Berman Museum of Art Opens Spring Season with Four New Exhibitions
The Philip and Muriel Berman Museum of Art at Ursinus College will open four unique exhibitions this spring: Essential Work, bringing together seven international artists to question the intrinsic nature of work; Lydia Ricci: Some Things Last a Long Time, playfully transforming the mundane to remarkable; Michael Dela Dika: Shaping Rhapsody, a student-curated show exploring themes of identity and community; and José Ortiz-Pagan: Umbral, a site-specific installation collaboratively conceived and constructed with the help of student researchers.
“We’re thrilled to be working with so many incredible artists this spring, and to have the opportunity to amplify students’ voices through the collaborative projects they’re involved in,” Berman Museum Executive Director Lauren McCardel said. “These exhibitions invite critical, in some cases difficult conversation around major themes affecting our culture and society. We look forward to engaging visitors in this dialogue as we imagine a more equitable, empathetic future.”
This spring, the Berman Museum presents:
Essential Work (January 20 through April 2)
“Essential work” and “essential worker” became household terms during the COVID-19 pandemic, exposing long-standing fissures in the labor we undertake, its relative protections, and its treatment of various demographics. Today, we find ourselves in a changing labor landscape marked by new standards for work/life balance, the Great Resignation, resurgent unionization movements, “quiet quitting,” and other workplace phenomena. Essential Work brings together a diverse group of international artists to examine questions of labor and value. Together, they posit artwork as essential to our society as it seeks new ways to connect, communicate, and understand our world.
Lydia Ricci: Some Things Last a Long Time (January 20 through April 2; pictured above)
If lives are measured by cultural milestones, they often seem to be consumed by mundane tasks and obligations that pass unnoticed. Yet, one might argue that such unremarkable moments contain poignancy, desire, humor, and resilience. Lydia Ricci’s constructions—fabricated from the artist’s obsessive amassing of her family’s documents and scraps—and animated vignettes playfully glorify life in the interstices, transforming the mundane into the rich messiness of daily rituals. A site-specific studio, temporarily installed in the museum’s Front Gallery, will serve as Ricci’s workspace during specially scheduled hours throughout the run of the exhibition.
Michael Dela Dika: Shaping Rhapsody (January 20 through May 2023)
A tenuous yet playful equilibrium marks Shaping Rhapsody, the newest body of work by sculptor Michael Dela Dika. In mixed-media assemblages, the apparent fragility of ceramic, rigidity of metal, and buoyancy of found materials cohere in rhythmic forms that seem to belie stability. Although carefully worked, Dika’s sculptures convey a sense of spontaneity arising from an experimental approach to media, process, and color. Shaping Rhapsody is a collaborative undertaking by student curators in the Berman’s 2022-23 Museum Studies Curatorial Practices Seminar.
José Ortiz-Pagán: Umbral (February 9 through December 2023)
As the Berman Museum’s 2023 interdisciplinary visiting artist-in-residence, Philadelphia-based Puerto Rican artist José Ortiz-Pagán will engage a cohort of Ursinus students to help research, conceive, and install a site-specific installation in the museum’s Baldeck/Hollis Gallery. Using a Pennsylvania-German “hex” from the Berman’s permanent collection as a point of departure, Ortiz-Pagán will broadly explore themes of “protection” and/or “blessing.” Together with participating students, Ortiz-Pagan will research the etymology of these keywords to inform a thematic roadmap for the resulting work, which will focus on crises afflicting the island of Puerto Rico and its people.