relocation.
Rinder also curated the two Way Bay exhibitions, showcasing 200 years worth of Bay Area art, and an exhilarating number of recent acquisitions from contemporary artists. (The BAMPFA announcement notes that Rinder's acquisition program has added over 6,000 works to the museum's collection.)
By all reports, Rinder leaves the museum in good financial footing, ready for the next director's vision: According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Rinder secured a "significant gift from an anonymous donor" prior to the announcement of his departure, which he characterizes as "a runway for a new director."