The Santa Barbara County Arts Commission presents an exhibition, Few Chosen by Many: A Berkus Selection, August 29, 2011 – Jan 21, 2012, and the reception will be held 1st Thursday, September 1, 2011, 5-8pm at the Channing Peake Gallery in the County Administration Building. The exhibition, drawn from The Barry Berkus and Family Art Collection, in memory of Gail Berkus, takes on a new twist, with community curators selecting one work each from the collection. Art appreciators from diverse careers and backgrounds chose a work that resonated with them and each one posts their reasons for their choice.

The “Few” in the title refers to the small selection of works by the curators, and the “Many” refers to the diversity of careers of those who were invited to choose a work from the Berkus Collection: accountant, educator, librarian, chef, museum guard, prosecutor, entrepreneur, hairstylist, veterinarian and horticulturist are among the many careers of the guest curators. Rita Ferri, the Curator of Collections for the County of Santa Barbara and organizer of this exhibition said, “I hope that viewers to the exhibition come away with the realization that liking and choosing art is not an activity limited to a few special people; that each of us makes choices each day; we all respond to different colors, images, and mediums. Many do this without a background in art history or curating. They have taught themselves over a lifetime to look at art critically and to appreciate it.”

Barry Berkus, noted Santa Barbara architect, art collector, and philanthropist, donated a large number of regional artworks from his collection to the County of Santa Barbara in 2006, through the County Arts Commission. All of the works given are by artists who live, or lived for an extended period, in the Santa Barbara area. This gift, The Barry Berkus and Family Art Collection, represents over 70 art works and spans 25 years of collecting work by area artists.

Mr. Berkus and his late wife, Gail, were recognized by Art News magazine as among the top 200 art collectors in the world. Their modern and contemporary collection was noted for its diversity and for large-scale artworks by such well known artists as Alexander Calder, Andy Warhol, James Rosenquist, Frank Stella, Nancy Graves, Roy Lichtenstein, Richard Diebenkorn and Ed Ruscha. While recognized for their collection of internationally and nationally known artists’ artworks, the Berkus’ were also keenly interested in and supportive of Santa Barbara area artists. They bought work from the artists’ studios, galleries, and auctions. Berkus remains committed to art of the region as he continues to collect work of regional artists with his wife Jo Berkus.

A color catalog with essay by Josef Woodard and designed by The Lily Guild Temple of Design is available from the County Arts Commission at or 5683990.


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