Art: Provocative Museum

Perched on a sloping site across from the main campus, it looks like a giant poker-hand of five concrete slabs, fanning down the hill. After six years of planning and construction, the University of California at Berkeley last week proudly opened its new $4.8 million University Art Museum with all the ritual speeches, plus an exhibition drawn mostly from California collections and modestly entitled "Excellence."

The result is a building of genuine architectural distinction that also poses some provocative suggestions for the shape of museums in the future. Its designers are three San Francisco architects, Mario Ciampi, 63, Richard Jorasch, 34, and...

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