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October 25, 2001

Fine Arts Gallery presents Fred Wilson: Objects and Installations, 1979-2000

Baltimore, MD (September 1, 2001) -- UMBC's Fine Arts Gallery presents Fred Wilson: Objects and Installations, 1979-2000, the first mid-career survey of the artwork by the internationally recognized artist, curated by Maurice Berger, curator of the Fine Arts Gallery. The exhibition, which consists of more than 100 objects, some reconfigured to re-create sections of Wilson's original installations, will be on view from October 11, 2001 through January 12, 2002. An opening reception will be held on October 11 from 5 to 7 p.m.

On November 8 at 7:30 p.m., Fred Wilson will present a public lecture in Lecture Hall V, located in UMBC's Engineering/Computer Science Building.

Following the Fine Arts Gallery viewing, Objects and Installations will travel to the Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, New York (October 26, 2002 - January 7, 2003); the Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, California (January 22, 2003 - March 30, 2003); the Sarah Campbell Blaffer Gallery, University of Houston, Houston, Texas (May 3, 2003 - July 27, 2003); the Addison Gallery of American Art, Phillips Academy, Andover, Massachusetts (Fall 2003); the Santa Monica Museum of Art, Santa Monica, California (December 5, 2003 - February 8, 2004); the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, New York (April 28, 2004 - July 4, 2004); and other locations to be determined.

Over the past fifteen years, Fred Wilson has produced the most sustained and cogent inquiry into the complex relationship between the art object and the museum. His oeuvre, consisting of mock museum installations into which the artist places provocative and beautifully rendered objects, explore the question of how the museum consciously or unconsciously perpetuates racist beliefs or behavior.

If social justice is Wilson's ultimate subject, the museum itself becomes his medium -- from the use of meticulously fabricated objects to the careful selection of wall colors, lighting, display cases and even wall labels. Wilson's incisive aesthetic and social inquiry focuses not only on the social implications of the content within the anthropological, historical or artistic medium but also on the powerful, historically encoded belief systems inherent to the art of museum display. Sometimes the artist reconfigures and supplements the collection of an actual museum -- as in his extraordinary installation, Mining the Museum, commissioned by the Maryland Historical Society in 1992. In that show, Wilson juxtaposed objects from the society's permanent collection with fabricated objects and wall labels. The resulting juxtapositions spoke to a complex history of museological omission, manipulation and oversight: in Cabinet Making, for example, Wilson poignantly counters a series of elegantly crafted American late nineteenth century wooden chairs with a rarely exhibited wooden slave post.

In the end, Wilson's aesthetic commentaries reach across a wide museological and art historical expanse -- from Egyptian and classical Greek and Roman sculpture to African-American memorabilia, the primativist painting of Picasso and the uniforms worn by the often black guards charged with the task of keeping America museums safe and secure.

Fred Wilson: Objects and Installations, 1979-2000 will be accompanied by a major catalog and will feature essays by exhibition curator Maurice Berger and Jennifer Gonzalez, professor of art history at the University of California, Santa Cruz. The catalog will be fully illustrated in black-and-white and color, and will also contain an interview with Wilson, complete catalog raisionné of his installations, a selected bibliography, list of exhibitions and checklist.

A major outreach initiative will accompany the exhibition. Programming components include a symposium on the cultural politics of the museum; a talk by Wilson; and a school outreach program, designed for primary and secondary students, in partnership with area museums. Organized by the Fine Arts Gallery, this school outreach program involves college interns from throughout the university who will participate with museum staff and school teachers in developing curriculum studies, guided tours and corresponding workshop activities in area schools.

The Curator
Maurice Berger is a senior fellow at the Vera List Center for Art and Politics of the New School for Social Research and curator of the Fine Arts Gallery, UMBC. He has taught and lectured at such institutions as Hunter College, Yale University, the DIA Center for the Arts, the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston. He has served as curator or has written catalog essays for such institutions as the Guggenheim Museum, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Whitney Museum, Yale University Art Gallery, Grey Art Gallery and Jewish Museum. His articles have appeared in numerous journals and newspapers, including The New York Times, Art in America, Artforum, the Village Voice, October and Afterimage. He is the author of three books: Labyrinths: Robert Morris, Minimalism, and the 1960s (Harper and Row, 1989), How Art Becomes History (HarperCollins, 1992); and White Lies: Race and the Myths of Whiteness (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1999). White Lies was named a finalist for the Horace Mann Bond Award given by Harvard University for the best book of African American interest, and is currently being made into a documentary by PBS. Berger was editor of Modern Art and Society: A Social and Multicultural Reader (HarperCollins, 1994) and The Crisis of Criticism (The New Press, 1998), and co-editor of Constructing Masculinity (Routledge, 1995).

Exhibition Support
Generous support for this exhibition and publication is provided from UMBC, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the Peter Norton Family Foundation, the Elizabeth Graham Firestone Foundation, and the Maryland State Arts Council.

Gallery Information
The Fine Arts Gallery is a non-profit gallery space dedicated to the exhibition of contemporary art. The Fine Arts Gallery serves as a unique center for students, faculty, and the general public in the visualization and discussion of important philosophical and aesthetic issues of the day. Disciplines represented include painting, sculpture, drawing, printmaking, photography, imaging and digital arts, video, film, installation and performance.

Since 1989, the Fine Arts Gallery has incorporated a number of public programs into its exhibition programming schedule to further impact the communities it serves. Symposia, lecture series, conferences, film series, visiting artist series, and residencies have all been fundamental in an effort to create an ongoing dialogue about contemporary art and culture. The Fine Arts Gallery has also initiated a number of projects with Baltimore and surrounding schools systems to integrate the contemporary artist and their concerns into the classroom. These projects take place on-site at both middle schools and high schools and are team taught by the instructors at these schools, professional artists, and students from the Fine Arts Gallery's Internship Program.

Currently the Fine Arts Gallery produces one to two exhibition catalogues each year. Each document is fully illustrated and contains critical essays on the given subject by a variety of distinguished professionals in the field. With the printing of Minimal Politics: Performativity and Minimalism in Recent American Art in 1997, the Fine Arts Gallery inaugurated a new series of publications entitled Issues in Cultural Theory. These catalogues are published yearly and are distributed internationally through Distributed Publishers in New York.

Since 1992, the Fine Arts Gallery has actively pursued the organization of exhibitions which contain the aesthetic, theoretical, and educational potential to reach both a national and international audience. Over the years, the Fine Arts Gallery has traveled these exhibition projects to a broad spectrum of museums, professional non-profit galleries, and universities national and internationally. These traveling exhibitions include:

  • Adrian Piper: A Retrospective (1999)
  • Bruno Monguzzi: A Designer's Perspective (1998)
  • Minimal Politics (1997)
  • Kate Millet, Sculpture: The First 38 Years (1997)
  • Layers: Contemporary Collage from St. Petersburg, Russia (1995/96)
  • Notes In Time: Leon Golub and Nancy Spero (1995)
  • Ciphers of Identity (1994)
  • Nancy Graves: Recent Works (1993)
  • Environmental Terror (1992)

Beyond the scope of these traveling exhibitions, the Fine Arts Gallery also undertakes an exhibition schedule that includes a Faculty Biennial, Views from Baltimore to Washington, which focuses on contemporary forms and media by regional artists, and projects such as the Joseph Beuys Tree Partnership. As part of the educational mission of the Fine Arts Gallery one graduate thesis exhibition and one undergraduate senior exhibition are scheduled on a yearly basis.

This multi-faceted focus for presenting exhibitions, projects and scholarly research publications focused on contemporary art and cultural issues positions the Fine Arts Gallery in a unique position within the mid-Atlantic region.

Admission to the Gallery is free.

Hours of Operation
Sunday: closed
Monday: closed
Tuesday through Saturday: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
The Gallery will be closed November 22 - 25, 2001, and December 22, 2001 - January 2, 2002.

Telephone and web
General Gallery information: (410) 455-3188
UMBC Artsline (24 hour recorded message): (410) 455-ARTS
Media inquiries only: (410) 455-3370

UMBC Arts website:
Fine Arts Gallery website:

From Baltimore and points north, proceed south on I-95 to exit 47B. Take Route 166 toward Catonsville and then follow signs to the Fine Arts Building.

From I-695, take Exit 12C (Wilkens Avenue) and continue one-half mile to the entrance of UMBC at the roundabout intersection of Wilkens Avenue and Hilltop Road. Turn left and follow signs to the Fine Arts Building.

From Washington and points south, proceed north on I-95 to Exit 47B. Take Route 166 toward Catonsville and then follow signs to the Fine Arts Building.

Daytime metered visitor parking is available in Lot 10, near the Administration Building. Visitor parking regulations are enforced on all University calendar days. Hilltop Circle and all campus roadways require a parking permit unless otherwise marked.
Online campus map:

Images for Media
High resolution images for media are available online: by email or postal mail.


Posted by dwinds1 at October 25, 2001 12:00 AM