Judith K. Brodsky
NEW BRUNSWICK/PISCATAWAY, N.J. In 1986, with a tiny budget and big dreams, artist and then-Mason Gross School of the Arts professor Judith K. Brodsky started the Rutgers Center for Innovative Print and Paper in a small, meagerly equipped studio on the Douglass campus. A closet became her office, with a desk made from an unpainted door atop two file cabinets. The staff consisted of Brodsky and a part-time master printer.
Despite these modest beginnings, Brodsky envisioned the center as an internationally renowned magnet for distinguished artists who would create new works in print and handmade paper in collaboration with master printers and papermakers. It would be an educational resource, where her visual arts students could learn printmaking, a once-unheralded genre she says has emerged as a major force in the art world.
Twenty years later, most of Brodskys goals have been realized, from the caliber of artists attracted to the center each year to its solid international reputation in the world of contemporary printmaking. But Brodsky, now a professor emerita, says she never aspired to her latest achievement: the renaming of the center this fall as the Brodsky Center for Print and Paper in recognition of her vision and devotion to the center.
Judy Brodskys inspired efforts on behalf of the center and the field of modern printmaking have greatly contributed to Rutgers prominence in the arts, said Rutgers President Richard L. McCormick. Judy is also a teacher and distinguished artist herself. Thus, it is especially appropriate that the center at Rutgers bear her name.
Today, the centers annual operating budget is $600,000, of which $400,000 is raised through donations, grants and print sales. Its well-equipped facilities in the Civic Square building on Livingston Avenue include paper and printmaking studios, offices and research areas.
Under Brodskys direction, the center has worked with nearly 300 artists, including Kiki Smith, Fred Wilson, the late Leon Golub, Faith Ringgold, Joan Snyder and Juan Sanchez. It has hosted artists from around the world and helped villagers in Ecuador and South Africa develop printmaking and papermaking operations. The center sponsors student internships, fellowships for New Jersey artists, and public lectures and exhibitions.
The print center has greatly enhanced our visual arts program while bringing additional luster to Mason Gross and Rutgers, said George Stauffer, dean of Mason Gross. It is most appropriate that the center will be named after its founder Judy Brodsky, anima extraordinaire for the arts at the university and in the state of New Jersey.
Brodsky carved a niche for the center over the years by inviting culturally diverse artists whose work explores contemporary issues, such as gender, politics and race, to express themselves in a medium they might not have worked in before. The results have been edgy, dramatic and provocative and very popular with collectors and museums. Prints created at the Brodsky Center are in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), the Whitney and Smithsonian, as well as the Bibliothque nationale in Paris and Victoria & Albert Museum in London.
Brodsky facilitated the 2002 donation of June Waynes extensive personal art collection valued at $5.47 million, the largest gift ever received by the Mason Gross school. Wayne, an internationally known California artist, reinvigorated printmaking in the United States in the 1960s with the establishment of the Tamarind Lithography Workshop. Wayne also became a research professor, and the June Wayne Archive and Study Room was established at the center in her honor.
The center and several prints created there are featured in the new art book, Prints Now, by Gill Saunders and Rosie Miles, curators at the Victoria and Albert Museum. They write that the center lives up to its claim for innovation and praise Brodsky as an outstanding advocate of the underrepresented.
Judy has been the energy and facilitator for all the successes of RCIPP throughout the years so it is only fitting that it live on in her name, said Lynne Allen, the centers director from 2000 to 2006, and a former art professor who is now director of the School of Visual Arts at Boston University. It is exciting to see that what started as a very small operation has grown into a highly respected, internationally known print and paper atelier.
A Princeton resident, Brodsky holds degrees from Radcliffe and the Tyler School of Art at Temple University. She taught at Beaver College before joining Rutgers in 1978. She chaired the Rutgers-Newark art department and served as an associate dean and associate provost on that campus while teaching in New Brunswick. She joined Mason Gross fulltime in 1986.
In her own work as an artist and printmaker, Brodsky explores themes that reflect contemporary intellectual, political and social issues. She lectures internationally and her works are in museum collections worldwide.
Brodsky has presided over many organizations, including ArtTable, the College Art Association and the National Womens Caucus for Art. She is board president for Philagrafika, a major international art festival being planned for 2010 in Philadelphia.
Brodsky retired from teaching and stepped down as the centers director in 2000, but remained a consultant. Since Allen left last year, she again finds herself at the helm of fundraising efforts for the center to which she, herself, has been a generous donor. She already is helping to plan the centers 25th anniversary celebration in 2011, which will include an exhibition at MoMA.
Whats so fulfilling to me is to see the wonderful printed and handmade paper projects the center has published over the years, the way in which weve increased the visibility of so many artists, and the impact the center has made in bringing the world to acknowledge the importance of the printed image in todays art, said Brodsky.
Brodsky will be honored at a gala dinner on Jan. 13 at Civic Square. The event will feature a benefit auction of works by artists who have worked at the center. For more information, call the Brodsky Center at 732-932-2222, ext. 838.
Contact: Sandra Lanman
732-932-7084, ext. 621