As a great start to the new year, the Bolinas Museum will open new exhibitions in all five of its galleries with a vibrant reception on Jan. 25.
In both the main and photography galleries, a remarkable exhibition titled “The Golden Decade: Photography at the California School of Fine Arts, 1945-1955” celebrates an era of creativity that still resonates in the world today. Curated by Jennifer O’Keeffe of Point Reyes Station and based on the book of the same title by William Heick, Ira H. Latour, and C. Cameron Macauley, the exhibition looks at an exuberant time of creativity and innovation in photography following World War II.
The California School of Fine Arts in San Francisco, later renamed the San Francisco Art Institute, was a remarkably avant-garde art school of that time. The school hired renowned photographer Ansel Adams to establish one of the first fine-art photography departments in the nation. Adams drew in now-iconic masters of photography as instructors, such as Minor White, Dorothea Lang, Imogen Cunningham and Edward Weston.
This exhibition also focuses on the students nurtured by that first decade of the program who went on to distinguish themselves in the social and artistic landscape of our culture. O’Keeffe, a guest curator, is a visual artist and educator and a visiting lecturer in photography and photo history for such institutions as the San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco State University, and the California College of the Arts. She is currently a photo editor for The California Sunday Magazine and recently organized the magazine’s first photographic exhibition at Aperture Gallery in New York.
In conjunction with this exhibition, longtime San Francisco Art Institute librarian and resident historian Jeff Gunderson will speak at the museum on Feb. 22.
Also opening at the museum is the exhibition “Tom Braun: Meditation,” curated by Dieter Tremp. Braun, a Bolinas resident for 40 years, has been quietly following his creative passion and exploring several mediums, including his sensual forms made of wood. Crafted with hand tools and finished with unique manual techniques, Braun’s meditative creative practice reflects the insight he puts into his art and the deep satisfaction he reaps from making finely crafted objects. The exhibition includes a model barn that is astonishingly detailed and invites our eyes to wander into its interior.
Also opening are new selections from the museum’s permanent collection, including a mixed-media work by legendary Bay Area artist Jay DeFeo, a new work by Michael Sell of Bolinas, and an evocative lithograph by Russell Chatham exemplifying the late artist’s mastery of rendering the subtle light of evening on Tomales Bay.
Several historic paintings capture the shared landscape of Bolinas and Stinson Beach, providing a segue to the new exhibit in the history room, “Bolinas & Stinson Beach: Sister Towns of Rancho Las Baulines.” The exhibit traces the shared evolution of the two communities through text, photographs and maps from the archives of the Bolinas Museum and the Stinson Beach Historical Society.
Elia Haworth is the curator of coastal Marin art and history for the Bolinas Museum.