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“On the Edge”:  The de Young Open

A juried exhibition featuring Bay Area artists

M. H. de Young Museum, San Francisco, CA

October 10, 2020 - January 3, 2021

Barbara M. Berk’s sculpture “Lace Twelve:  Oskar Schlemmer’s Dancer” has been selected for “On the Edge”The de Young Open, a juried art exhibition celebrating the de Young Museum’s 125th anniversary.

“[W]e are proud to … [create] a platform for the visionary artists who enrich the Bay Area’s cultural landscape,” states Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. “Amid these uncertain times, this new initiative expands the Fine Arts Museums’ ongoing commitment to the Bay Area community and serves as a celebratory sign of our community’s strength and resilience.”

The theme “On the Edge” derives from both the Bay Area’s geographic location on the Pacific Rim, but also the region’s historical reputation for leading-edge, cutting-edge, or edgy culture and creativity.  6,190 artists residing in the nine Bay Area counties (Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, Sonoma) submitted 11,518 works of art, including painting, drawings, printmaking, digital art, photography, sculpture, fiber art and video.

Headed by Timothy Anglin Burgard, Distinguished Senior Curator and Ednah Root Curator-in-Charge of American Art, the jury included Claudia Schmuckli, Curator of Contemporary Art and Programming, Karin Breuer, Curator in Charge of the Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts, and Jill D'Alessandro, Curator in Charge of Costume and Textile Arts, at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, in addition to renowned Bay Area artists Enrique Chagoya, Mildred Howard, and Hung Liu.

“The Museums want to support our local art communities, particularly at a time when they are experiencing the negative impacts of the COVID-19 crisis,” says Burgard. “This innovative exhibition will provide a unique opportunity for our visitors to view the extraordinary breadth and depth of art created in the Bay Area.”


The jury selected 881 works by 763 artists.  The artworks will be installed salon-style in the 12,000 square foot Herbst Special Exhibition Galleries.


Barbara M. Berk explores strength and beauty, transparency and movement through the interplay of metal with traditional fiber techniques.  Material and Process are the heart of her work:  the physical properties and working characteristics of her industrial metals balance and reinforce the integrity of the fiber structures.  But it is the dualities and seeming contradictions inherent in her work – Domestic and Industrial; Soft and Hard; Looking At and Looking Through; Positive and Negative Space; Reflections and Shadows; Renaissance and Contemporary – that animate Berk’s sculptures.


She created “Lace Twelve:  Oskar Schlemmer’s Dancer” with stainless steel wire.  Using a 16th century Bobbin Lace stitch, Berk made a flat ribbon of lace, 3” wide x 15 feet long, which she then curled, looped and sewed together with wire into a 3-dimensional form.   “Oskar Schlemmer’s Dancer” is equally compelling on a pedestal – as it will be shown in The de Young Open – as it is when suspended from the ceiling, as it was shown in Bauhaus Centennial – Taking Shape:  Bauhaus Fiber Art Exhibition at Art Ventures Gallery, Menlo Park, CA (2019).


The exhibition dates for “On the Edge”:  The de Young Open will be determined once the de Young Museum re-opens to the public.

Information about the exhibition and the quotes from

 Director Campbell and Curator Burgard 

are courtesy of the Press Room, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

About the work in the Exhibition:

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