CLARK ART INSTITUTE CELEBRATES ITS SIXTIETH YEAR WITH A SUMMER OF MAJOR EXHIBITIONS AND DIVERSE PROGRAMS AND EVENTS

For Immediate Release
May 13, 2015
 
WILLIAMSTOWN, MA—The Clark Art Institute celebrates its sixtieth anniversary this year, and this special summer offers an extraordinary selection of special exhibitions, lectures, and programs on the recently renovated campus. Two exhibitions exclusive to the Clark highlight the summer: Van Gogh and Nature and Whistler’s Mother: Grey, Black, and White. The Clark also presents Thomas Schütte: Crystal, the first architecturally inspired installation by German contemporary artist Thomas Schütte in the United States.

Van Gogh and Nature
June 14–September 13
For Vincent van Gogh, nature was the defining subject of his art. Over the course of his short but intense working life, Van Gogh studied and depicted nature in all its forms—from the minutiae of insects and birds’ nests to the most sweeping of panoramic landscapes—creating a body of work that revolutionized the representation of the natural world at the end of the nineteenth century.
 
Van Gogh’s focus on nature was rooted in his love of the art of his time, both the landscapes created by Barbizon School artists and the highly keyed, quickly brushed paintings of the Impressionists, but he brought a personal passion and subjective sensibility to his work that continues to enthrall art lovers to this day. Much of the artist’s adult life was devoted to drawing and painting the natural world, yet this fundamental aspect of his work has not previously been the focus of intense study. Presenting fifty works including iconic paintings such as A Wheatfield, with Cypresses (1889, National Gallery, London), The Olive Trees (1889, The Museum of Modern Art, New York), and The Sower (1888, Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo), the exhibition focuses on Van Gogh the serious artist, not on the mythic “tortured painter” of film and fiction. Van Gogh is presented as a thoughtful and meticulous student of nature who found solace and personal fulfillment in studying and enjoying the natural world.
 
Whistler’s Mother: Grey, Black, and White
July 4–September 27
Arrangement in Grey and Black No. 1 (Portrait of the Artist's Mother) (1871) by James McNeill Whistler is one of the most renowned works of art by an American artist. It is considered by many to be the most important American painting not on American soil. Better known as Whistler’s Mother, the painting has been owned by the French state since 1891 and is in the collection of the Musée d’Orsay, Paris. This summer the Clark Art Institute presents the painting as the centerpiece of an exhibition featuring a variety of Whistler’s prints and drawings, Japanese woodblock prints that inspired the artist, and ephemera that explore the image’s role in popular culture. The Clark is one of only two American venues featuring the painting this year, and is the only east coast museum to show the iconic painting. On Saturdays from 9–10 am, the exhibition will be open exclusively for Clark members.

Thomas Schütte: Crystal
Opening June 14
The contemporary German artist Thomas Schütte has long been fascinated by architecture as a public form that is both symbolic and useful. Crystal, the first architecturally inspired Schütte installation in the United States, provides visitors with the opportunity to reflect on how certain landscapes and places are constructed and preserved, including the Clark’s campus. Located on Stone Hill, Crystal will be accessible from the Clark’s hiking trails.

Music and Performing Arts
The Clark’s traditional free summer concert series begins on Tuesday, July 7 with Girl Howdy and continues through the month of July. The Clark welcomes Primate Fiasco on July 14 and Occidental Gypsy on July 28. As part of the Clark’s sixtieth anniversary celebration, Daddy-O! performs songs of the 1950s on July 21. Concerts begin at 6 pm and will move to a new location this year—in front of the Clark Center. On July 23 a free performance by Bang on a Can is presented on the Clark Center’s Fernandez Terrace at 3 pm.

Family Events and Activities
Van Gogh and Nature Family Day on July 26 is a great opportunity to bring the entire family for a day of fun, art making, and outdoor activities. Admission to the galleries and grounds is free, as are all activities for the day. On June 28 from 1–4 pm join in a celebration of Crystal that includes art making and refreshments.
Free Fun Friday, sponsored by the Highland Foundation, takes place on August 28 with free admission and special activities throughout the day.

Hikes and Walks
Vincent van Gogh was an avid explorer and keen observer of nature who prided himself on knowing the genus and species of flora and fauna. Weekly Tree-lovers Hikes explore the various native trees on the Clark’s 140-acre campus. Hikes are offered Fridays at 11 am in July and August.
The reimagined Clark landscape is the centerpiece of the campus expansion program, uniting exceptional architecture with a setting of profound natural beauty underscored by state-of-the-art environmental sustainability initiatives. The Clark’s campus-wide Architecture and Sustainability Walks will provide a chronological overview of the transformation and illustrate how the Clark’s collection, buildings, and landscape are now seamlessly interconnected. Architecture and Sustainability Walks are offered every other Thursday at 1 pm from July 2 to August 27.

Lectures
Well known as a center for research and learning, the Clark presents lectures that bring leading authorities from around the world. On June 14 at 11 am and 3 pm, Van Gogh and Nature curator Richard Kendall is joined by noted scholars Chris Stolwijk, director of RKD/Netherlands Institute for Art History and former curator at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, and Sjraar van Heugten, independent art historian, for a discussion of the exhibition and their research.
Other Van Gogh and Nature lectures include a discussion of Van Gogh’s letters with Leo Jansen, editor of the Van Gogh Letters Project, on July 19; and a discussion of Van Gogh’s still lifes and flower paintings by Laura Coyne, alumnae of the Clark/Williams College Graduate Program in the History of Art, on August 23. Lectures will be held in the West Pavilion of the Clark Center at 4 pm.
On July 5 at 3 pm, Jay A. Clarke, Manton Curator of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs, presents the opening lecture for the exhibition Whistler’s Mother: Grey, Black, and White. Justin McCann, Lunder Consortium for Whistler Studies Fellow at Colby College Museum of Art, presents the lecture Whistler's Mother: A Family History on August 1. Special gallery talks on July 10, 17, 24, and September 4 explore various aspects of the exhibition and Whistler’s Mother. Talks begin at 3:30 pm and take place at the Lunder Center at Stone Hill.

Special Events
·        On July 13 preview the exhibition Van Gogh and Nature with a special Summer Gala offering an evening of elegant hors d’oeuvres, drinks, and entertainment in the Clark Center.
·        The jewelry of Margo Morrison is highlighted on June 20 and 21 during a special trunk show that features more than 200 pieces of the artist’s exceptional work.
·        A July 18 Dinner and the Show event will feature Van Gogh and Nature curator Richard Kendall presenting a private gallery tour of the exhibition followed by an inspired dinner created by Stephen Starr Events Executive Chef Dan Hardy. The evening begins with the tour at at 6 pm, followed by an elegant meal in Café 7. 
·        There’s no better way to end the week than with a relaxing glass of wine, some delicious food, and friends as you take in the magnificent view from the Clark Center’s terrace. The Clark will host a summer wine bar, Bar du Vin, offering a variety of French wines and beers and Provençal small plates for sale, and a picture-perfect setting to enjoy a summer evening. Bar du Vin is offered Friday evenings, August 14, 21, and 28 beginning at 4 pm.
·        This summer, the Clark partners with the Ensemble for the Romantic Century (ERC), which will present a theatrical performance, Van Gogh’s Ear, based on the artist’s correspondence with his brother Theo. The ERC will host performances August 20–30 at the American Institute for Economic Research in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. Tickets will be available online at clarkart.edu in mid-June.

Courses and Classes
The Clark provides a variety of learning experiences throughout the summer. On four consecutive Tuesdays beginning July 21, artist Frank Gregory offers an outdoor drawing class inspired by Van Gogh and Nature. Like Van Gogh, students draw en plein air with a handmade reed pen. 
IS183 presents “Nature in Line and Color,” a drawing class on July 23 that utilizes a variety of media to explore Van Gogh’s use of color, line, and movement.

Dining
Café 7, located on the lower level of the Clark Center, offers a complete dining experience, providing visitors the opportunity to sample the fine cuisine of Stephen Starr Events. A selection of fresh salads, sandwiches, soups, and desserts feature locally sourced ingredients in a pleasant sit-down setting. Café 7 will be open regular museum hours, 10 am–5 pm. Upstairs in the West Pavilion, visitors on the go can purchase a sandwich, snack, or picnic meal at Francine’s, the Clark’s casual summer pop-up lunch spot. Francine’s will open on July 4; hours are 11 am–3 pm daily. Communal tables overlook the magnificent reflecting pool, while picnic tables across the campus encourage al fresco meals.
At the Lunder Center at Stone Hill, Stone Hill Café offers a selection of casual meals for dining on the terrace, which boasts extraordinary views of the Taconic Range and the Green Mountains.  In summer 2015, Stephen Starr Events introduces a new sustainable menu featuring a variety of grain bowls with local organic vegetables and proteins and a selection of healthy lunch options sure to please diners of all ages. Indoor seating in the Hunter Studio is also available. Stone Hill Center Café will be open daily 11 am–4 pm beginning July 4 through the summer.
 
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