By Jonathon Keats.
The new “Create” exhibition at the Berkeley Art Museum cements the Bay Area’s role as the nation’s premier hub for art by people with developmental disabilities. For the first time, 20 of the finest pieces (including the three shown here) from Creative Growth, in Oakland, Creativity Explored, in San Francisco, and the National Institute for Artists with Disabilities, in Richmond, will be on display together in a major art museum. We can’t help but wonder: Did Berkeley psychologist Elias Katz and his wife, Florence, who founded these studios, know that their art therapy produce gallery-worthy work? Through Sept. 25, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive. bampfa.berkeley.edu
Before Scott died, in 2005, people visiting Creative Growth were wary of setting down their keys. Scot considered anything she could borrow or steal material for her sculptures, which she created by wrapping objects as diverse as high-heeled shoes and electric fans in yards of colored yard. Her elaborate cocoons have been shown at SFMOMA, among other museums.
Miller’s techniques allow him to articulate an essential fact of his disability: his difficult putting thoughts into words. His works, which have been exhibited at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, begin as words written repeatedly on the page, which Miller renders illegible with obsessive overwriting and drawing, and the sense this gives of their private meaningfulness is visceral.