“Striking Resemblance” Symposium Invites Public to Explore Portraiture from Different Perspectives

January 15, 2014

“Striking Resemblance” Symposium Invites Public to Explore Portraiture

from Different Perspectives at Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers

New Brunswick, NJ – The Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers is pleased to announce the schedule for the symposium “Striking Resemblance: The Changing Art of Portraiture,” in conjunction with its major exhibition of the same name, on Friday and Saturday, March 7 and 8, 2014. Dr. Robert L. Barchi, the 20th President of Rutgers University and a distinguished neuroscientist and academic innovator, opens the symposium on Friday evening and introduces his longstanding colleague, Dr. Eric R. Kandel as the keynote speaker. A Nobel Laureate and Professor of Brain Science at Columbia University, Dr. Kandel discusses the convergence of the worlds of art, science, and medicine in turn-of-the-20th-century Vienna and how it led to new understandings of the workings of the human mind – in particular, how the brain relates to art. Admission is free to the Rutgers University community and the general public, but registration is required by February 27. The dialogue continues on Saturday, with eight scholars and artists examining the functions and presence of portraits in history. Advance registration of $25 (includes boxed lunch and refreshments) by February 27 is required for the daylong events on Saturday. Both programs are open to the public; individuals may attend either or both days. Visit www.zimmerlimuseum.rutgers.edu for registration details and updates.

“This symposium offers an interdisciplinary approach to the changing role of portraiture from 1800 to the present and reflects the Zimmerli’s role as a teaching museum and incubator of new ways of thinking and seeing,” explains Suzanne Delehanty, the Zimmerli’s director. “Dr. Kandel’s engaging exploration into the intersection of art and science is particularly relevant to all of us at Rutgers today with the university’s far-reaching expansion into to the health sciences and its broadened commitment to education, research, and public service. The discussions at the Zimmerli promise to show how seemingly different topics connect and help us deepen our understanding of ourselves in the digital age.”


Dr. Kandel’s keynote address on Friday, March 7, at 6 p.m., opens the symposium planned around the major exhibition “Striking Resemblance: The Changing Art of Portraiture.” His talk reflects findings in his book “The Age of Insight: The Quest to Understand the Unconscious in Art, Mind and Brain from Vienna 1900 to the Present.” This 2012 publication examines how the worlds of art, science, and medicine converged in fashionable salons in turn-of-the-20th-century Vienna. Influential figures exchanged ideas and those encounters led to new understandings of how the human mind works; in particular, how the brain relates to art. These advances in psychology, brain science, literature, and art remain part of the conversation today. In 2000, Dr. Kandel shared the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine with two other recipients. At Columbia University, he is a University Professor and Kavli Professor of Brain Science, as well as Director of The Kavli Institute for Brain Science. The keynote speech takes place in Voorhees Hall, adjacent to the Zimmerli, and the museum remains open from 4:30 to 8 p.m. for guests to visit the exhibition and attend a reception to meet other attendees. The keynote event is free; however, seating is limited and advance registration is required by February 27. Complete information is available at www.zimmerlimuseum.rutgers.edu.


The symposium continues on Saturday, March 8, at the Zimmerli. Eight scholars and artists explore the changing definitions and fortunes of the portrait from 1800 to the present, and the ways that we present and see ourselves. Registration and continental breakfast begin at 9 a.m. The discussions take place from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. (with a break for lunch), followed by a reception until 4:30 p.m. Advance registration of $25 (includes breakfast, lunch, and refreshments) is required before February 27. Visit www.zimmerlimuseum.rutgers.edu for complete details.

Scholars and artists invited to present during Saturday’s program include:

  • Carol Armstrong, Yale University: Professor of History of Art, specializing in 19th-century French painting, history of photography, history and practice of art criticism, feminist theory, and representation of women and gender in art and visual culture;
  • Dora Ching, Princeton University: Associate Director of Tang Center for East Asian Art and specialist in Chinese Imperial portraiture;
  • Willie Cole: artist known for assembling and transforming ordinary domestic objects into imaginative and powerful works of art and installations;
  • James Delbourgo, Rutgers University: Associate Professor of History of Science and Atlantic World and Project Co-Director of Center for Historical Analysis;
  • Nicole Fleetwood, Rutgers University: Associate Professor of American Studies, specializing in visual culture and media studies, black cultural studies, gender theory, and culture and technology studies;
  • Louis Kaplan, University of Toronto: Professor of History and Theory of Photography and New Media, and Chair of Department of Visual Studies;
  • Larry Silver, University of Pennsylvania: Farquhar Professor of Art History, specializing in painting and graphics of Northern Europe, particularly Germany and the Netherlands, during the era of Renaissance and Reformation; and
  • Martha Wilson: artist and gallery director who creates innovative photographic and video works that explore her female subjectivity.

This symposium is generously funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Bruce Horten, and the Office of the Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs’ Mason Gross Lecture Series Fund. Additional support comes from the Center for Cultural Analysis, the School of Arts and Sciences, and the Department of Art History.


The exhibition and symposium are part of an ambitious, multi-dimensional collaboration made possible by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Exhibition organizers Donna Gustafson, the Zimmerli’s Andrew W. Mellon Liaison for Academic Programs and Curator, and Susan Sidlauskas, Professor and Graduate Director in the Department of Art History at Rutgers, began working on the project in 2011 and co-taught a graduate exhibition seminar, which included a colloquium in 2012, for 13 students. In early 2013, with contributions from these graduate students, the Zimmerli launched its first online publication, “Not About Face: Identity and Appearance, Past and Present.”

The development of the exhibition benefited from the expertise of the Zimmerli’s Christine Giviskos, Associate Curator of European Art; Marilyn Symmes, Director of Morse Research Center for Graphic Arts and Curator of Prints and Drawings; and Julia Tulovsky, Associate Curator for Russian and Soviet Nonconformist Art. Additional planning support was provided by the students who participated in the graduate exhibition seminar: Corina L. Apostol, Sara Berkowitz, Kelsey Brosnan, Heather Cammarata-Seale, Boyoung Chang, Allison Cooper, Seraphina Ferraro, Natalie Fleming, Elvis Fuentes, Virginia Allison Harbin, Alexis Jason-Mathews, Stephen Mandravelis, and Josephine Rodgers.

Striking Resemblance: The Changing Art of Portraiture,” on view at the Zimmerli from January 25 through July 13, 2014, examines the genre as a historic tradition, as well as a continually evolving phenomenon. Including 130 works in a range of media by close to 80 artists from around the world, the exhibition is organized in sections devoted to the single, double, and group portrait. It presents a fundamentally new and exciting account of how people view themselves, their significant others, and their tribes. The Zimmerli’s rich holdings of American, European, Russian, and Soviet art give this exhibition a distinct character, while loans from public and private collections offer a global perspective. The diversity of subjects in age, ethnicity, gender, and class reflects the global village that we increasingly inhabit.

A 176-page, fully illustrated hardcover book “Striking Resemblance: The Changing Art of Portraiture” accompanies the exhibition. The single, double, and group portrait – from 1800 to the present – are the focus of the volume. Essays by Gustafson, Sidlauskas, and Lee Siegel, writer and cultural critic, provide thought-provoking and fascinating perspectives that appeal to readers interested in art history and social criticism, as well as psychology and social media. Co-published by the Zimmerli and DelMonico/Prestel, the book features more than 130 color images, many of which are included in the exhibition.


The exhibition seminar, ebook, book, and symposium are made possible by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The exhibition is supported by the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation; The Dorothy Dehner Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc.; and donors to the Zimmerli’s Annual Exhibition Fund:  Voorhees Family Endowment; Alvin and Joyce Glasgold; Keith E. McDermott, RC’ 66; Charles and Caryl Sills; the Class of 1959; and the Jerome A. Yavitz Charitable Foundation, Inc.—Stephen Cypen, President.


The Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum houses more than 60,000 works of art, ranging from ancient to contemporary art. The permanent collection features particularly rich holdings in 19th-century French art; Russian art from icons to the avant-garde; Soviet nonconformist art from the Dodge Collection; and American art with notable holdings of prints. In addition, small groups of antiquities, old master paintings, as well as art inspired by Japan and original illustrations for children’s books, provide representative examples of the museum’s research and teaching message at Rutgers. Founded in 1966 to serve the campus and community, the Zimmerli is now one of the nation’s largest and most distinguished university-based art museums, located in a 70,000-square-foot building on the New Brunswick campus of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. Established in 1766, Rutgers is America’s eighth oldest institution of higher learning and a premier public research university.


The Zimmerli’s operations, exhibitions, and programs are funded in part by Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, and income from the Avenir Foundation Endowment, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Endowment, and the Voorhees Family Endowment, among others. Additional support comes from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts; the Estate of Victoria J. Mastrobuono; and donors, members, and friends of the museum.


The Zimmerli Art Museum is located at 71 Hamilton Street at George Street on the College Avenue campus of Rutgers University in New Brunswick. The Zimmerli is a short walk from the NJ Transit train station in New Brunswick, midway between New York City and Philadelphia.


Hours are Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m., and the first Wednesday of each month (except August), 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. The museum is closed Mondays, major holidays, and the month of August.

Z Café featuring the Food Architects is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with a variety of breakfast, lunch, and snack items.


Admission is $6 for adults; $5 for 65 and over; and free for museum members, children under 18, and Rutgers students, faculty, and staff (with ID). Admission is free on the first Sunday of every month. For more information, call 848.932.7237 or visit the museum’s website: www.zimmerlimuseum.rutgers.edu


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