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New York Times Photojournalist Michelle V. Agins Makes Museum Debut at the Zimmerli

originally published: 02/26/2024

New York Times Photojournalist Michelle V. Agins Makes Museum Debut at the Zimmerli

(NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ) -- Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Michelle V. Agins, whose images tell unforgettable stories about life in America, was the second Black woman ever hired as a staff photographer at The New York Times. She built her career at a time when photo editors gave very few assignments to women—much less to women of color.

The Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers—New Brunswick presents Michelle V. Agins: Storyteller, on view from March 6 to December 8, 2024, featuring 66 photographs taken during her 35 years at The New York Times. Her groundbreaking assignments offer some of the most important documentation of race relations, celebrity culture, sports, spirituality, and economic disparity in America. Agins visits the museum for an artist talk and reception on April 21, 2024. Find details at go.rutgers.edu/artisttalk0421.

“Agins’s practice is as a visual storyteller, with a powerful humanizing vision,” said Maura Reilly, the Zimmerli’s director, who organized the exhibition with New York Times picture editor Maura Foley, who has worked with Agins for decades. “With a keen eye toward narrative and aesthetic detail, Agins’s images, like those of Richard Avedon and Gordon Parks, bridge the gap between photojournalism and fine art photography. The exhibition itself aligns with one of the museum’s many missions, which is to present work by underrepresented artists, and to offer them a platform to share their talents with our diverse audiences.”

Storyteller spans the vast array of news moments that Agins has covered for The New York Times. It features her early pictures of the protests surrounding the murder of Black teenager Yusef Hawkins in 1989 and the 1992 Democratic National Convention. More recent images spotlight the Kamala Harris campaign and portraits of artist and activist Stormé DeLarverie, a Stonewall Uprising survivor. Agins has captured other iconic figures, such as James Baldwin, Prince, Aretha Franklin, Serena Williams, Anthony Mason, and Anita Hill, among many others.

The exhibition also includes some of Agins’s photographs of New Yorkers who have been aided by The New York Times Neediest Cases Fund (now called the Communities Fund), as well as her 1994 series Another America: Life on 129th Street, which studies the effects of gun violence on a Harlem neighborhood. For more information about the artist, visit www.nytimes.com/by/michelle-v-agins



 
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Michelle V. Agins: Storyteller, organized by Maura Reilly, director of the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers, and Maura Foley, picture editor at The New York Times, is on view from March 6 to December 8, 2024.

Generous support was provided by Art Bridges Foundation's Access for All program. This exhibition is also supported by Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, with additional support provided by Beth Schiffer’s Fine Photographic Arts.

The Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum houses more than 60,000 works of art, with strengths in the Art of the Americas, Asian Art, European Art, Russian Art & Soviet Nonconformist Art, and Original Illustrations for Children's Literature. The permanent collections include works in all mediums, spanning from antiquity to the present day, providing representative examples of the museum’s research and teaching message at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, which stands among America’s highest-ranked, most diverse public research universities. Founded in 1766, as one of only nine colonial colleges established before the American Revolution, Rutgers is the nation’s eighth-oldest institution of higher learning.

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 Wednesday and Friday, 11:00am to 6:00pm; Thursday, 11:00am to 8:00pm; Saturday and Sunday, noon to 5:00pm. The museum is closed Monday and Tuesday, as well as major holidays and the month of August.

The Zimmerli's operations, exhibitions, and programs are funded in part by Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, and income from the Avenir Endowment Fund and the Andrew W. Mellon Endowment Fund, among others. Additional support comes from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, and the donors, members, and friends of the museum.



 
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