Lectures, Films, and Performances

Lectures, Films, and Performances

Lectures and Films

Aperture Magazine Launch and Panel Discussion: Prison Nation
Tuesday, April 24 / 5-7pm (Note: Date change from March 21 due to inclement weather) 
Free and open to the public
Reception and magazine sale to follow

Nicole Fleetwood, Associate Professor of American Studies at Rutgers-New Brunswick and scholar of incarceration, speaks together with a panel of artists and writers, including former Zimmerli exhibiting artist Jesse Krimes, about her collaboration with Aperture magazine on its latest issue, “Prison Nation."  


Jesse Krimes, conceptual artist and activist
Sable Smith, conceptual artist and educator
Joseph Rodriguez, photographer
Brendan Wattenberg, managing editor of Aperture magazine
Moderator: Che Gossett, trans activist and scholar of prison abolitionism


Nicole R. Fleetwood is associate professor in the Department of American Studies at Rutgers University, New Brunswick. She is currently completing a book on art and mass incarceration. Her two previous books are Troubling Vision: Performance, Visuality, and Blackness (2011) and On Racial Icons: Blackness and the Public Imagination (2015). Fleetwood is the recipient of awards and fellowships from New York Public Library’s Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers, American Council of Learned Societies, Whiting Foundation, Schomburg Center for Scholars-in-Residence, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and National Endowment for the Arts.

Che Gossett, currently a PhD student in the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies at Rutgers University, is a black trans/femme scholar and activist. Gossett has published work on queer necropolitics, prison abolition, (anti)blackness, and Palestinian solidarity. Gossett has received research grants from the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study and the New York Public Library.

Jesse Krimes is a conceptual artist who lives and works in Philadelphia. While serving a six-year prison sentence, he produced numerous bodies of work that have been exhibited at the Palais de Tokyo, Paris; the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers; and the Leonard Pearlstein Gallery of Drexel University, among other venues. After his release in 2014, he partnered with the Soze agency to cofound “Right of Return USA,” the first national fellowship dedicated to supporting formerly incarcerated artists. Krimes is currently a 2017 Robert Rauschenberg fellow and is represented by Burning in Water gallery in New York.

Joseph Rodríguez is a documentary photographer born and raised in Brooklyn. He studied photography in the School of Visual Arts and in the Photojournalism and Documentary Photography Program at the International Center of Photography in New York City. He has worked at print and online news organizations, including National Geographic, the New York Times Magazine, and the BBC. Rodríguez has been awarded Pictures of the Year by the National Press Photographers Association and the University of Missouri, in 1990, 1992, 1996, and 2002. He is the author of five books, and his photographs have been exhibited worldwide. He is represented by Galerie Bene Taschen.

Known for her work across photography, video, poetry, and performance, Sable Elyse Smith is interested in the personal consequences of mass incarceration in the United States. Her recent artist’s book Landscapes & Playgrounds (2017), featured in Aperture’s “Prison Nation” issue, is a meditation on the relationship between an incarcerated father and a daughter, and a form of communication that is embedded in surveillance. Smith’s work has been presented most recently in Trigger: Gender as a Tool and a Weapon at the New Museum and in the solo exhibition Ordinary Violence at the Queens Museum in New York. She is a 2018 artist in residence at the Studio Museum in Harlem.

Brendan Wattenberg is the managing editor of Aperture magazine. Formerly the director of exhibitions at The Walther Collection, he has contributed essays and interviews to Another AfricaContemporary AndObjektiv, and Aperture’s PhotoBook Review, and is the editor of the photobooks François-Xavier Gbré: The Past is a Foreign Country and Samuel Fosso: The Spectacle of the Body. Wattenberg holds a BA in English from Haverford College and an MA in Africana Studies from New York University. He has served on the jury for the Addis Foto Fest in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (2016), the Changjiang International Photography and Video Art Biennale in Chongqing, China (2017), and Photo Is:rael, Tel Aviv (2017).

Artist Talk: Bill Owens
Tuesday, April 3 / 7pm
Free and open to the public

For over 40 years, Bill Owens has chronicled the “American dream” with a wry, yet compassionate eye. His books, Suburbia (1972) and Working (I Do It for the Money) (1977), are landmarks of twentieth-century documentary photography. Join us as Owens discusses his life in photography on the occasion of our current exhibition It's Just a Job: Bill Owens and Studs Terkel on Working in 1970s America, which features 31 photographs from the Working series. Aside from his notable artistic achievements, Owens is also a pioneer in craft beer and spirits, and is the founder and president of the American Distilling Institute, the oldest and largest organization of small batch, independently owned distillers in the United States. This event is part of our April Art After Hours programming when the museum is open from 5-9pm with refreshments, live music, and more.

Lecture: Ilene Susan Fort, Identity, Imagination and Science: Helen Lundeberg’s Surrealism
Wednesday April 11 / 4:30pm
Free and open to the public
Reception to follow

During the early 1930s, far from Paris and New York, Helen Lundeberg (1908-1999) became the first woman painter in the United States to specialize in the European aesthetic of Surrealism. Lundeberg grew up in Pasadena near the Mount Wilson Observatory, and this nourished her fascination with science, especially astronomy. This personal interest in science was manifested in a group of symbolic and actual self-portraits where she explored her identity in the context of the larger universe. Beginning with the Zimmerli's own Lundeberg painting, Self Portrait of 1944, Dr. Fort demonstrates how the artist envisioned herself within the cosmos and how she continued painting outer space even after she abandoned Surrealism for hard-edge painting.

Dr. Ilene Susan Fort, formerly Senior Curator of American Art, and The Gail and John Liebes Curator of American Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), is now Curator Emerita at LACMA and Senior Scholar at the Center for Women in the Arts and Humanities at Rutgers University, 2018 - 2019. She has organized exhibitions and written on a wide range of subjects, most recently on women and Surrealism, including In Wonderland (2012) and the first posthumous retrospective on Helen Lundeberg (2016) as well as several articles on Lundeberg and Juanita Guccione (2018). Fort’s scholarly research while at the Center for Women in the Arts and Humanities focuses on women artists in the United States (including Julia Thecla, Vera Berdich, Ellen Lanyon, and Sari Dienes) who adopted surrealist abstraction to further a feminist strategy.  

This program is co-organized by the Center for Women in the Arts and Humanities and the Zimmerli Art Museum, Rutgers University with additional support from the Associate Vice President for Strategic Initiatives in the Office of the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, New Jersey State Council on the Arts, and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Endowment Fund at the Zimmerli Art Museum.


Photos McKay Imaging Photography