(NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ) -- In recognition of Women's History Month and International Women's Day, the Zimmerli Art Museum and Rutgers Global present Art After Hours: Women on View on March 2. The evening kicks off with a preview of Communism Through the Lens: Everyday Life Captured by Women Photographers in the Dodge Collection, led by Maria Garth, Dodge Fellow at the Zimmerli and Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Art History at Rutgers, who organized this upcoming exhibition.
Garth will discuss works by Māra Brašmane, Zenta Dzividzinska, Olga Ignatovich, Valentina Kulagina, Lialia Kuznetsova, Olga Lander, Ann Tenno, and Natalia Tsekhomskaya. In addition, the program spotlights five women artists from other areas of the museum's collections in honor of the annual #5WomenArtists campaign. This Zoom event is free and open to the public, with registration details online. Please note the museum building remains closed to the public and in-person events are suspended until further notice.
Drawn entirely from the Zimmerli’s Norton and Nancy Dodge Collection of Nonconformist Art from the Soviet Union, Communism Through the Lens explores themes of political art, documentary photography, and gender. Spanning almost the entirety of the Soviet Union’s history – from the 1920s through the 1990s – the exhibition offers a historical look at how women photographers interpreted life in the communist state. It features more than 130 objects – including photographs by 15 women photographers, art journals, and books – the majority of which have never been exhibited in the United States.
This exhibition highlights the unique – and often overlooked – photographic innovations by women who shaped the history of photography during the 20th century. It delves into Russian photography and design, featuring artists from the Soviet republics of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Ukraine, as well as rare art books and journals (such as USSR in Construction and The Left Front of the Arts (LEF)) from the Zimmerli’s archival collection. It is divided into five thematic sections: workers and labor; experimenting with the medium; gender and the body; identity and the self; portraiture and fantasy.
These works draw viewers into the worlds of everyday Soviet citizens and their daily struggles, which – to an extent – are allegories of life in a communist country. Women were supposed to have equal professional status in Soviet society, but the system of state art was nevertheless discriminatory and disadvantaged women artists. Despite this, many women made important and lasting innovations in the field of photography through official and unofficial channels.
Communism Through the Lens: Everyday Life Captured by Women Photographers in the Dodge Collection is organized by Maria Garth, Dodge Fellow at the Zimmerli Art Museum and Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Art History at Rutgers University. An online exhibition debuts in the spring of 2021. The full exhibition is scheduled to be on view at the Zimmerli during the fall of 2021; additional details will be announced during the summer. The exhibition is made possible by the Avenir Foundation Endowment Fund and the Dodge Charitable Trust – Nancy Ruyle Dodge, Trustee.
The Zimmerli Art Museum remains closed to the public and in-person programs are suspended until further notice. News regarding operations will be posted on the museum’s home page. For Rutgers updates, please visit Universitywide COVID-19 Information.
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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.
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, as well as donors, members, and friends of the museum.