Rutgers-New Brunswick’s Zimmerli Art Museum Names New Director

Photo Credit: Rochelle S. Paris

Maura Reilly — a curator, writer, art consultant, and nonprofit leader who has organized dozens of exhibitions internationally that focus on marginalized artists — has been named the new director of the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University-New Brunswick.

Reilly is the founding curator of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum, where she developed and launched the first exhibition and public programming space in the United States devoted entirely to feminist art. While there, she organized several landmark exhibitions, including the permanent installation of Judy Chicago’s “The Dinner Party” and the blockbuster “Global Feminisms” (co-curated with Linda Nochlin), among others. 

She 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. She began her new position at Rutgers on February 15.

Reilly succeeds Donna Gustafson, who served as Zimmerli’s interim director and continues as curator of American and Modern Art/Mellon Director for Academic Programs. Gustafson took on the museum’s temporary leadership role in 2020 following the death of Thomas Sokolowski, a noted HIV/AIDS activist who led the museum since 2017.

Reilly said she is honored and excited to be named as Zimmerli Art Museum’s new leader. In her new role she wants to build upon and strengthen the museum’s reputation as one of the top 10 university art museums in the country.

“I am passionately committed to the museum’s essential missions of research, teaching, and community engagement,” said Reilly. “I look forward to collaborating with the museum’s talented staff and board leadership on developing a new vision for the museum  – one defined by empathy, compassion, mutual respect, and diversity, equity, access, and inclusion (DEAI) principles. 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.”

Reilly received her M.A. and Ph.D. in art history from the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University. She has taught art history and museum studies at institutions in the United States and Australia, including Arizona State University, Bard College at Simon’s Rock, Queensland College of Arts, and Tufts University.

Learn more about Zimmerli Art Museum at https://zimmerli.rutgers.edu.