Lectures, Films, and Performances

Lectures, Films, and Performances



Author Talk with James Delbourgo: “The Origins of Public Museums: Hans Sloane’s Collections and the Creation of the British Museum” 
Thursday, October 19 / 4:30pm

Lower Dodge Gallery, Zimmerli Art Museum
Book signing and reception to follow

In 1759, London’s British Museum opened its doors for the first time – the first free national public museum in the world. But how did it come into being? This talk discusses the life of the museum’s founder: Sir Hans Sloane. Born in 1660, Sloane amassed a fortune as a London society physician, became president of the Royal Society and Royal College of Physicians, and assembled an encyclopedic collection of specimens and objects – the most famous cabinet of curiosities of its time – which became the foundation of the British Museum.

Sloane dreamed of universal knowledge and a museum that would contain every kind of thing in the world. But slavery and empire played crucial roles in this endeavor. Sloane worked in Jamaica as a plantation doctor and made collections throughout the island with help from planters and slaves. On his return to London, he married a Jamaican sugar heiress, adding to his wealth and his ability to collect. He then established a network of agents to supply him with objects of all kinds from Asia, the Americas, and beyond: plants and animals, books and manuscripts, a shoe made of human skin, the head of an Arctic walrus, slaves’ banjos, magical amulets, Buddhist shrines, copies of the Qur’ān, and more. The little-known life of one of the Enlightenment’s most controversial luminaries offers a new story about the beginnings of public museums through their origins in encyclopedism and imperialism.

This event celebrates the publication of Collecting the World: Hans Sloane and the Origins of the British Museum, a new biography of Sloane by Rutgers historian James Delbourgo, published by Penguin in the UK and Harvard University Press in the US. Collecting the World has been named Book of the Week in The Guardian, The Times (London), the Daily Mail, and The Week (UK). 

Co-sponsored by the Zimmerli Art Museum and the Department of History at Rutgers University with additional support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Endowment Fund at the Zimmerli and the Center for Cultural Analysis at Rutgers 

Screening and Discussion: Long Story Short
Featuring artist Marisa Williamson and anti-poverty advocate Renee Koubiadis

Thursday, October 26 / 4:00pm
Free and open to the public

The shifts in documentary photography that can be seen in Subjective Objective: A Century of Social Photography are paralleled by changes in documentary film. In Long Story Short (Natalie Bookchin, 2016, 45 mins.), over 100 people at homeless shelters, food banks, adult literacy programs, and job training centers discuss their experiences of poverty—why they are poor, how it feels, and what they think should be done. Their words are stitched together to form a polyphonic account of poverty told from the inside. After the screening, artist Marisa Williamson, a visiting lecturer in Media at Rutgers’ Mason Gross School of the Arts who assisted with the film, and Renee Koubiadis, MSW, LSW, Executive Director of the Anti-Poverty Network of New Jersey, discuss the issues raised and how they are being addressed on a local and national level.

View the film’s trailer

Artist Talk: Nina Berman
Friday, November 3 / 3pm
Free and open to the public 

The power of Nina Berman’s photographs, on view in Subjective Objective, lies in their juxtaposition of the everyday with the disquieting: a large fracking operation seen just beyond a yard decorated for Christmas, or a military helicopter squadron observed by a young girl sitting in a park on a pink blanket. Berman is a documentary photographer, author, and educator, whose photographs and videos have been exhibited at more than 100 international venues, including the Whitney Museum of American Art Biennial and the Museum of Fine Arts Houston. Her books include Purple Hearts – Back from Iraq, portraits and interviews with wounded American veterans, and Homeland, on the militarization of American life post September 11. Berman has received awards from the World Press Photo Foundation, Pictures of the Year International, and the Open Society Foundation, among others. A member of NOOR images, she is currently an associate professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, where she directs the photography program.  A Q&A moderated by exhibition co-curator Andrés Zervigón follows the talk.

Puppies with a Purpose: An Afternoon of Art and Conversation with the Zimmerli and the Rutgers University Seeing Eye Puppy Raising Club
Saturday, November 11 / 1:30 to 4pm

The Rutgers University Seeing Eye Puppy Raising Club (RUSEPRC) is a student-run organization that raises puppies for The Seeing Eye, Inc., a national nonprofit organization dedicated to giving blind individuals independence and dignity through the use of service dogs. Join RUSEPRC and the Zimmerli for a fun and informative celebration of our canine companions that includes a curator-led exhibition tour, meet and greet, and art activity.

Free, open to the public, and appropriate for all ages!

Schedule of Activities:

1:30 to 2:00pm: Tour of On the Prowl: Cats and Dogs in French Prints in the Volpe Gallery.

2:00 to 3:00pm: Presentation by RUSEPRC, including opportunity to meet and greet puppies and their handlers.

3:00 to 4:00pm: Learn how to draw your own puppy pal in a PAWtrait Studio led by artist Jen Lorenz Badua. (Inspirational materials provided) 

Artist Talk: LaToya Ruby Frazier
Thursday, November 16 / 7pm

In this talk, MacArthur award-winning artist LaToya Ruby Frazier discusses how she has used photography to fight injustice—poverty, healthcare and gender inequality, environmental contamination, racism, and more—and create a more representative self-portrait. Drawing from her book The Notion of Family, as well as from works of art by Frederick Douglass, August Sander, Julia Margaret Cameron, and Langston Hughes, she relates her conscious approach to photography, explores more authentic ways to talk about family, inheritance, and place, and celebrates the inspirational, transformative power of images.

Frazier, whose works exploring the post-industrial conditions of her hometown of Braddock, PA, are featured in Subjective Objective, Her work has been exhibited widely around the world, with solo exhibitions at the Brooklyn Museum, Seattle Art Museum, the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, and the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston. She is currently Associate Professor, Photography, at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and has previously held academic and curatorial positions at Yale University School of Art, Rutgers University, and Syracuse University. A Q&A moderated by curator Donna Gustafson follows the talk. 


Friday, October 13 / 7pm
Our two cat and dog-themed exhibitions are open late for viewing before the film.
Voorhees Hall, Room 105 Tickets available at the door: $12 general public; $10 students, seniors, and Zimmerli members with ID; $9 Rutgers Film Co-Op/NJMAC friends

Hundreds of thousands of cats freely roam the streets of Istanbul, Turkey’s capital city. Wandering in and out of people’s lives, they are an essential part of the small neighborhoods that make up the daily life of the city. Claiming no owners, the cats of Istanbul live between two worlds, neither wild nor tame—and they bring joy and purpose to the caretakers who feed and look after them. Filmaker Ceyda Torun presents an endearing and intimate portraits of eight such cats and their caretakers. Closely following along, as the cats nimbly navigate their way through Istanbul’s streets, this tenderhearted documentary presents the city through the eyes of its most free-spirited citizens: its felines. In Turkish, subtitled. 2017; 80 min. A Benefit screening for the Scarlet Paws Animal Welfare Network (SPAWN). Co-sponsored by the Rutgers Film Co-op/New Jersey Media Arts Center and the Rutgers University Program in Cinema Studies.

Come early to visit our two related exhibitions, Cats vs. Dogs: Illustrations from Children’s Literature and On the Prowl: Cats and Dogs in French Prints, during special late gallery hours.

Watch the trailer

Photos McKay Imaging Photography