In Memory of Maurice Berger

Mar 25, 2020
Image: © Marvin Heiferman

We are saddened by the loss Maurice Berger, a writer, cultural historian, and curator whose important work focused on the intersection of race and visual culture. Our mutual friend Jim Estrin of the New York Times described him best, as a “warrior against racism, classism, and anti-Semitism.”

With strong ties to our community and ICP, he curated our White: Whiteness and Race in Contemporary Art exhibition in 2004, featuring work by ICP-Bard MFA Chair Nayland Blake, Nikki S. Lee, and Gary Simmons, which proposed that considering “whiteness”—white skin, white privilege, and even questions about what constitutes whiteness—is crucial to a fundamental shift in the way we think and talk about race. 

Maurice was a guest curator of For All the World to See: Visual Culture and the Struggle for Civil Rights exhibition, on view at ICP in 2010. That exhibition explored the historic role of visual culture in shaping, influencing, and transforming the fight for racial equality and justice in the United States from the late 1940s to the mid-1970s.

In addition to curating, he collaborated with our education team in bringing exhibitions to life for a range of audiences in our community through tours, workshops, classes, and public programs.

Maurice was a 2018 Infinity Award honoree for Critical Writing and Research for Race Stories, his column for the New York Times Lens blog exploring the relationship of photography to concepts and social issues about race not widely covered in the media.

He was most recently a research professor and chief curator at the Center for Art, Design, and Visual Culture at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. 

We extend our condolences to his family, including his husband and ICP faculty member Marvin Heiferman, his friends, and our photographic community. We have all have lost a powerful and challenging voice, an inspiring mentor, a thought-provoking curator, and a dear friend. 

Press Release