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Skirball Cultural Center to present original new exhibition

The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg  
October 19, 2018–March 10, 2019

First museum retrospective of the Supreme Court Justice–turned–cultural icon,
based upon the Internet phenomenon and bestselling book


LOS ANGELES, CA—The Skirball Cultural Center announces the fall 2018 debut of Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the first-ever exhibition about the trailblazing associate justice. Based on the New York Times bestselling book of the same name and created in partnership with its authors, Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik, the exhibition will take a deeply personal journey through historic change with an entertaining yet rigorous look at the life and work of Ruth Bader Ginsburg (RBG) and the Supreme Court. It will also examine her varied roles as a student, life partner, mother, change-making lawyer, judge, women’s rights pioneer, and pop culture icon. Notorious RBG will be on view at the Skirball from October 19, 2018 through March 10, 2019, in commemoration of the twenty-fifth anniversary of RBG’s appointment to the nation’s high court, in 1993. 

Through archival photographs and documents, historical artifacts, contemporary art, media stations, and gallery interactivesthe exhibition will explore the American legal system and civil rights movements through the lens of RBG’s personal experiences and public service. Like the book, it will tell the parallel stories of her remarkable life and the efforts she joined to expand “We the People” to include those long left out of the Constitution’s promises.

“Justice Ginsburg has never given up on doing the work of equality and justice, work that is needed now more than ever,” remarked Irin Carmon, a Washington Post contributing writer and co-author of the Notorious RBG book, which has sold more than 275,000 copies since its October 2015 publication. “We’re so thrilled that the exhibition will bring to life a genuinely inspirational story, while making it clear how we all have an urgent stake in the work and future of the court.”

Co-author Shana Knizhnik—who founded the popular Tumblr that made RBG an Internet sensation—explained, “I created the Notorious RBG blog as a law student in 2013, in response to Justice Ginsburg’s forceful dissent to the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision to strike down part of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. I hoped to pay tribute to the Justice and her remarkable story, which has only become more inspirational as she continues to advocate for justice for all. I am pleased that this exhibition will illuminate, in its own way, the life and work of such a vital figure in American history.”

“Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has spoken of the profound influence of her Jewish ethics, values, and heritage on her public service, in particular her empathy for the marginalized and disenfranchised and the protection of their rights,” commented Uri D. Herscher, Skirball Founding President and CEO. “The Skirball shares this same commitment to making our communities and our nation more just, and we are honored to celebrate Justice Ginsburg’s remarkable contributions to American democracy.”

In keeping with Carmon and Knizhnik’s book, the exhibition will touch on the playful connection between Justice Ginsburg and the Notorious B.I.G.—both of whom were born and bred in Brooklyn, New York, as RBG herself has proudly pointed out. The title of each section riffs off a lyric by the late hip-hop artist: 

  • Introduction: “NOTORIOUS”
  • Early Life and Education: “I GOT A STORY TO TELL
  • Ruth and Marty: “REAL LOVE”
  • Justice Ginsburg: “MY TEAM SUPREME”
  • RBG Timeline (1848–2018): “BEEN IN THIS GAME FOR YEARS”

Skirball Associate Curator Cate Thurston, who has developed the exhibition with Carmon and Knizhnik over more than two years, added, “Woven throughout the exhibition will be briefs and other writings by RBG, including some of her most famously searing dissents. A range of objects will then give context to the Justice’s place in history.” These include official portraits of her and Sandra Day O’Connor, the first two women to serve on the Supreme Court, on loan from the National Portrait Gallery; and correspondence with civil rights leader, poet, and lawyer Pauli Murray, whose groundbreaking idea to use the Fourteenth Amendment to litigate civil rights and sex discrimination cases informed RBG’s winning strategy as an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union.

Three-dimensional environments will bring key moments to life, such as recreationsof Justice Ginsburg’s childhood Brooklyn apartment and of the Supreme Court bench, where visitors can take a seat and imagine making their own opinions heard. Visitors will also gain insight into RBG’s marriage to Martin “Marty” Ginsburg, her partner of more than fifty years, through family snapshots and other materials from their life together, including some of Marty’s favorite recipes as the accomplished amateur chef of the Ginsburg household. Finally, reflecting RBG’s effect on pop culture, Notorious RBG will include contemporary art and expression that she has inspired, by such artists as Maira Kalman, Roxana Alger Geffen, and Ari Richter.

Related Programs

During opening weekend—on Sunday, October 21, 11:00 am—Notorious RBGauthors Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik will take the stage to share insights about their book, the Tumblr, and the transformative figure who inspired it all. Books will be available for purchase; a book signing follows the program. Attendees will also enjoy sweets prepared from recipes in Chef Supreme, published by Supreme Court spouses in 2011 in memory of Marty Ginsburg. 

Other exhibition-related programs will follow, such as a screening of the runaway 2018 box office hit RBG, featuring a Q&A with directors Betsy West and Julie Cohen; and an adult-education course focusing on important cases in which Justice Ginsburg was involved. As part of its ongoing school outreach program, the Skirball will also offer a gallery-based program for students in Grades 5–12, focusing on the expansion of civil rights and on the role models who preceded and inspired RBG.


The exhibition Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and its related educational programs at the Skirball Cultural Center are made possible through lead support from the following donor: 

Lynda and Stewart Resnick – The Wonderful Company

Along with support from the following donors:

Angell Foundation
Barbara Timmer and Catherine Benkaim
Stephanie and Harold Bronson
Engaging the Senses Foundation
Rebekah and Howard Faber
David Geffen Foundation
Glaser Weil Fink Howard Avchen & Shapiro LLP
Colleen and Bob Haas
Elise Haas
Hillside Memorial Park and Mortuary
Suzanne and Ric Kayne
Kingsley & Kingsley
Richard and Ruth Lavine Family Foundation
Patricia L. Glaser and Sam Mudie
Ruth Roberts
Debbie and James Schreier
Skirball Cultural Center Volunteer Service Council
U.S. Bank
Visionary Women
Julie and Peter Weil
Susan Hirsch Wohl and Alan Wohl
Women for Justice and [t]Ruth

Additional support was provided by the following donors:

Phyllis K. Friedman
Good Works Foundation
Eileen Harris Norton Foundation
Sauvage Family
Stolaroff Foundation

About the Skirball

The Skirball Cultural Center is a place of meeting guided by the Jewish tradition of welcoming the stranger and inspired by the American democratic ideals of freedom and equality. We welcome people of all communities and generations to participate in cultural experiences that celebrate discovery and hope, foster human connections, and call upon us to help build a more just society.

Visiting the Skirball

The Skirball Cultural Center is located at 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90049. Museum hours: Tuesday–Friday 12:00–5:00 pm; Saturday–Sunday 10:00 am–5:00 pm; closed Mondays and holidays. Admission to exhibitions: $12 General; $9 Seniors, Full-Time Students, and Children over 12; $7 Children 2–12. Exhibitions are always free to Skirball Members and Children under 2. Exhibitions are free to all visitors on Thursdays. For general information, the public may call (310) 440-4500 or visit The Skirball is also home to Zeidler’s Café, which serves innovative California cuisine in an elegant setting, and Audrey’s Museum Store, which sells books, contemporary art, music, jewelry, and more.