More About the Author
Maurice Berger is a cultural historian, art critic, and curator. He is Research Professor and Chief Curator at the Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture, University of Maryland, Baltimore County and Consulting Curator at The Jewish Museum in New York. Berger's essay series, Race Stories, "a continuing exploration of the relationship of race to photographic portrayals of race," appears monthly on the Lens Blog of the New York Times.
A student of the pioneering theoretical art historian, Rosalind E. Krauss, he completed a B.A. at Hunter College and Ph.D. in art history and critical theory at the City University of New York. He then turned his attention to race. One of the few white kids in his low-income housing project on Manhattan's Lower East Side, Berger grew up hyper-sensitized to race. Due to his experiences, he looked beyond the world of "critical theory" to address the relevance of visual culture, and especially images of race, to everyday life.
Berger engages the issues of racism, whiteness, and contemporary race relations and their connection to visual culture in the United States. His study on institutional racism--"Are Art Museums Racist?"--appeared in Art in America. Berger has also curated a number of race-related exhibitions, including For All The World To See: 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 & Visual Culture at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. This exhibition examines the role played by visual images in shaping, influencing, and transforming the modern struggle for racial equality and justice in the United States. It opened at International Center of Photography in New York in May 2010 and travels to the DuSable Museum of African American History (Chicago), Smithsonian National Museum of American History (DC), Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture (Baltimore), Addison Gallery of American Art (Andover, MA) and other venues. For All the World to See was selected by the National Endowment for the Humanities as the tenth NEH on the Road exhibition, an initiative that will adapt the exhibition in a smaller, lower security version and travel it to up to 35 more venues, mostly smaller and mid-size institutions across the country over a five year period from 2012 to 2017.
Berger is the author of eleven books on the subject of American art, culture, and the politics of race. His memoir, White Lies: Race and the Myths of Whiteness (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1999) was one of the earliest books to introduce the idea of "whiteness" as a racial concept to a more general audience. The book was a finalist for the Horace Mann Bond Book Award of the W.E.B. DuBois Institute for Afro-American Research, Harvard University and received an honorable mention from the Gustavus Myers Outstanding Book Award of Boston University School of Social Work. Other books include: Masterworks of the Jewish Museum (Yale, 2004); The Crisis of Criticism (The New Press, 1998); Constructing Masculinity (Routledge, 1995); Modern Art and Society (HarperCollins, 1994); How Art Becomes History (HarperCollins, 1992); Labyrinths: Robert Morris, Minimalism, and the 1960s (Harper & Row, 1989). Berger's writing on art, film, television, theater, law, and the politics of race have appeared in many journals and newspapers, including Artforum, Art in America, New York Times, Village Voice, October, Wired, and Los Angeles Times. He has also contributed essays to numerous exhibition catalogs and anthologies.
Berger is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including multiple grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts; book awards from the American Library Association, W.E.B. DuBois Institute of Harvard University, Boston University School of Social Work, and Benjamin L. Hooks Institute of the University of Memphis; curatorial honors from the International Association of Art Critics, American Section and the Association of Art Museum Curators; and a 2011 Emmy Award nomination for his work on the "For All the World to See" segment of WNET's Sunday Arts.
Berger has also been involved in a number of national and local initiatives around American race relations, visual culture, and education in the arts. From June 2002 to March 2005, he was Chairman of the External Advisory Committee of The Digital Library of The New York Public Library. He currently serves on the Advisory Board of the Center for the Study of Science and Religion, Columbia University (New York), Education Committee of Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Artistic Advisory Committee of National Foundation for Jewish Culture. He is the author of "The Crisis in Art Education," a white paper requested by President William Jefferson Clinton for his Committee on the Arts and The Humanities (1995) and a Position Report, The Future of the National Endowment for the Arts, requested by the Democratic National Committee for the transition team of President-elect Bill Clinton (1992).