This rich history is undercut with urgency, as gentrification is displacing Oakland’s Black population at a staggering rate.
The museum has opened a permanent exhibition about Black activism in the Bay Area, which, contrary to public perception, was not always an accepting, progressive place.
De Forest is part of a group of artists working in Northern California in the late 1950s who rejected New York and what they regarded as mainstream art and thinking. This group included Joan Brown, Jay De Feo, Bruce Conner, William T. Wiley, Jess, Wally Hedrick, and others.
A retrospective of Roy De Forest, who described what he and his colleagues at UC Davis were making in the 1960s as “Nut Art,” is fun, innovative, and ambitious.
Currently on view at the Oakland Museum of California is The 1968 Exhibit, which focuses on the culture of that unforgettable year. Organized by the Minnesota History Center, the Atlanta History Center, the Chicago History Museum, and the Oakland Museum, this expansive show explores the tumultuous year whose highlights include human space travel, the assassinations of both Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy, the rise of the Black Panthers, the Beatles, and hippie culture, the first wide use of plastics, and many other things.