BergmannMerredith_about

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For over 40 years, Meredith Bergmann has been making sculpture that deals with complex themes in an accessible, beautiful, and provocative way. Working within the tradition of narrative sculpture, she draws on her love of the history of art, literature, and mythology to make the past speak to the present. Blending the sensuality and power of representational sculpture with her own subtle sense of mischief, her work evokes multilayered responses.

She works both on public monuments and on a private scale, exploring issues of history, social justice, race, human rights, disabilities, and the power of poetry and music. Her work has been shown in more than two dozen exhibitions and appears in 10 institutional collections. Her largest public commission, unveiled in 2003, was for the Boston Women’s Memorial on Commonwealth Avenue in Boston’s Back Bay.  Her FDR Hope Memorial for New York City’s Roosevelt Island will be unveiled this year, and she is working with a Columbia University Faculty Seminar on Memory and Slavery on a slavery memorial for NYC.   

She has over 20 years’ experience dealing with the committees, budgets, and agencies involved in realizing public monuments, and works to make sure that each interaction improves the finished monument.

Bergmann’s articles, essays, reviews, and poems have appeared in many journals, and has worked as Production Designer for five feature films. Her work in a variety of genres has helped her focus on the essence of public art: what will be most nourishing and challenging for visitors to see and think about? How can the work inspire change?

Meredith lives in Connecticut with her husband Michael Bergmann, a writer and director, and their son.

Artist’s Statement

I work for social justice and historical redress through my public art. My commissions include an 8’ tall statue of Civil Rights icon and renowned opera singer Marian Anderson for a college in South Carolina, a heroic-scale portrait of the enslaved child Sally Maria Diggs (“Pinky,” in 1860) for the Brooklyn Historical Society, an allegorical female September 11th Memorial for the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, a memorial to the Harlem Renaissance poet Countee Cullen that addresses identity and race, and the nearly-completed FDR Hope Memorial for Roosevelt Island in a setting designed for use by people of all abilities.

I immerse myself in the world of my subjects, their histories, their individual sense of mission, and imagine what that all can mean to us and to the future. This has made me a powerful advocate for these projects in fundraising, gaining approvals, and being able to redesign elements as needed without losing the coherence of the original design. I’ve been able to retain and deepen my enthusiasm for my subjects even when a project stretches over years.

It gives me great satisfaction knowing that my sculptures make a difference in people’s lives. Bostonians leave notes on the Boston Women’s Memorial and put sweaters on Phillis Wheatley when it gets cold. One of my son’s teachers found out that I had made the Memorial to Countee Cullen, installed in the Countee Cullen Branch of the NY Public Library, and exclaimed, “You made this? I saw this on a school trip when I was twelve– I realized for the first time that race is a social construct.” This young woman is now working in social neuroscience.

SELECTED COMMISSIONS:

Finalist: Central Park Women’s Suffrage Monument, NYC 2018

FDR Hope Memorial, Roosevelt Island, NYC 2018

September 11th Memorial, Cathedral of St. John the Divine, NY 2012

Labor in Massachusetts: Edward Cohen Plaque, State House, Boston, MA 2009

Rosa Parks, Architect of the U.S. Capitol 2009

Marian Anderson, Converse College, Spartanburg, SC 2006

Boston Women’s Memorial, Commonwealth Ave., Boston, MA 2003

Alma Mater, Alabama Inst. for Deaf & Blind, Talladega, AL 1997

Memorial to Countee Cullen, Bronx Council on the Arts 1995

Sister City Commemorative Bas-reliefs: Montclair, NJ and Barnet, UK 1993

Growing Up, Outdoor Installation for Westside YMCA, NYC 1992

Finalist: Harriet Tubman Memorial for Harlem, NYC

Finalist: Queens Korean Veterans Memorial, Kissena Park, NYC

Finalist: University of Mississippi Civil Rights Memorial

Finalist, New York City Percent for Art projects: Walton Ave. Firehouse; Williamsburg Day Care Center; ACS Foster Child Care Center, Staten Island Fire/EMS Station, Far Rockaway Fire/EMS Station.

Finalist: Virginia Center for the Performing Arts, Richmond, VA

Finalist: Florida Art in State Buildings/Dept. of Transportation, Bartow, FL

Finalist: Dallas Area Rapid Transit, Morrell Station

SELECTED EXHIBITIONS: (* solo shows)

2017   National Sculpture Society 84th Annual, Brookgreen Gardens, SC

2016   The Christa Project, Cathedral of St. John the Divine, NY

2011    Migrations, Proteus Gowanus, Brooklyn, NY

          September 11th*, Cathedral of St. John the Divine, NY

2010    Artist and Artifact, Brooklyn Historical Society, NY

          The Great Nude Invitational, NYC

2007    Common Ground, Westchester Community College, NY

2006    Marian Anderson*, Franklin Institute, Philadelphia, PA

2003    Making Monuments & Murals, Boston Public Library, Boston, MA

2002    Reactions, Exit Art, NYC

           Celebration of the Spirit, Lake View Cemetery, Cleveland, OH

2001    Just the Thing, DeCordova Museum, Lincoln, MA

1999    Just the Thing, Woodson Art Museum, Wausau, WI

1998    Mouse: An American Icon, Alternative Museum, NYC

1996    Biography Memorials, Woodlawn Cemetery, Bronx NY

1993    Surprise!, Elaine Benson Gallery, Bridgehampton, NY

1992    Growing Up*, West Side YMCA, NYC

1991    Daphne Reconsidered*, Asser Levy Center, NYC

1989    The Little Soldier*, sculpture installation, Brooklyn, NY

           Noah’s Art, Central Park, NYC

1983    Terminal New York, Brooklyn Army Terminal, NY

1982    Traffic Frieze*,10 on 8, NYC

1979    New Work*, Center For the Arts, Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT

 

CORPORATE AND INSTITUTIONAL COLLECTIONS:

Abington Friends School

Benco Dental Supply Inc.

Brooklyn Historical Society

Cathedral of St. John the Divine

Columbia University

City of Boston, Massachusetts

Converse College

Goldring International Group

Massachusetts State House

McGraw Hill

New York Public Library

Tampa Children’s Medical Services

The United States Capitol

SELECTED PRIVATE COLLECTIONS:

Ardythe Ashley, NYC; Shimon Dotan, NYC; Laura Gang & Steven Gag, MA; Ruth Bader Ginsburg, DC; Jennifer Gallagher Lansdale, MD; Ellen Hymowitz & Charles Maltz, NYC; Otto Kernberg, NYC; Val Kilmer, NYC; Judith Young Mallin, NYC; Bruna Nardelli, Italy; Lisa Nesselson, France; William Orbe, NYC; Michael Peich, PA; Preston Phillips, NY; Jeffrey Scheuer, NYC; Mark Schwartz, PA; Joseph Simo, NYC; Regina Skyer, NYC; Michael Sivy, NYC; John Bigelow Taylor, NYC; Catherine Tufariello, IN; Sujata Gupta & Richard Winfield, GA; Sara Winkler & Simon Leopold, NYC; Deborah Zabarenko, MD

AWARDS:

2017 Proskauer Prize, National Sculpture Society

2008    Brooklyn Historical Society Residency

2003    Grand Circle Foundation for Boston Women’s Memorial

2002    Edward Ingersoll Browne Fund for Boston Women’s Memorial

2001    Barbara Lee Family Foundation for Boston Women’s Memorial

1997    Fellowship for Sculpture, New York Foundation for the Arts

1983    Fellowship for Sculpture, New Jersey State Council On the Arts

1982    Project Grant, New York State Council On the Arts

1977    The Eliot Lash Award for Sculpture, The Cooper Union

EDUCATION:

1978-1980       Art Students League: Robert Beverly Hale, Sidney Simon

1978                Palla Marble Atelier, Pietrasanta, Italy

1975–1977      The Cooper Union, NYC (B.F.A.)

1974–1975      Parsons School of Design, NYC

1972–1974      Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT

LECTURES, PANELS, INTERVIEWS:

Boston Architectural College, Bostonian Society, Brooklyn Historical Society, Collegiate School, Columbia University, Converse College, Dahesh Museum, D.A.R. NYC Regents Roundtable, Ford Hall Forum, The Franklin Institute, New York Public Library, Questar Library, WalkBoston, West Chester University Poetry Conference, WGBH, Writing the Rockies Conference

SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY:

Kuspit, Donald, “Public Memory & Social Conscience: Meredith Bergmann’s Sculpture, Feminist & Otherwise”
American Arts Quarterly Summer 2012

Trippi, Peter, “A Busy Season Ahead for Sculpture” Fine Arts Connoisseur 10/12

Lin, Christine, “Beauty and Irony in Sculpture” Epoch Times 9/19/12

Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 11/17/10: “Bringing New Eyes to Brooklyn’s Past”

ARTIST & ARTIFACT catalog, November 2010, Brooklyn Historical Society

Wesleyan Magazine, 1/2010: “Bergmann’s Bas-Relief Adorns Massachusetts State House”

Dupré, Judith, Monuments: America’s History in Art & Memory Random House 2007

THE OUTDOOR GALLERY: 40 Years of Public Art in NYC Parks, Sept. 2007

Leggio, Gail, “Re-energizing Public Sculpture” American Arts Quarterly Winter 07

Grossman, Wendy, “Computers Transform the Cutting Edge of Sculpture”
The London Guardian, 12/7/06

Fine Arts Connoisseur, Nov/Dec 2006

Philadelphia Tribune, 9/5/06: “Gold Voice Honored in Bronze”

American Arts Quarterly, Summer 2005: “The Boston Women’s Memorial”

At Cooper Union, Winter 03/04: “Making A Metaphor Concrete”

The Boston Globe, 10/26/03: “Women Pioneers Take a Bow”

Capasso, Nick “Remember The Ladies: New Women’s Memorials in Boston & Contemporary Commemorative Public Art”
Sculpture Magazine, June 2000

JUST THE THING catalog, June 1998: essay, DeCordova Museum

American Arts Quarterly, Fall 1997: “An Alma Mater for the Helen Keller School”

NYTimes, 9/3/95: “Exhibition Draws Spotlight to Woodlawn‘s Famous”

The Newark Star Ledger, 10/8/93: “Sculptor links Montclair and sister city”

The Montclair Times, 9/30/93: “Bergmann Chosen to Create Barnet Sister City Sculptures”

Holmes, Nigel, Pictorial Maps Watson-Guptil 1991: photos of two sculptures

The New York Times, 9/25/89: editorial on “Noah’s Art” show with photo

NOAH’S ART catalog, September 1989, NYC Parks Department

 

by Meredith Bergmann:

“The Passions of Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux,” American Arts Quarterly, Summer 2016

“David D’Angers & the Making of the Modern Monument,” American Arts Quarterly, Spring 2014

“Greek History Inspires Feminist Art,” Athens News, Aug. 17, 2007

“Facing the Other: Charles Cordier,” Sculpture Review, Winter 2005

Jonathan Shahn: Thoughts On His Work, 2002 catalog essay

“The Arm and the Wing,” essay on Charles Wells, Tri Quarterly Review, Feb. 1995

The New York Review of Art, gallery reviews, 1994-1995