Free Public Programs Address Art and Activism with Former Guerrilla Girls, Examine 1970s Documentary Photography

February 1, 2017


Zimmerli Offers Free Public Programs that Address Art and Activism with Former Guerrilla Girls,

Examine 1970s Documentary Photography


New Brunswick, NJ – The Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers presents two new programs that are free and open to the public: “Artists and Activism: A View from Behind the Gorilla Mask” on February 27 and “Reinventing Documentary Photography in the 1970s” on March 23 and 24. “Artists and Activism” welcomes two former members of the original Guerrilla Girls, a group of anonymous artists that formed in 1985 to expose inequality within the art world, who discuss their experiences carrying out that mission. The interdisciplinary symposium “Reinventing Documentary Photography” brings together a panel of art historians, curators, and artists to examine the standard narratives around the reemergence of documentary photography during the tumultuous decade of the 1970s. Both programs are free and open to the public; registration is required for the symposium. For more details, please visit


Artists and Activism: A View from Behind the Gorilla Mask,” beginning at 7 p.m. Monday, February 27, features two guest speakers who discuss their experiences with the Guerrilla Girls, artwork that has been inspired by the group’s mission, and the ongoing efforts of artists to bring attention to the inequality that persists in the art world, often reflecting the attitudes and trends of society at large. The event coincides with the Zimmerli’s new exhibition Guerrilla (And Other) Girls: Art/Activism/Attitude, which includes the group’s witty and incisive posters, on loan from the Rutgers University Libraries Special Collections and University Archives, as well as works by women artists who have been aligned with the group’s mission, drawn mostly from the Zimmerli’s collection. From the beginning, the group has used humor and statistics to draw attention to the minimal representation of women and artists of color (and the frequent objectification of women in art) in museums and galleries. Over the 30 years of their history, the group has addressed issues such as gender, income inequality in the arts and in business, and the importance of funding for women’s health. Members assume the names of historic women artists and wear gorilla masks in public to conceal their identities, focusing on the issues rather than individuals (a practice the speakers observe). Please note that the talk takes place in Voorhees Hall 105, adjacent to the Zimmerli. A public reception follows in the museum lobby.


Reinventing Documentary Photography in the 1970s” explores the multiple ways that documentary work was rethought and contested during the decade, in both critical discourse and artistic practice. The program opens Thursday, March 23, at 6 p.m., with keynote speaker Jorge Ribalta, who examined the topic in his recent exhibition Not Yet. On the Reinvention of Documentary and the Critique of Modernism at Madrid’s Museo Reina Sofia. The symposium continues Friday, March 24, from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., featuring international art historians, curators, and artists who rarely have had the opportunity to exchange research and ideas on this topic. The symposium aims to propel new scholarship on these artistic practices and the critical discourses they have generated. While art historians and curators from Europe have been rewriting these histories for several years, emerging and established art historians in the United States are just beginning to examine the era’s surprisingly diverse practices. For further details and registration, please visit the Developing Room website at On March 23, the keynote is preceded by a reception beginning at 5 p.m. On March 24, coffee and light refreshments are provided in the morning. A list of local dining options (including the café at the museum) will be provided for those attending to have lunch on their own. The symposium concludes with a reception. All programming (except lunch) takes place at the Zimmerli Art Museum.


“Reinventing Documentary Photography in the 1970s” was organized by Sarah Miller, an independent scholar specializing in the history of photography, and Drew Sawyer, a curator of photography and a journal editor, in collaboration with the Developing Room and Zimmerli Art Museum. It is supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Center for Cultural Analysis (CCA) at Rutgers, and the Office of the Dean of Humanities at Rutgers.


The symposium is a key component of an ambitious, multi-year collaboration between the Zimmerli Art Museum and the Department of Art History at Rutgers University, made possible by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. In early 2016, The Public Image: Social Documentary Photography from the Collection of the Zimmerli Art Museum was published. The Zimmerli’s second publication available in ebook format only, it resulted from a seminar in which students studied, firsthand, works of art in the museum’s collection. The final element is the major exhibition Partisan Views and Public Opinion: Engaged Photography In and Beyond the Twentieth Century, which opens at the Zimmerli in September 2017.



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. One of the largest and most distinguished university-based art museums in the nation, the Zimmerli is located 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.



Admission is free to the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers. The 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.


The Zimmerli Art Museum is open Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m., and select first Tuesdays of the month, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. The museum is closed Mondays and major holidays, as well as the month of August.


PaparazZi Café is open Monday through Thursday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Friday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., with a variety of breakfast, lunch, and snack items. The café is closed weekends and major holidays, as well as the months of July and August.


For more information, visit the museum’s website or call 848.932.7237.



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 and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Endowment, among others. Additional support comes from the New Jersey State Council of the Arts and the Estate of Victoria J. Mastrobuono; and donors, members, and friends of the museum.



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