Rutgers announces interim director for Zimmerli Art Museum

Sculpture "Red Acrobat" 1997 by George Segal (1924-2000) Collection Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University, Gift of The George and Helen Segal Foundation, Inc.

Donna Gustafson has been appointed interim director of the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University.

Gustafson, whose tenure as interim director began June 26, also continues to serve as the museum’s curator of American art and Mellon director for academic programs.

Her most recent exhibition, Angela Davis—Seize the Time, co-curated with Gerry Beegan, associate professor of Design, at Rutgers-New Brunswick’s Mason Gross School of the Arts, will debut at the Zimmerli in September 2021, with a companion book available this September, according to information provided by the museum.

In recent years, she has collaborated with faculty and students on interdisciplinary exhibitions, research projects, and public events, and was a 2019-20 fellow at the Institute for Research on Women, part of the School of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers, according to the statement.

Her recent exhibitions at the museum include Tiananmen Square, 1989: Photographs by Khiang H. HeiSubjective Objective: A Century of Social Documentary Photography, and Polymorphic Sculpture: Leo Amino’s Experiments in Three Dimensions. In 2017, Gustafson collaborated with renowned artist Kara Walker and her students at Rutgers’ Mason Gross School of the Arts, on the Atlanta Ladies Memorial Exhibition, according to the statement.

Gustafson has held various roles at the Zimmerli since 2009. Previously, she served as chief curator at the American Federation of Arts in New York City and director of exhibitions at the Hunterdon Art Museum in Clinton. A widely published author on photography, American and contemporary art, she has given lectures at the Whitney Museum of American Art, College Art Association, New York Public Library, and Lafayette College, among other prominent museums and institutions, according to the statement.

Gustafson continues and expands initiatives begun by Thomas Sokolowski, who became the Zimmerli’s director in the fall of 2017 and passed away on May 6. Sokolowski was a distinguished curator, museum leader, and art historian who is also noted for his HIV/AIDS activism. Sokolowski ensured that the museum remained an accessible venue, serving as a center for academic and community engagement, according to the statement.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Zimmerli Art Museum remains closed to the public and all programs are suspended until further notice. News regarding operations will be posted on the museum’s home page.