This is the last weekend to check out Birth of the Cool at the Oakland Museum of California. Fans of mid-century modernism will recognize many of the objects and photographs, but it is well worth a visit to see the more obscure furniture and images of the period, as well as abstract paintings and graphic design.
If you go, plan on extra time to wander around the museum, truly one of Oakland's architectural treausures. Designed by Kevin Roche and John Dinkeloo, it features tiered rooftop terraces holding gardens, pools, and sculpture. It doesn't get the attention it deserves, in part because it is an experiential building rather than an iconic one that wows you from the street. But it anticipated current trends such as green roofs and buildings-as-landscape by decades. In fact, Kevin Roche won architecture's top honor, the Pritzker Prize in 1982.
The OMCA is in the process of a renovation and expansion by local architect Mark Cavagnero and has been trying attract the hip kids of late, by staying open during Art Murmur and bringing on new staff. The changes seem headed in the right direction. But now their website could use some work, though their transformation/capital campaign page looks promising.