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Legacies: Maurice Berger and Fred Wilson

April 19 at 6:30 pm8:00 pm

The Center for Innovation, Research and Creativity in the Arts (CIRCA) presents Legacies: Maurice Berger and Fred Wilson, a celebration of the life and work of Maurice Berger (1956–2020) upon the 20th anniversary of his curation of the exhibition Fred Wilson: Objects and Installations 1979 – 2000, and the 30th anniversary of his appointment as curator of the Center for Art, Design, and Visual Culture at UMBC. The program also celebrates the 30th anniversary of Fred Wilson’s groundbreaking installation Mining the Museum with The Contemporary and the Maryland Historical Society, as well as Wilson’s sculpture Artemis/Bast, which is currently on view at the Baltimore Museum of Art. Curator George Ciscle will moderate an intergenerational panel with Fred Wilson, Lee Boot, Symmes Gardner, and two Baltimore-based artists who see the work of Berger and Wilson as touchstones for theirs, Ashley Minner and Christopher Kojzar.

Maurice Berger was an American cultural historian, curator, and art critic, who served as a Research Professor and Chief Curator at the Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture, University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). Berger was recognized for his interdisciplinary scholarship on race and visual culture in the United States. He curated a number of important exhibitions examining the relationship between race and American art, including the critically acclaimed For All The World To See: Visual Culture and the Struggle for Civil Rights co-organized in 2011 by the National Museum of African American History and Culture of the Smithsonian Institution and the Center for Art, Design & Visual Culture at UMBC, which focused on the role visual imagery played in shaping, influencing, and transforming the modern struggle for racial equality and justice in the United States.

Fred Wilson was born in the Bronx, New York, in 1954, and lives and works in New York. Commenting on his unorthodox artistic practice, Wilson has said that, although he studied art, he no longer has a strong desire to make things with his hands: “I get everything that satisfies my soul from bringing together objects that are in the world, manipulating them, working with spatial arrangements, and having things presented in the way I want to see them.” Thus, Wilson creates new exhibition contexts for the display of art and artifacts found in museum collections—including wall labels, sound, lighting, and non-traditional pairings of objects. His installations lead viewers to recognize that changes in context create changes in meaning. While appropriating curatorial methods and strategies, Wilson maintains his subjective view of the museum environment and the works he presents. He questions (and forces the viewer to question) how curators shape interpretations of historical truth, artistic value, and the language of display—and what kinds of biases our cultural institutions express. In his groundbreaking intervention, Mining the Museum (1992), Wilson transformed the Maryland Historical Society’s collection to highlight the history of slavery in America. For the 2003 Venice Biennale, Wilson created a mixed-media installation of many parts—focusing on Africans in Venice and issues and representations of blacks and whites—which included a suite of black glass sculptures; a black-and-white tiled room, with wall graffiti culled from texts of African-American slave narratives; and a video installation of Othello, screened backwards. Wilson received a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Achievement Award (1999) and the Larry Aldrich Foundation Award (2003). He is the Distinguished Visiting Fellow in Object, Exhibition, and Knowledge at Skidmore College. Fred Wilson represented the United States at the Cairo Bienniale (1992) and Venice Biennale.

Please visit CIRCA’s website for complete details and additional biographies.

This event may be experienced live on YouTube, and also in person at the Fine Arts Recital Hall. To reserve a free in-person ticket, please visit here.

CIRCA is committed to making its events accessible to everyone. ASL interpreters and live captioning will be provided for this event.

Please note: All visitors to UMBC, and to the Fine Arts Recital Hall, are required to wear a KN-95 mask or equivalent. Visitors may pick up free KN-95 masks when entering the hall.

This event is made possible by the collaborative efforts and funding of: The Center for Innovation, Research, and Creativity in the Arts (CIRCA), the Center for Art, Design, and Visual Culture (CADVC), the Department of Visual Arts, the Office of the Provost, the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, the Maryland Center for History and Culture, and the Baltimore Museum of Art.



April 19
6:30 pm – 8:00 pm
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