Maurice Berger, CADVC, Latest “Race Story” in The New York Times

In the latest essay for his Race Stories column in The New York Times, Maurice Berger, research professor at the Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture, examines the shifting attitudes toward the Confederate battle flag. “The image was at once mundane and historic. In Alabama last Wednesday, on the order of Gov. Robert Bentley, workers took down the Confederate battle flag on the grounds of the state Capitol and were photographed as they did. The camera, whose role it was to record a reality — and thus to make visible its compelling details of the world — now documented a symbol’s imminent invisibility,” notes Berger, but adds, “In the end, retiring an icon is not the same as dealing with the underlying institutional, emotional, economic and historic complications that it represents.”

Read “Making a Confederate Flag Invisible” and view the photographs at The New York Times Lens blog.

Berger’s Race Stories column, which appears monthly on The New York Times website, is “a continuing exploration of the relationship of race to photographic portrayals of race.”

Linda Dusman, Music, and Eric Smallwood, Visual Arts, Discuss Their Octava App with The Baltimore Sun

octavaLinda Dusman, Music, and Eric Smallwood, Visual Arts, were interviewed by The Baltimore Sun’s Tim Smith about their app Octava, which is designed to enhance the audience experience at symphony orchestra performances. Read the full article on the Sun’s website here.

“The app, called Octava, is aimed at enhancing the musical experience for listeners by delivering information via Wifi, synced with the music being played in the concert hall,” says Smith. In development for several years and formerly known as Symphony Interactive, the project received a $150,000 Maryland Innovation Initiative (MII) grant in 2014 (read more here).

Maurice Berger, CADVC, Discusses “Revolution of the Eye” on WYPR

061915_bergerMaurice Berger, research professor and chief curator at the Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture, was interviewed by WYPR’s Culture Editor for Maryland Morning, Tom Hall, about Revolution of the Eye: Modern Art and the Birth of American Television, an exhibition now on display at the Jewish Museum in New York. Berger curated the exhibition, which has been co-organized by the CADVC and the Jewish Museum, and authored the companion book by the same name, published by Yale University Press.

Revolution of the Eye is the first exhibition to explore how avant-garde art influenced and shaped the look and content of network television in its formative years, from the late 1940s to the mid-1970s. “Television and modern art became mutually beneficial forces, starting really at the very early days of television,” Berger explained to Hall. “The pioneers of television…looked to modern art—they were fascinated by it—as something that could help them perhaps prove that television was a discerning medium.”

The exhibition will visit UMBC’s Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture in Fall 2016.

To hear the full interview, which originally aired on WYPR’s Maryland Morning on Friday, June 19, click here.

Denise Meringolo, History, Describes Baltimore Uprising Project in the Baltimore Sun

Denise MeringoloAn article published June 18 in the Baltimore Sun examined a digital history project documenting the unrest surrounding the death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore. Denise Meringolo, an associate professor of history, is collaborating with the Maryland Historical Society and University of Baltimore to collect images, oral histories, and videos taken by everyday citizens documenting the events. Meringolo, who is featured in the article, set up a website for the project.

“I decided to establish a site that allows people to participate directly in the act of collecting,” Meringolo said. “When you study social movements from the past, sometimes what’s missing are the experiences and perceptions of the people who were in that moment. You find the official reports, but it’s very difficult to get a sense of what that protest was like viscerally from the ground view.”

To read the article in the Baltimore Sun, click here.  For additional coverage by the Associated Press, click here. To learn more about the project, visit baltimoreuprising2015.org.

Maurice Berger, CADVC, Latest “Race Story” in The New York Times

In the latest essay for his Race Stories column in The New York Times, Maurice Berger, research professor at the Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture, examines the work of Charles “Teenie” Harris, an African American staff photographer for the Pittsburgh Courier from the 1930s through the 1970s. Now held in the archives of the Carnegie Museum of Art, a selection of 80,000 images by Harris are now on display in “Teenie Harris Photographs: Cars,” second in a series of exhibitions that began with “Teenie Harris Photographs: Civil Rights Perspectives.” The museum “asked writers — including poets, playwrights and historians — to respond to ‘the social, cultural, and political content’ of Mr. Harris’s photos,” notes Berger.

Read “Past and Present Collide in Pittsburgh” and view the photographs at The New York Times Lens blog.

Berger’s Race Stories column, which appears monthly on The New York Times website, is “a continuing exploration of the relationship of race to photographic portrayals of race.”

American Studies and Media and Communication Studies Students Produce Radio Series for The Marc Steiner Show

As part of the Baltimore Traces: Communities in Transition project, several American studies and media and communication studies students produced a radio series about two Baltimore neighborhoods in transition: Greektown and Station North. Baltimore Traces is an interdisciplinary project and collaborative teaching innovation that produces audio and video oral histories focused on Baltimore residents and neighborhoods.

On Friday, May 22, the radio series aired on WEAA’s The Marc Steiner Show. Bill Shewbridge, professor of the practice of media and communication studies, worked with students in Michelle Stefano’s class, a visiting assistant professor of American studies, to produce an audio journey through the East Baltimore neighborhood of Greektown. The project brought students into the neighborhood where they conducted interviews with local residents and workers to explore the identity, history, and complexity of the community.

Businesses on Eastern Avenue in Greektown. Photo by Marouane Hail.

Businesses on Eastern Avenue in Greektown. Photo by Marouane Hail.

Students in Nicole King’s class, an associate professor of American studies, produced a three-part series on Station North. The students conducted several interviews to get a sense of a neighborhood that has been undergoing a great deal of transition. In one of the segments, a student captured audio at Red Emma’s Coffeehouse as workers fed school children and provided a safe place for the community the day after the Monday, April 27 unrest in Baltimore.

To listen to the complete audio segments, click below:
UMBC Students Present Baltimore Traces: Greektown in Transition
UMBC Students Present Baltimore Traces: Station North in Transition

The Baltimore Traces project is ongoing and expanded in the spring 2015 as part of a Hrabowski Innovation Grant, “Baltimore Stories: Emerging Media Across the Curriculum.” Previous collaborations as part of the project include Mill Stories (Michelle Stefano and Bill Shewbridge) and Mapping Baybrook (Nicole King and Steve Bradley). There is a public event scheduled for June 2 focusing on Brooklyn-Curtis Bay and Sparrows Point that will feature members of the two communities who will discuss the challenges they face and possible futures. For more information, click here.

Anne Rubin, History, Gives Voice to Union Soldiers in Sherman’s Army in The Conversation

Anne RubinOn Memorial Day, The Conversation published a series of insights into wars that have been waged and their aftermath. Anne Rubin, an associate professor of history, published an article that gave voice to the Union soldiers in Sherman’s Army and their view of their impact on the end of the Civil War.

“Sherman’s veterans, at least those who spoke and wrote publicly about their experiences, were remarkably untroubled by the war they made against civilians. They looked at the march not as something that broke the laws of war, but instead as one of the great experiences of their lives,” Rubin wrote.

“For all their minimizing of hardships and the horrors of war, they well understood what they fought for, and they believed wholeheartedly that their march, their efforts, had brought the war to an end,” she added. “They never wavered in their belief that the march was necessary. The Confederacy had brought destruction on itself by tearing apart the Union, they believed, and it was the duty of these soldiers to reunite the nation, by any means at their disposal.”

To read the full article titled “The grand review of Sherman’s Bummers,” click here. Rubin is author of Through the Heart of Dixie: Sherman’s March and American Memory (UNC Press 2014).