Baltimore

“Ciphers of Identity”

Fine Arts Gallery University of Maryland

It’s a bold move to follow an internationally recognized exhibition that occurs every other year in New York with one that travels primarily to regional cities. “Ciphers of Identity,” curated by Maurice Berger, is an afterimage of the Whitney Biennial’s boisterous multiculti fest, and therein lies its strength. Instead of creating display density, Berger resists the impulse to build Babylon and steers toward a more harmonious environment in which works of art speak about the conflicts and ambiguities of the self as a social construction. Within this setting, the anxiety of political correctness is subdued and the opportunity emerges to consider the effectiveness of symbolic representation, not simply to articulate difference, but to “make” a difference.

Twenty artists, each working within the margins of cultural disenfranchisement, point fingers at the viewer as perpetrator, or elegize the

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