Zimmerli Announces New Exhibitions for Summer and Fall 2017

May 30, 2017


PLEASE NOTE: The Zimmerli is closed to the public during the month of August. Press inquiries may be directed to press@zimmerli.rutgers.edu


Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers Announces New Exhibitions for Summer and Fall 2017




Subjective Objective: A Century of Social Photography

September 5, 2017 to January 7, 2018 / Voorhees Gallery


The public acceptance of photographs as visual evidence made documentary photography possible. But that acceptance varied over time, depending on the case that could be made for photographic objectivity, the mode of a photograph’s dissemination, and the desire for social change motivating many documentary projects. In addition, photographers throughout the 20th century employed canny interventions to alternately exploit and dismantle the assumption of photography’s transparency, and play with our wish to see pictures inspire social change.

This exhibition re-examines the genre of social documentary photography by focusing on the shifting criteria embedded within the public image, and the responses of image makers to these transformations. 


Drawn from the Zimmerli Art Museum’s collection, with additional loans from public and private collections, the exhibition contains some 200 works and focuses on American, European, and Soviet and post-Soviet Russian photographers who have used the camera to educate, persuade, and effect social change. Because social documentary photography requires distribution through social channels, the exhibition also features the published reports, journals, magazines, books, Instagram posts, and other documents that brought these images to the public eye. Among the photographers included in the exhibition are: Berenice Abbott, Max Alpert, Nina Berman, William Castellana, Walker Evans, Larry Fink, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Lewis Hine, Boris Ignatovich, Dorothea Lange, Igor Moukhin, Gordon Parks, Alexander Rodchenko, Arthur Rothstein, Sebastião Salgado, Arkady Shaikhet, Aaron Siskind, W. Eugene Smith, and Weegee.


Organized by Donna Gustafson, Curator of American Art and Mellon Director for Academic Programs, and Andrés Mario Zervigón, Associate Professor, History of Photography, Department of Art History, Rutgers University


A 350-page book accompanies the exhibition. Published by the Zimmerli Art Museum and Hirmer Publishers, it includes extensive illustrations and the following essays: Documentary Photography and Emotion by Andrés Mario Zervigón; “Simplicity and Directness”: How Documentary Was Born from Writing Photography’s History in the 1930s by Sarah M. Miller; Bill Owens: Performing Documentary Photography in Suburban America -- 1970s Style by Donna Gustafson; and Shifting the Lens: Social Documentary Photography in Soviet and Post-Soviet Russia by Julia Tulovsky.


Subjective Objective is the final 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 (bit.ly/ZPublicImageEbook), it resulted from a seminar in which students studied works of art in the museum’s collection. The interdisciplinary symposium “Reinventing Documentary Photography in the 1970s” followed in March 2017. This free, public program explored the multiple ways that documentary work was rethought and contested during the decade, in both critical discourse and artistic practice.


The exhibition is funded by donors to the Zimmerli’s Major Exhibition Fund: James and Kathrin Bergin, Alvin and Joyce Glasgold, Charles and Caryl Sills, the Voorhees Family Endowment, and the Jerome A. Yavitz Charitable Foundation, Inc. – Stephen Cypen, President. The accompanying publication is supported by a grant to the Zimmerli Art Museum from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.





Cats vs. Dogs: Illustrations for Children’s Literature
July 1, 2017 to June 24, 2018 / Duvoisin Gallery


It is an age-old question: are you a cat person or a dog person? The character and charms of both animals are vividly envisioned in a selection of drawings from the Zimmerli’s extensive collection of original illustrations for children’s literature, emphasizing how four-legged friends factor prominently into our private lives, as well as inspire artists. In addition to demonstrating the many ways these pets are included as subjects in children’s books, the exhibition showcases the craft and process of designing books that precedes final mass production. With more than 40 works, the exhibition features illustrations by Frank Asch, Mary Chalmers, Roger Duvoisin, Tony Chen, Shari Halpern, Lois Lenski, Ward Schumaker, and Art Seiden that capture the playfulness of dogs, the curiosity of cats, and the joys that these animals bring to our everyday lives.


Organized by Nicole Simpson, Assistant Curator of Prints and Drawings


On the Prowl: Cats and Dogs in French Prints and Drawings
September 5, 2017 – January 7, 2018 / Volpe Gallery

Kept in homes since ancient times for both pest control and companionship, cats and dogs have been portrayed for centuries in art ranging from religious works to portraiture. During the 19th century, urbanization, industrialization, and the rise of the middle class affected the lives and portrayals of both people and their pets. On the Prowl explores the ways artists relied on traditional representations of cats and dogs, serving as symbols or indications of status, while also acknowledging their modern lives in Paris’s streets and parks. The exhibition features works from the Zimmerli’s renowned collection of 19th-century French graphic arts by artists including Pierre-Paul Prud’hon, Edouard Manet, and Théophile Steinlen. 


Organized by Christine Giviskos, Curator of Prints, Drawings, and European Art


Absence and Trace: The Dematerialized Image in Contemporary Art
September 5, 2017 to January 7, 2018 / Machaver Gallery


Exploring the evocative power of absence and trace in modern and contemporary art, the works in this exhibition offer an opportunity for visitors to reflect upon what is revealed when the subject is absence or merely the trace left by a departing subject. Among the works included are early 20th-century photographs of empty Paris streets by the French photographer Eugène Atget, Josiah McElheny’s sculpture From Verzelini's Acts of Faith: The Last Supper According to Bonifacio Pitati and Beato Angelico, and Ed Ruscha’s prints made with the residue, or the trace, of cultural commodities found in London, including Branston Pickle and axel grease. Polly Apfelbaum and Marsha Goldberg are also included in the exhibition. 


Organized by Donna Gustafson, Curator of American Art and Mellon Director for Academic Programs, and Hannah Shaw, Graduate Curatorial Assistant


Serigraphy: The Rise of Screenprinting in America
September 5, 2017 to February 11, 2018 / Eisenberg Gallery


During the 1930s, a group of artists employed by the Works Progress Administration began experimenting with the technique of screenprinting to produce works of art that would be accessible and affordable to the middle class. These works were called “serigraphs,” a term invented to distinguish this creative application of screenprinting from its traditional use for posters and commercial printing. This focused survey exhibition features prints by the original members of the WPA unit, including Anthony Velonis and Elizabeth Olds, as well as works by other artists who rapidly took up this medium in the following decade. Encompassing portraits, still lifes, landscapes, city scenes, and abstract compositions, these prints showcase the diverse approaches of the artists and vividly demonstrate the remarkable flexibility of the medium, whether mimicking the thick impasto of oil paintings, capturing the flowing lines of drawings, or producing flat, crisp surfaces in eye-popping colors.


Organized by Nicole Simpson, Assistant Curator of Prints and Drawings


Stanley Twardowicz: Color Field Paintings, 1962–1990

September 5, 2017 to July 31, 2018 / Littman Gallery

Stanley Twardowicz (1917-2008) was a painter and photographer who first gained notoriety with his poured paintings in the 1950s and his photographs of figures from the Beat Generation. Introduced to Zen by the Japanese-American painter Kenzo Okada, Twardowicz began a series of paintings in the 1960s, moving away from the aesthetics of action painting toward a more centered and meditative image. Known as the Ovals, the paintings explored a central dot surrounded by softly modulating, concentric bands of color. Part of the experiments with Zen and mind-expanding philosophies that animated aesthetic thought in the 1960s, these paintings envisioned a new abstract sublime and are admired for their complex color and illusionistic depth. Twardowicz continued to paint in this vein until his retirement in 2005. This exhibition marks the first time that Twardowicz's work is on view at the Zimmerli.     


Organized by Donna Gustafson, Curator of American Art and Mellon Director for Academic Programs, and Xiola Sorgie, Rutgers Class of 2020


Commemorating the Russian Revolution, 1917/2017
October 14, 2017 – February 18, 1918 / Lower Dodge Gallery

Drawing attention to the centennial of this major event in the history of Russia from a unique perspective, the exhibition considers the political, social, and cultural aftermath reflected in art created from the 1950s to the 1980s. The Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 abruptly changed history not only in Russia, establishing a communist regime that lasted for almost a century, but defined global politics for much of the 20th century. Within Russia, the revolution influenced all aspects of life, including the development of the arts. In the years immediately following the revolution, artists felt an unprecedented creative freedom, enhanced by the ambition to build a new world and new material environment for the post-revolutionary society. However, during the second half of the century, artists switched their focus to the widespread disillusionment with the Soviet system, reflecting on faults and flaws, in particular the government’s attempt to control all spheres of life. The exhibition demonstrates the contrast between images of bravado inspired by Soviet propaganda and those that commemorate the epoch of terror under Joseph Stalin.


The exhibition pays tribute to the initial goal of the Norton and Nancy Dodge Collection to preserve the art created under government restriction and danger of prosecution. It complements programs devoted to the Russian Revolution organized at major museums around the world, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, as well as the Tate Modern and the Royal Academy in London.


Organized by Julia Tulovsky, Curator of Russian and Soviet Nonconformist Art


Commemorating the Russian Revolution is made possible by the Avenir Foundation Endowment Fund.




A Vibrant Field: Nature and Landscape in Soviet Nonconformist Art, 1970s-1980s

Through October 1, 2017 / Lower Dodge Gallery


A Vibrant Field is the first exhibition at the Zimmerli to explore the wide range of meanings that the natural world held for unofficial artists in the Soviet Union. Drawn from the strengths of the Dodge Collection, the exhibition focuses on the intersection of art, nature, and ecology, bringing together works that challenged dominant tropes in Soviet visual culture, which tended to promote life-affirming, bountiful landscapes as extensions of human achievement, productivity, and optimism. Approximately 60 objects from a range of media are featured, including painting, sculpture, works on paper, photography, and performance, by more than 25 artists and artist groups from the Soviet republics of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Russia, and Ukraine. While answering to specific Soviet realities, their work raises questions about one’s individual and collective relationship with the natural world that remain relevant, throughout the world, today.


Organized by Anna Rogulina, a Dodge-Lawrence Fellow at the Zimmerli and Ph.D. student in the Department of Art History at Rutgers


The exhibition is made possible by the Avenir Foundation Endowment Fund, The Thickman Family Foundation, and the Dodge Charitable Trust – Nancy Ruyle Dodge, Trustee.


Three American Painters: David Diao, Sam Gilliam, and Sal Sirugo

Through January 14, 2018 / Lillien Gallery


The three artists in this exhibition each used abstract expressionism – the prevailing American style in the postwar period – as a point of departure. Their paintings represent important continuities with the previous generation and highly distinct personal innovations. Sam Gilliam, who gained critical attention as one of the Washington color school painters, developed a variant of the staining process key to that group’s imagery. In later years, he took the canvas off the stretcher to create three-dimensional paintings that were sculptural and often site-specific. David Diao worked with large expanses of color and slick, smoothly layered surfaces related to the color field paintings of the 1950s. Sal Sirugo developed a style of painterly abstraction that embraced the white writing and heavy impastos of West Coast abstract expressionist painters like Mark Tobey. Unlike Tobey, who invested his imagery with mystical content, Sirugo’s titles and discussions of his paintings point to a deeply held belief in non-referential abstraction. All three are celebrated for their large-scale and abstract paintings with heavily worked or highly colored surfaces.


Organized by Betty Jarvis, M.A. in Art History, Rutgers Class of 2016, and Graduate Assistant 2015–16, and Donna Gustafson, Curator of American Art and Mellon Director for Academic Programs




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 month of August.


For more information, visit the museum’s website www.zimmerlimuseum.rutgers.edu 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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