Milton Avery: Inner Harbor, 1945
Sep 01, 2010 - Jan 11, 2011
Voorhees Gallery

Water is essential to life on earth; it is at the core of human civilization and also provides meaning for some of our most potent metaphors; we imagine time as the flow of water, history as the course of a river, power as the downward rush of a waterfall or the crash of a tsunami. We find pleasure in listening to the ocean waves or a babbling brook, feel joy in the relief of cool water on hot, dry skin, and recognize beauty in the stillness of a lake in a verdant landscape. With such capacity for imagining time, pleasure, and aesthetic delight, it is not surprising that water has been the subject of poetry, music, dance, and the visual arts across geographies, cultures, and history. 

The exhibition on view at the Zimmerli is a broad survey of the subject of water across historical time and geographical space. Drawn from the Zimmerli’s 60,000-object collection with particular strengths in Russian and Soviet Nonconformist art, nineteenth-century French art, as well as works on paper, including drawing, prints, photographs, and original illustration for children’s books, the exhibition also includes important loans from public and private collections. An interdisciplinary cell phone audio tour features a variety of voices from various scholarly departments at Rutgers. Reflecting the university’s educational aims, Water aspires to introduce both campus and community audiences to the diversity of the Zimmerli’s collection and the range of intellectual inquiry and research at Rutgers.

Water includes prints by Vija Celmins, Honoré Daumier, Paul Gauguin, Hiroshige, and James Abbott McNeill Whistler; paintings by Albert Bierstadt, John F. Kensett, Johan Barthold Jongkind, and Nikolai Dubovskoi; and photographs by Sally Gall, Edward Steichen, and Francesco Infante (among others). Contemporary artists Lynn Davis, Hans Haacke, Geoffrey Hendricks, Maya Lin, Wangechi Mutu, and Bill Viola are also represented.  

The exhibition is organized by Donna Gustafson, Mellon Liaison for Academic Programs and Curator at the Zimmerli. Assistance was provided by Gail Aaron, former Assistant Curator of Original Children’s Book Illustration; Christine Giviskos, Associate Curator of European Art; Beth McKeown, Interim Assistant Curator, Morse Research Center for Graphic Arts; Robin Radway, Graduate Student in Art History; Anne Riculli, Intern; Marilyn Symmes, Director of the Morse Research Center for Graphic Arts and Curator of Prints and Drawings; Julia Tulovsky, Assistant Curator of Russian and Soviet Art; and Jeffrey Wechsler, Senior Curator, Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers. 


Milton Avery

Inner Harbor, 1945

Oil on canvas

© 2010 Milton Avery Trust / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Collection Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers

Gift of Roy R. Neuberger