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Photographer Richard Misrach donates Oakland fire photos to 2 East Bay museums

by Mercury-News.com

07-21-2011

Famed Bay Area photographer Richard Misrach has donated collections of pictures taken after the 1991 Oakland and Berkeley Hills fire to two East Bay museums.

The Oakland Museum of California and UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive each will exhibit more than 30 of Misrach’s photos to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the devastating fire that killed 25 people, injured 150 others and destroyed nearly 3,000 houses and 1,520 acres. Misrach has not previously displayed the photos publicly out of respect for victims of the fire.

“These prints are a tremendous gift to both the Oakland Museum of California and the community that lived through the firestorm,” said Drew Johnson, the museum’s curator of photography. “Misrach is one of the most important artists working today; this gift represents a lasting contribution to California’s cultural history.”

The exhibits, “1991: The Oakland-Berkeley Fire Aftermath, Photographs by Richard Misrach” will be shown Oct. 12-Feb. 5 at the Berkeley Art Museum, and Oct. 15-Feb. 12 at the Oakland Museum of California. Each museum will accompany Misrach’s photos with companion installations to commemorate the fire.

“Misrach has created in these monumental photographs astounding works of art, which also serve as a provocative means of collective memory,” said Lucinda Barnes, BAM/PFA chief curator. “As in much of his work, the fire photographs explore man’s effects on the natural environment; in many cases, the result is decay and destruction, but there is also profound beauty in them.”

Misrach emerged in the 1970s when he documented street life on Telegraph Avenue. His works have captured images ranging from oil pollution of the Mississippi River to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina to the beaches of Hawaii and the pyramids of Egypt.

The Oakland Museum of California is at 1000 Oak St. For more information, contact 510-238-2200 or http://museumca.org. The UC Berkeley Art Museum is at 2625 Durant Ave., Berkeley. For more information, contact 510-642-0808 or http://bampfa.berkeley.edu.

Lord of the Rings music heads to East Bay: As it might be a tad inconvenient to travel to Middle Earth to attend a concert, the Middle Earth folks are bringing the concert to us. Well, sort of. We’re talking about “The Lord of the Rings In Concert: The Fellowship of the Ring,” a concert featuring a full orchestra and choir performing Howard Shore’s Oscar-winning score from the film. The traveling concert production comes to Oracle Arena on Oct. 22 for two shows.

Conducted by Ludwig Wicki, the orchestra and choir features members of Munich Symphony Orchestra, Pacific Chorale and Phoenix Boys Choir. Soprano Kaitlyn Lusk is the concert’s featured soloist.

Accompanying the music — and this might be the major drawing card for some concertgoers — will be a screening of Peter Jackson’s epic film on a 60-foot screen.

The concert will be staged at 2 and 8 p.m. Oct. 22. Tickets are $27.50-$149. Contact 800-745-3000 or www.ticketmaster.com. More information is at www.lordoftheringsinconcert.com.

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