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Sandy Phillips unretires to curate photography at Berkeley Art Museum

Sandy Phillips, the esteemed senior curator of photography at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, had just retired into an emerita research position when the phone rang in her basement office. It was Lawrence Rinder, director of the UC Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive, calling to unretire her.

“Boy Pointing Rifle at Car” by Christine Osinski is part of the show. Photo: Christine Osinski, BAMPFA
“Boy Pointing Rifle at Car” by Christine Osinski is part of the show. Photo: Christine Osinski, BAMPFA

Sam Whiting

The result of that conversation could be seen just before noon on the last Wednesday in March, as Phillips sat on a wooden bench in the lobby of the Berkeley museum, watching people stream in for her public introduction as adjunct senior curator of photography.

“Everybody who is involved in photography knows who Sandy Phillips is, and they’ll pay attention if we do a show curated by her,” says Rinder, still giddy that Phillips was willing to sign on as an adjunct, which generally means no pay, no benefits, no security, not even an office.

She could command more, because she is a museum rainmaker and the proof is in her very first show at BAMPFA. When she accepted the job, William Goodman, a longtime member of the photography accessions committee at SFMOMA, was shopping for the right museum for a major donation of 20th and 21st century photography in honor of his late daughter. Goodman and his wife, Victoria Belco, both have law degrees from UC Berkeley, and their daughter, Teresa Goodman, got her undergraduate degree there.  The family lives in the Berkeley hills, but the relocated BAMPFA was way down their list because it had no designated photography curator. Rinder created a position for Phillips, and the museum rose to the top of Goodman’s list.

“It was enormously helpful,” he says. “She’s brilliant.”  It has all come together in the opening show from Phillips, “Unlimited: Recent Gifts from the William Goodman and Victoria Belco Photography Collection.”

Read the full story HERE >>>> Source: Datebook SF Chronicle Sandy Phillips unretires to curate photography at Berkeley Art Museum

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