Arsen Savadov and Georgii Senchenko, Gardens Old and New, 1986-1987. Oil on canvas. Norton and Nancy Dodge Collection of Nonconformist Art from the Soviet Union. Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers. Photo Peter Jacobs. (from Painting in Excess)
Maura Reilly, the new Director at the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University-New Brunswick, wants to create more inclusive experiences for artists, visitors and the community.
Reilly believes university-based museums are an important resource for the academic community as well as the general public.
“As a curator and author who has dedicated her career to marginalized and underrepresented artists, including women, LGBTQ+, and BIPOC artists, I saw the university’s new leadership under President Holloway and his commitment to a ‘beloved community’ as an opportunity to create more inclusive museum experiences for all,” she said.
Reilly and her team are working to transition the Zimmerli into an “empathetic museum for a beloved community,” one defined by compassion, tolerance, diversity, equity, and access.
Credit: Photo Rochelle S Paris
“Under President Holloway’s leadership, Rutgers is a university that will support that vision, and that thrills me,” she said. “I envision the future exhibition schedule as embodying activist principles. We will be featuring many more underrepresented artists and presenting exhibitions that examine more social justice concerns. I believe that museums of the 21st century need to do so, as they move away from their elitist, apolitical reputations.”
Recently, the Zimmerli decided to extend the popular exhibition, Painting in Excess: Kyiv’s Art Revival, 1985-1993, through April 10. Many ongoing programs have returned in-person while signature events – such as Rutgers Day and Summer Art Camp – will be in person for the first time since 2019.
Elizabeth Catlett, Angela Libre, 1972. Screenprint on foil. Lisbet Tellefsen Archive. © 2020 Catlett Mora Family Trust / Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY.
Another popular exhibition, Angela Davis – Seize the Time, is open through the middle of June and Zimmerli recently announced its latest endeavor: A Quilting and Social Justice Workshop, offered in conjunction with the exhibition Stitching Time: The Social Justice Collaboration Quilts Project.
Reilly comes to Zimmerli Art Museum as a curator, writer, art consultant and non-profit leader. She has organized dozens of exhibitions internationally, with a specific focus on marginalized artists. She has authored more than 60 articles and several monographs on global contemporary artists.
Her book, Curatorial Activism: Towards an Ethics of Curating was listed as one of the “Top 10 Best Art Books” of 2018 from the New York Times and another publication, Women Artists: The Linda Nochlin Reader, was listed by the New York Times as a “Best of 2020” art book.
“Membership with the Chamber allows organizations, especially smaller ones like the museum, to connect with colleagues we may not otherwise encounter in our daily business activities. Museum staff have developed important partnerships, allowing us to offer more programming to the public and reach new audiences. I look forward to meeting and working with other members in the future,” said Reilly.
Learn more about the Zimmerli Art Museum at www.zimmerli.rutgers.edu.