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Clark Fellow Kavita Singh Speaks on Maharaja Museums July 26

For Immediate Release

July 10, 2009

In a lecture titled “At Home With My Maharaja: Entering the Palace-Museum in India,” Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute Fellow Kavita Singh examines the palaces of Indian maharajas that have been turned into public museums. In particular, she discusses the Mehrangarh Fort Museum at Jodhpur in Rajasthan and Mysore Palace in Karnataka, southern India. The lecture, held on Sunday, July 26, at 3 pm, is free.

Although India is often thought of as a former British colony, about 40 percent of the subcontinent was never under direct British rule. Instead, these areas were ruled by Indian princes called maharajas, who exercised a restricted freedom under British supervision. Today, India’s map is dotted with the maharajas’ former palaces, many of which have been converted into museums. The opening of these palaces created a new kind of public space that plays a complex role in contemporary India. Singh discusses this role before focusing on the current life of two magnificent palace-museums.

Singh is an associate professor at the School of Arts and Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, where she teaches courses on museum and curatorial studies and the history of Indian painting. She has published on Indian courtly and folk painting, as well as South Asian museums. Her curatorial projects include Power and Desire, an exhibition of Indian courtly painting for the San Diego Museum of Art, and Where in the World, the current exhibition at the Devi Art Foundation, India’s first contemporary art museum. She is working on a book on the history of museums in India, and her research focuses on the place of museums in India’s current social landscape. Singh holds a holds a PhD in art history from Panjab University, Chandigarh, India; an MFA in art history from Maharaja Sayajirao University, Baroda; and a BA in English literature from Delhi University.

The Clark offers between fifteen and twenty Clark Fellowships each year. Fellowships are awarded to national and international scholars, critics, and museum professionals whose work extends and enhances the understanding of the visual arts and their role in culture. The program encourages a critical commitment to research in the theory, history, and interpretation of works from all periods and genres.

A dynamic center for research and higher education in art history and criticism, the Clark hosts an international fellowship program; regular conferences, symposia, and colloquia; and an important art research library. The Clark, together with Williams College, jointly sponsors one of the nation’s leading M.A. programs in art history, which has been part of the professional development of a significant number of art museum directors, curators, and scholars.

The Clark is located at 225 South Street in Williamstown. The galleries are open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm (daily in July and August). Admission is free November 1 through May 31. Admission June 1 through October 31 is $12.50 for adults, free for children 18 and younger, members, and students with valid ID. For more information, call 413-458-2303 or visit clarkart.edu.

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