Free Symposium that Examines 1970s Documentary Photography Is Open to Public

February 28, 2017


Free Symposium that Examines 1970s Documentary Photography Is Open to Public


New Brunswick, NJ – The Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers invites the campus community and general public to the interdisciplinary symposium “Reinventing Documentary Photography in the 1970s,” on March 23 and 24. The program opens on Thursday evening with a keynote address and reception. It continues all day Friday, bringing together a panel of scholars and artists to examine the standard narratives around the reemergence of the genre during that tumultuous decade. Both days of the symposium are free and open to the public, but registration is required. For more details, please visit


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. On Thursday, March 23, at 6 p.m., independent artist, researcher, editor, and curator Jorge Ribalta presents the keynote talk “Not Yet. On the Reinvention of Documentary and the Critique of Modernism,” reflecting on the exhibition of the same title that he organized at Madrid’s Museo Reina Sofia in 2015. The symposium continues Friday, March 24, from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., with a panel of 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. Speakers represent: NYU/The Institute of Fine Arts; University of Westminster; Columbia University; University of Miami (Florida); University of Chicago; Princeton Art Museum; College of Staten Island & Graduate Center CUNY; and University of Pennsylvania. For a complete list of topics and registration details, 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; attendees have lunch on their own; and the symposium concludes with a reception. All programming (except lunch; a list of local eateries will be provided) takes place at the Zimmerli Art Museum on the College Avenue Campus of Rutgers in New Brunswick, New Jersey.


“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 (at, 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.