Lucinda Barnes to retire from post as chief curator of BAMPFA

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BAMPFA Chief Curator Lucinda Barnes — who joined the museum in 2001 and served in her current role since 2004 — will retire from her position June 29.

In her role as chief curator, Barnes supervised the other curators and oversaw almost every aspect of the museum’s collections. Barnes was also a part of the movement of BAMPFA’s collections and study centers from its old location in South Berkeley to its new location in Downtown Berkeley.

Of her many years working as chief curator, Barnes cited the different people she worked with as one of the highlights.

“It’s really everyone: the artists you’re working with, the staff you’re working with,” Barnes said. “I love being in the gallery with the artists and the crew.”

According to BAMPFA Director Lawrence Rinder, the museum has not yet decided what its leadership structure will be once Barnes steps down from her position. Rinder said that he enjoyed working with Barnes over the years and that he has depended on her good judgment.

“She had a very clear sense of museum practice,” Rinder said. “I can really count on her to a be a partner in running the museum.”

Barnes said she is retiring in order to fully focus her efforts on writing and research, adding that with BAMPFA’s move to the new facilities finally finished, she felt comfortable stepping down from her position.

In particular, Barnes said she wanted to delve more into her research of artist Hans Hofmann. One Hofmann exhibit Barnes curated this year — entitled “Push and Pull: Hans Hofmann” — will open at BAMPFA Aug. 31.

During Barnes’ time at BAMPFA, she curated and co-curated more than 40 exhibitions. Of these exhibitions, Barnes singled out one entitled “Measure of Time,” which examined different aspects of time and movement through American art across the 20th century.

“It was an exhibition that kind of morphed along the way,” Barnes said of the exhibit. “It was really very rewarding for me.”

Julia White, senior curator for Asian art at BAMPFA, has worked with Barnes for the past 10 years and has known her for roughly 15 years. White said Barnes is a great collaborator and a wonderful colleague.

“She’s a curator with a really exceptional range,” White said. “It’s always a pleasure to see what she’s going to create next.”

As Barnes reflected on her impending retirement, she said she is excited to continue visiting BAMPFA.

“I really look forward to being part of the audience here and coming to the exhibitions in a more leisurely way,” Barnes said, adding that she is eager to “take advantage of the museum and the university as a resident of Berkeley.”

Contact Kailey Martinez-Ramage at [email protected].