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Cal Conversations: Slow Reading / Slow Seeing marks the beginning of a new annual series of exhibitions at BAMPFA developed in collaboration with classes taught on the UC Berkeley campus. This inaugural project was done in concert with Professor Lyn Hejinian’s class English 190: Slow Reading / Slow Seeing, a seminar on the poetics of reading poems and seeing paintings. The concept for the exhibition was loosely based on T. J. Clark’s book The Sight of Death: An Experiment in Art Writing, in which the author, a Berkeley professor emeritus of art history, undertakes a meditation on two paintings by the eighteenth-century French master Nicolas Poussin. Similarly, this exhibition is a result of the extended dialogues that undergraduate students maintained with a poem and a work of art in BAMPFA’s collection, both of the students’ own choosing. Over the course of the semester, students kept a reading/seeing journal on each poem and work of art they selected. They subsequently wrote wall labels, diary entries, and two critical papers, excerpts of which will be included in the exhibition brochure available in the galleries. The poems and works of art that the students selected will be on view as part of the exhibition.

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