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Office of Economic Development
Office of Economic Development

For Immediate Release


The National Gallery of Art Retrospective At the 
San Francisco MOMA on February 7, 2004

“The Art of Romare Bearden” Featured 

Berkeley, California (Thursday, February 5, 2004) – On Saturday, February 7, 2004, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) opens the second of a five city national tour of “The Art of Romare Bearden”.  A highlight of this show is the mural “Berkeley - The City and Its People” which is a centerpiece of the City of Berkeley Public Art collection. 

The City of Berkeley mural was commissioned by the Berkeley Civic Arts Commission and installed in the City Council Chambers in 1974.  Romare Bearden visited Berkeley to take photographs, collect information and personally visit the various sections of the community depicted in the mural.  The mural is made through a technique known as “collage” with various papers with paint, ink, and graphite on seven fiberboard panels.  The mural is approximately 10 feet by 18 feet.  

The mural has served as a visual representation of the City for 30 years. A section of the mural has been incorporated as the official logo for the City of Berkeley, and appears on the City letterhead, business cards and signage. This art project has truly been an ongoing part of civic life and served as a commanding backdrop to City Council meetings in the historic Old City Hall building. The City of Berkeley is proud to have an interpretation of the city, as seen through the eyes of one of America’s greatest African-American artists, recognized as a national community treasure.

A 30-minute documentary film accompanies the Romare Bearden retrospective on the life of the artist by Carroll Moore.  Morgan Freeman narrates the film with readings by Danny Glover. 

“The Art of Romare Bearden” opened at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC in September 2003.  After its run at the SFMOMA, the exhibit will move to the Dallas Museum of Art, The Whitney Museum of American Art in New York and conclude at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Georgia in April 2005.  In the spring of 2005, the Berkeley mural will be returned and reinstalled in the City Council Chambers in Berkeley, California. 

A special opening lecture by curator Ruth Fine of the National Gallery of Art will take place in the Phyllis Wattis Theater at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 7, 2004.  The “Art of Romare Bearden” exhibit runs from Saturday, February 7 through Sunday, May 16, 2004.  Tickets are available through the museum. 

Further information on the SFMOMA show of “The Art of Romare Bearden” including numerous lectures, workshops and film showings can be accessed by contacting the Museum at 415-357-4000 or the web site at  The Teachers Institute can be reached through the Family and Teacher Program at 415-357-4097.


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