Lucky Seven is an installation of acquisitions collected by or gifted to the Berman Museum of Art over the past seven years. This exhibition playfully interprets the passing of time, placing emphasis on a significant turning point in the museum’s history. In 2013, the Berman Museum welcomed an evolution in institutional vision, reinventing itself as a platform for contemporary art with a contemporary collecting focus. In the past seven years we have received gifts both large and small from the Philip and Muriel Berman Foundation and other generous donors; transitioned works on loan to permanent holdings; and acquired contemporary artworks from our exhibitions on display, broadening our collection of dynamic current work in photography, painting, works-on-paper, and sculpture.
In conceiving this exhibition, much thought was given to the collecting legacy of Philip and Muriel Berman. Philip and Muriel believed in developing relationships with artists, they championed new and emerging artists’ careers, and they did not shy away from what was challenging or different. The couple was adamant that sculptures be visible at educational institutions, believing the presence of the works themselves was enough to be impactful. This belief in the transformative power of art through presence relies on a belief in the spirit of art.
Eight artists are highlighted in this virtual soft opening: David Levinthal, Dina Wind, Don Camp, Joel Meyerowitz, Kara Walker, Laura Moriarty, Laurel Sparks, and Virgil Marti. Each artist’s work is explored through the lens of what binds them under the parentage of the Berman Museum. In curating this selection, questions I asked myself included: What do these works mean to our collection? How do they change when hung on our walls? What does it mean for a work of art to belong? Is a work of art home once it is acquired? Do these works of art have a nonmaterial connection? Is the curator needed to decide what connections these works have? Or were they always there?
These questions do not necessarily have answers, but rather Lucky Seven is an exploratory investigation of the connections revealed in seemingly disparate and unfamiliar works of art. What I found was that each work of art brought together discordant elements to create a whole, whether this be through material, technique, or theme. More often than not, a work of art challenges the unfamiliar, trying to make sense of it for those willing to take the time to look.