UMBC Curator Maurice Berger Dies From COVID-19 Complications

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Maurice Berger died March 23 of COVID-19 complications. Berger was the chief curator at the Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture University of Maryland Baltimore County.

He died in New York at age 63, according to The Jewish Museum.


CBS Baltimore reported that Berger was an internationally known scholar. His work appeared in The New York Times, Artforum, Art in America, National Geographic, and more.

Berger highlighted issues with whiteness and race. For example, Art News pointed out that in his column called “Race Stories” for the New York Times photography blog Lens, he considered how camera-made images can be tied to complex political contexts.

“I’m very interested in writing about the things that would normally not be written about—like the issues of race people have not been comfortable with,” Berger said in a 2018 documentary by New York’s International Center of Photography.

“As a Jew, I have known anti-Semitism. As a gay man, I have known homophobia,” Berger wrote in a 2017 New York Times column titled “Using Photography to Tell Stories About Race.” “But neither has seemed as relentless as the racism I witnessed growing up — a steady drumbeat of slights, thinly-veiled hostility and condescension perpetrated by even the most liberal and well-meaning people.”

Berger revitalized The Jewish Museum’s National Jewish Archive of Broadcasting, the largest and most comprehensive body of broadcast materials on 20th-century Jewish culture in the U.S., according to The Jewish Museum.

A poetic man, he once wrote in the Masterworks of The Jewish Museum catalog.:

“Who owns history? Who does history serve and for whom is it written? Who has been left out of history and whose voices should be heard?”

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