“Keeping Her Name Alive” is the name of a compelling group exhibition that opened Sept. 30 and will continue through Oct. 29 at Allens Lane Art Center.
“Keeping Her Name Alive” is the name of a compelling group exhibition that opened Sept. 30 and will continue through Oct. 29 at Allens Lane Art Center, 601 W. Allens Lane in West Mt. Airy to inaugurate the Rebeccah Milena Maia Blum Emerging Curatorial Fellowship, a program of the Art Center.
The fellowship celebrates the life and memory of Rebeccah Milena Maia Blum, a passionate fine arts curator, gallerist, writer and publicist in the international art scene who was killed in a horrific act of violence at the age of 53. Her killer, British artist Saul Fletcher, committed suicide that same day.
The exhibition is curated by Kit Schulte, art project manager and curator, content developer and Blum’s former partner. Together they founded and directed the art and science platform and exhibition space Satellite Berlin.
Participating in the group show at Allens Lane Art Center are many well-known artists, including Angelika Arendt, Tom Chamberlain, Steve DiBenedetto, Nico Glaenzel, Bjørn Hegardt, Michael Kutschbach, Alexander Ross and Jorinde Voigt. They all knew Blum and donated works to help launch the fellowship in her memory.
“Rebeccah's generosity and conviction have been immeasurably supportive, and her friendship thrilling,” artist Tom Chamberlain said.
New York gallerist David Nolan is supporting the fellowship initiative by donating two works by deceased California artist Barry Le Va.
Schulte told us in an interview that Blum, who was fluent in both German and English, was also a great writer and editor.
“She cultivated a great passion for text, whether poetry or marketing,” Schulte said. “Art, however, was her focus, and her main concern was always the well-being of the artists, many of whom she served with great dedication, kindness and responsibility. Rebeccah was concerned with sparking the general dialogue of art and culture in a meaningful way ... She was a sincere listener, diplomatic, responsible and reliable, always fully there.”
While Blum spent her adult life in Berlin, Germany, she grew up in Mt. Airy, where she spent many summers at the Allens Lane Art Center Day Camp, and her family is still here. She attended the Houston Elementary School until fifth grade, when she was accepted into the Masterman School in the city's Spring Garden section.
Blum was born in 1967 to Susan Bockius, an author, and Mark Blum, a professor. She studied art history in Washington, D.C., before arriving in Germany in the early 1990s, where she spent years practicing her art in Düsseldorf, then the beating heart of the German art scene, before relocating to the still-fledgling arts hub of Berlin.
Bockius, a Mt. Airy native who moved back here in 2000 after living elsewhere for many years, said she feels “deeply grateful” for both the show and the fellowship.
“The directors, especially Nancy Sophy and Vita Litvak, have been creative and empathetic in their approaches to applying the memorial funds to Allens Lane's exhibitions, which is the area of Allens Lane's activities closest to my daughter's professional interests and skills,” Bockius said. “The curatorial fellowship is especially brilliant. I am a thankful neighbor.”
Litvak said Blum’s stature in the art world made establishing a fellowship in her memory an obvious choice. The annual fellowship will support emerging local curators by providing a platform to showcase or exercise their research and curatorial work.
“Rebeccah Blum was a notable inspiration in the international art scene,” Litvak said, and her untimely demise “left a gap, and prompted many to commemorate her.”
Selected fellows will receive a $1,500 stipend to help support the curatorial research and work of preparing an exhibition, and mentorship from an established curator. They will also have the opportunity to organize a group, two-person or solo exhibition, which will then be showcased at the Allens Lane Art Center Alber Gallery.
The art center has already announced the 2024 and 2025 RMMB Fellows, Sabriaya Shipley and Martha Knox. The first RMMB Fellowship Exhibition is planned to open on Jan. 12, 2024, at Allens Lane Art Center, Alber Gallery.
For more information, visit allenslane.org. Len Lear can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org