Cheryl Harper holds a MA in art history from Temple University and a MFA in printmaking from the University of Delaware. Harper completed the two-year Museology program at the University of Illinois, encompassing all areas of museum study including registration methods, grant writing, exhibit planning, and .
Hired as an independent curator for The Borowsky Gallery at The Gershman Y in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1996, Harper became staff curator in 1998 and grew the mission of the gallery from regional shows to major presentations of national and international art. She also initiated a photography space, The Open Lens, as a second gallery at the Y. Harper left the Galleries at the Gershman Y after the 2003-4 season, and since 2005, has presented independent projects. Highlights of her projects include “Underground Nights,” “Compulsive Narratives: Stories That Must Be Told,”Catageneis,” and “A Happening Place.”
December 2020 —
Holocaust Awareness Museum and Education Center temporary exhibition Philadelphia. Harper reinstalled the collection as part of a longer term goal for a permanent installation. The collection, together with a new online presence, serves to educate schools and organizations around the world. This museum is one of the earliest dedicated to holocaust education and its survivors and now second generation speakers reach thousands of students annually through its docent guided tours and interactive website. https://hamec.org/
January 21 – April 16, 2020
Seamless: Craft-based Objects and Performance Practices at Rutgers Camden Center for the Arts Stedman Gallery. Harper invited three national artists, Angela Ellsworth (Arizona), Stephanie J. Williams (D.C), and Caleb Weintraub (Bloomington, IN) to install unique installations, video, objects, and performances. Printed 28-page catalog. Review by Shen Shellenberger. https://jerseyartsfeatures.com/content/2020/1/30/seamless-works-of-art-at-rutgers-camden-center-for-the-artsnbspstedman-gallery
December 1, 2016- January 4, 2017
Underground Nights: When Warhol’s Exploding Plastic Inevitable Met the Y Harper discovered a cache of unknown and rarely seen prints taken of Warhol and the Velvet Underground in December 1966. The exhibition included ephemera related to Warhol and his house band as well as screen tests and a film of the Velvets at the (silver) factory. Venue was the Gershman Y in Philadelphia, the same location of the program of films and the subsequent discotheque in December 1966. Feature by Ray Simon, Philadelphia Gay News and feature by Dan DeLuca, Philadelphia Inquirer.
July 12-August 9, 2014
Home: Human = Cage: Cockatoo A group show about the confines of home and hearth. Part of greater Baltimore ARTScape at Towson University Art Gallery, Towson Maryland. Avi Gupta, Ben Marcin, Marybeth Muscara, David Page, Margaret Rogers, and Katherine Sifers. Review and photo essay in Bmore Art
January 16-April 26, 2014
Compulsive Narratives: Stories that MUST be Told, Art as confession and inspired by the graphic novel. Rutgers University Camden Stedman Gallery. Curated by Cheryl Harper in collaboration with Rutgers Center for the Arts Director Cyril Reade and Stedman Gallery Associate Director Nancy Maguire. Artists: Marcus Benavides, Derf Backderf, Julie Doucet, Ellen Forney, Justin Green, Sandy Jimenez, Peter Kuper, Mark Newport, Hiro Sakaguchi, Gilad Seliktar, Arpita Singh, David Small, Melissa Stern, Lance Tooks, Carol Tyler. Contact Cheryl Harper for catalog. Review by Edith Newhall, Philadelphia Inquirer and reviews by Roberta Fallon for the Daily News and Artblog, For more information see: rcca.camden.rutgers.edu
September 9-October 21, 2012
Catagenesis at Globe Dye Works, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. sponsored by Philadelpha Sculptors with Cheryl Harper and Leslie Kaufman as project co-directors. Cheryl Harper as curator. Tom Moran, Donald Lipski, co-jurors with Harper.17 artists produced 15 site-specific installations at a 125 year-old textile dye works. Artists (invited): Reece Terris; Nivi Alroy; Carolyn Healy and John Phillips; Scott Pellnat; Gandalf Gavan, (juried): Pam Bowman; Joseph Leroux; Christine Altman; Elizabeth Mackie; Ryan Mandell; Timothy McMurray and Jacqueline Weaver; Michaeli Morgan; David Meyer; Damian Yanessa; David Page. Catalog online. Review by Edith Newhall, Philadelphia Inquirer and review by Fred Adelson, Courier Post. For more information see: www.philasculptors.org/catagenesis/home.htm
December 14, 2010-January 25, 2011
Inside and Outside the Clamshell Box: Diary of a Print Portfolio. Delaware County Community College, Media, Pennsylvania. Artists who participated in Mark/Remarque, a 20″ x 16″ print portfolio, also showed a traditional work of any scale or medium. Reviewed by Victoria Donohoe, Philadelphia Inquirer: “Building on the Box” January 19, 2011.
January 21-February 19, 2010
AC/DC/PC: Mid-Atlantic Ceramic Sculpture from the District of Columbia to Philadelphia County and Beyond. Delaware County Community College, Media, Pennsylvania. Artists: Margaret Boozer; Ruth Borgenicht; Syd Carpenter; Rachelle Ellis; Lindsay Feuer; Carla Lombari, Laurel Lukaszewski; Sumi Maeshima; Luara Jean McLuaghlin; don Nakamura; Dale Shuffler; Novie Trump: Etta Wingrad. Reviewed by Victoria Donahoe, Philadelphia Inquirer.
October 3-November 15, 2008
Global Warming at the Icebox, Crane Arts Building, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; sponsored by Philadelphia Sculptors with Cheryl Harper and Leslie Kaufman as project co-directors. Cheryl Harper was guest curator. Five invited and ten juried artists installed works that ranged from humorous presentations to serious approaches to problem solving the subject of global warming. The international artists were from Germany, Taiwan, Quebec, Toronto, Israel, and Ireland. American artists represented New Orleans, West Virginia, Puerto Rico, and Tennessee, and as close as Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York City. Philadelphia Museum of Art Assistant Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Adelina Vlas worked with Harper to select the juried artists. Reviewed by Edith Newhall in the Philadelphia Inquirer on October 19, 2008 and Sculpture Magazine September, 2009. Catalog. For more details and catalog visit Philadelphia Sculptors.
November 3-December 22, 2006
Projects Gallery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Henry Bermudez: Fragmented Dream, Cheryl Harper, Guest Curator. This new body of work incorporated intricately cut painted canvas, creating lacelike biomorphic mythological forms that were mounted on Pointillistic backgrounds or presented as traceries against a gallery wall. A Venezuelan painter, Bermudez represented his country at the Venice Biennale in 1986. A restless itinerant traveler, his latest residency was in Philadelphia. Reviewed by Edith Newhall in the Philadelphia Inquirer on November 24, 2006, among others.
September 1-October 29, 2006
Projects Gallery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Caleb Weintraub…with the bathwater, Cheryl Harper, Guest Curator. An emerging painter, Weintraub’s show consisted of collage paintings of insolent babies and menacing toddlers. He incorporated craft materials such as fake fur and sequins in his mixed media paintings. Reviews and features included “Worlds Within Worlds” by Leslie Kaufman for Inside Magazine (Winter, 2006), Art Knowledge News, and Philadelphia Weekly, “Heat and Why it Matters “by Roberta Fallon (9/27/06).
May 2-August 15, 2004
Borowsky Gallery at The Gershman Y in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Subtle Nothings: Extraordinary Nuance in Multi-Media Works curated by Cheryl Harper, part of The Big Nothing, a city-wide project organized by the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia. The show included the work of Meredith Monk, Liz Phillips, Ray Rapp, Antenna, Andy Holtin, David McQueen, and Chris Vecchio. Reviewed by Libby Rosof.
December 10, 2003-February 10, 2004
Borowsky Gallery at the Gershman Y in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Curated by Cheryl Harper. Two videos, a small world by American artists Sanford Biggers and Jennifer Zackin and I Clean Richard’s House and He Cleans Mine by Israeli artist Doron Solomons, challenged perceptions of racial differences. A small world was a reinstallation of the project by Biggers and Zackin at the previous The Whitney Biennial. Reviewed by Roberta Fallon, on December 10, “Double Take” in Philadadelphia Weekly.
February 15-April 15, 2004
Borowsky Gallery at The Gershman Y, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Meditation/Meditation an installation by Daniel Rothbart, a globe-trotting artist who placed prayer bowls in unusual settings begging not for alms but for interaction with the objects.
April 28-June 30, 2003
Galleries at the Gershman Y, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. A Happening Place, funded by the Philadelphia Exhibitions Initiative, a grant program administered by The Pew Charitable Trusts. This project documented groundbreaking exhibitions at the Gershman Y in the 1960s including the second Pop Art show in the United States in 1962. Among artists in the exhibition: Robert Arneson, Robert Breer, Christo, Dean Fleming, Geoffrey Hendricks, Roy Lichenstein, Claes Oldenburg, Ed Ruscha, Lucas Samaras, Robert Watts, and William T. Wiley. A full color catalog with essays and checkists of historic exhibitions of the 1960s and early 1970s accompanied the project. Contact Cheryl Harper for catalog. Numerous reviews and a feature article by Rita Reif in The New York Times.
October 1 – November 24, 2002
Galleries at The Gershman Y, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Projects included a show investigating the influence of children and childhood on the work of Art Speigelman in Not Just for Grown-ups Anymore, co-curated with Natalia Indrimi. See link for details and installation photos. Review by Sam Adams “All Ages Art” in City Paper on October 3, 2002.
Another highlight was Perspectives in Portraiture, featuring the photography of Rita Bernstein, Larry Fink, Judy Gelles, and Michael A. Smith. Reviewed by Edward Sozanski of the Philadelphia Inquirer on Friday, March 7, 2003.
May 10-July, 2002
The Borowsky Gallery at the Gershman Y. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Six regional artists allowed their work to be touched in Not For Your Eyes Only, expanding the horizons of audience for the artists and enriching the experience of art for visually impaired audiences. A CD audio tour and Braille catalog were available for visitors. Feature with photos by Tom Gralish for the Philadelphia Inquirer on Tuesday, May 14, 2002.
January 1-March 5, 2002
A multi-site exhibition of contemporary Israeli art titled LandEscapes . It included four solo exhibitions at three Philadelphia institutions: Drexel University, Moore College of Art, and The Gershman Y. The project was co-curated by Cheryl Harper and Israeli independent curator Tami Katz-Freiman. Reviewed by Edward J. Sozanski for the Philadelphia Inquirer on February 1, 2002 and January 25, 2002.
March 15-May 10, 2001
Galleries at The Gershman Y, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The first of a series of exhibitions of Israeli contemporary art featured at the Gershman Y was supported by the New York and Jerusalem Israeli cultural ministries; the project led to contacts with Israel’s most innovative artists and curators. The first Israeli exhibitions curated by Cheryl Harper were Nir Hod’s Heroes’ Tears and Orit Raff’s Behind Closed Doors. Featured review by Edward J. Sozanski in the Philadelphia Inquirer on April 13, 2001.
1998 to Fall of 2000
In the Fall of 2000, Harper became staff curator at The Gershman Y. Other critically recognized shows at the galleries have included Vincent Feldman’s City Abandoned; The Figure as Vessel; and Invented Landscapes: Ideal and Imagined. Reviews by Edward J. Sozanski of the Philadelphia Inquirer on February 16, 2001, Roberta Fallon of the Philadelphia Weekly on January 31, 2001.
In 1999, under Harper’s initiative, the entrance lobby of the Gershman Y was transformed into a gallery devoted to photography. Exhibitions in the inaugural season of The Open Lens Gallery included Kabbalah in Black and White: The Photography of Leonard Nimoy and Charmaine Caire’s Plastic Genome Project.
In 1998, Harper was appointed Curator of The Borowsky Gallery. Exhibitions included:
Small Worlds, Bigger than Life: An Exhibition Where Size Matters (1998) Review by Robin Rice in Philadelphia City Paper in February 26-March 4, 1999 issue.
Variations on an Inspiration: Neoclassicism Revisited (1998) Review by Edward J. Sozanski of the Philadelphia Inquirer on October 9, 1998.
The Banquet: In Celebration of Outrageous Appetites (1999) Reviews: Edward J. Sozanski, Philadelphia Inquirer, January 28, 2000; Robin Rice, Philadelphia City Paper, February 10-February 17, 2000, among others.
The Art of Hirschfeld (1999) Featured article in Philadelphia Inquirer by Thomas J. Brady on May 3, 1999.
The Shadows of Shoah (2000)
Earlier exhibitions Harper curated for the Y included The Nature of Form, TimeLine, and Sacred Spaces.