José Ortiz-Pagan , Umbral - site-specific installation at Berman Museum

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.

As the Berman Museum’s 2023 Interdisciplinary 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.

José Ortiz-Pagán: Umbral (February 9 through December 2023)

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, the artist 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. During the research phase, the artist and students will collaboratively examine guiding questions regarding Puerto Rico’s political and environmental climates and the power of art as a catalyst for healing and transformation.  

José Ortiz-Pagan holds an MFA in Printmaking from the Tyler School of Art and Architecture and a BA in Printmaking from the University of Puerto Rico. He currently works as a Lead Artist with Taller Puertorriqueño in Philadelphia, PA.