Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, has named curator and writer Maura Reilly as the next director of its Zimmerli Art Museum. Reilly succeeds Donna Gustafson, who served as the museum’s interim director and will continue as curator of American and Modern Art/Mellon Director for Academic Programs. Reilly will take up her new role on February 15.
Reilly has become known as a staunch advocate for women artists and other marginalized communities. She is the founding curator of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum, where she was instrumental in organizing the permanent installation of Judy Chicago’s Dinner Party, now a star attraction of the museum, and where she co-curated the influential exhibition “Global Feminisms” with Linda Nochlin. She is the author of the book Curatorial Activism, which the New York Times named one of the top ten art books of 2018.
Reilly edited Women Artists: The Linda Nochlin Reader (2015), an anthology of Nochlin’s most essential art essays, including her groundbreaking text “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?” She has also been a contributor to ARTnews, helming a 2015 issue dedicated to the status of women in the art world and addressing topics such as the 2019 rehang of the Museum of Modern Art.
More recently, she curated the video art survey “Wandamba yalungka…/Winds change direction” for the 2021 edition of Performa in New York and the upcoming “transfeminisms” set to open next year at Mimosa House in London, followed by the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art in Arizona in 2024.
Reilly has also served as executive director and chief curator of the National Academy of Design and as senior curator at the American Federation of Arts.
“I am passionately committed to the museum’s essential missions of research, teaching and community engagement,” Reilly said in a statement, adding: “It is an exciting moment for 21st-century art museums and the Zimmerli is poised to lead the way amongst its university museum peers in the effort towards creating more equitable museum and campus experiences where everybody feels not only welcome, but also recognized.”