Berger, Maurice 1956-
Berger, Maurice 1956-
Born May 22, 1956 in New York, NY; son of Max and Ruth Berger. Education: Hunter College of the City University of New York, B.A., 1978; Graduate Center of the City University of New York, Ph.D., 1988. Religion: Jewish.
Hunter College of the City University of New York, New York, NY, adjunct lecturer, 1980-84, visiting assistant professor of art history, 1985-91, curator of art gallery, 1983-85, curator of special projects, 1985—; New School University, senior fellow at Vera List Center for Art and Politics, 1994—; University of Maryland Baltimore County, senior research scholar at Center for Art, Design, and Visual Culture, 2006—, and curator of the exhibitions White: Whiteness and Race in Contemporary Art and Color Pictures: Visual Culture and the Struggle for Civil Rights. Lecturer at other institutions, including Queens College of the City University of New York, 1981, Parsons Design School, 1986, Yale University, 1987, State University of New York at Stony Brook, 1989, and Rutgers University, 1990.
PEN, Phi Beta Kappa.
Labyrinths: Robert Morris, Minimalism, and the 1960s, Harper and Row (New York, NY), 1989.
How Art Becomes History: Essays on Art, Society, and Culture in Post-New Deal America, Icon Editions (New York, NY), 1992.
(Editor) Modern Art and Society: An Anthology of Social and Multicultural Readings, Icon Editions (New York, NY), 1994.
(Editor, with Brian Wallis and Simon Watson) Constructing Masculinity, Routledge (New York, NY), 1995.
(Editor) The Crisis of Criticism: Cultural Criticism Today, New Press (New York, NY), 1998.
White Lies: Race and the Myths of Whiteness (memoir), Farrar, Straus & Giroux (New York, NY), 1999.
Contributor to exhibition catalogs and other books, including Eva Hesse: A Retrospective, edited by Lesley K. Baier, Yale University Press, 1992; Neo-Dad: Redefining Art, 1958-1960, Universe Publications, 1994; Trisha Brown: Dance and Art in Dialogue, 1961-2001, MIT Press, 2002; Modigliani: Beyond the Myth, Yale University Press, 2004; and The Transportation of Place, edited by Andrea Robbins and Max Bechter, Aperture, 2005. Contributor to periodicals, including Village Voice, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Wired, October, After Image, Art in America, and Artform.
Maurice Berger told CA: "I completed my doctoral studies in art and critical theory in 1988 but soon turned my attention to an early and abiding interest: race. As one of the few white kids in my low-income housing project on Manhattan's Lower East Side, I grew up hyper-sensitized to race in the charged environment of New York City in the sixties. It was my experiences as a child and young adult that eventually compelled me to look beyond the heady world of ‘critical theory’ in an effort to better understand the relevance of visual culture, especially images of race, to everyday life.
"In my writing I attempt to blend visual observation, storytelling, and theoretical analysis into lucid, literary texts. Whether through autobiography, the stories of the historical past, or criticism, I want to reveal the ever-present connections between art, ideas, and politics. I was one of the first writers, for example, to explore the relationship between visual culture and the issues of racism, whiteness, and contemporary race relations in the United States. My memoir, White Lies: Race and the Myths of Whiteness, was one of the earliest books to introduce the idea of ‘whiteness’ as a racial concept to a more general audience." Reviewing the work for the New York Times, a critic called White Lies "startlingly original" and a "dazzling virtual discussion."
"In my exhibition Color Pictures: Visual Culture and the Struggle for Civil Rights, a joint venture of the National Museum of African American History and Culture of the Smithsonian Institution and the Center for Art, Design, and Visual Culture at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, I examine the roles played by visual images in shaping, influencing, and transforming the modern struggle for racial equality and justice in the United States."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Berger, Maurice, White Lies: Race and the Myths of Whiteness, Farrar, Straus & Giroux (New York, NY), 1999.
Booklist, June 1, 1998, Donna Seaman, review of The Crisis of Criticism: Cultural Criticism Today, p. 1702; January 1, 1999, Vernon Ford, review of White Lies: Race and the Myth of Whiteness, p. 802.
Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, summer, 1993, Anita Silvers, review of How Art Becomes History: Essays on Art, Society, and Culture in Post-New Deal America, pp. 515-517.
Kirkus Reviews, May 15, 1998, review of The Crisis of Criticism, p. 704.
Library Journal, January, 1999, Anthony O. Edmonds, review of White Lies, p. 134.
MultiCultural Review, September, 1999, Lyn Miller-Lachmann, review of White Lies, pp. 80-81.
New Leader, December 14, 1998, Joseph Dolman, review of White Lies, p. 25.
New York Times, March 22, 1999, Margo Jefferson, review of White Lies, p. D 2; May 5, 1999, Felicia Lee, review of White Lies, p. E1, 10; January 10, 2005, Margo Jefferson, review of exhibition White: Whiteness and Race in Contemporary Art.
New York Times Book Review, February 28, 1999, Laurie Adlerstein, review of White Lies, p. 16.
Publishers Weekly, May 4, 1998, review of The Crisis of Criticism, p. 200; November 23, 1998, review of White Lies, p. 28.
Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, summer, 1997, Sally Robinson, review of Constructing Masculinity, pp. 1049-1052.
Village Voice, February 17-23, 1999, David Roediger, review of White Lies.
Wilson Library Bulletin, November, 1990, Jean Martin, review of Labyrinths: Robert Morris, Minimalism, and the 1960s, p. 138.