Clark Presents Family Workshop about Orientalism July 9

For Immediate Release

June 29, 2000

WILLIAMSTOWN, MA (June 29, 2000) - Children ages seven to thirteen and accompanying adults are invited to a family workshop at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute on Sunday, July 9, from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. The program focuses on the current exhibition Noble Dreams, Wicked Pleasures: Orientalism in America, 1870-1930, which explores images of the Near and Middle East ranging from paintings by John Singer Sargent and Frederic Edwin Church to the silent films The Sheik and The Thief of Bagdad. Admission is free, and advance registration is required. For more information or to register, call the education department at 413-458-2303, extension 461.

Lucy Burns, a doctoral candidate in the Social Justice Program at the University of Massachusetts, will lead the workshop. A special tour of the exhibition's images of the Islamic world will be followed by a discussion about stereotypes and the sometimes negative depictions of another culture as perceived by Americans. Light refreshments will be served. The program is one of three family events to be offered in connection with Noble Dreams, Wicked Pleasures. On Sunday, July 23, from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., a "Near-Eastern Family Bazaar" will feature Near and Middle Eastern entertainment and educational activities, including authentic music and dances, craft-making for children, and a minature donkey petting zoo. A marketplace will feature both Middle Eastern cuisine and "kid-friendly" food as well as vendors of stained glass, Oriental rugs, and more. Admission to the outdoor festival is free. On Saturday, August 5, from 10:00 a.m. to noon, the program "Landscapes and Townscapes" will give children the opportunity to learn about the landscapes in the exhibition and to hike Stone Hill to sketch the landscape of Williamstown. In addition to these events, a free activity guide to the exhibition for children and adults to use together is now available daily at the information desk. Admission is free to children eighteen and under every day.

Noble Dreams, Wicked Pleasures traces America's fascination with an imagined, exotic Middle East. Beginning with paintings by Frederic Edwin Church and John Singer Sargent and extending to Orientalism's widespread dissemination in popular culture, including films such as Rudolph Valentino's The Sheik, over one hundred objects including fashion, furniture, advertising ephemera, sheet music, and photographs illustrate the associations conjured up by the Holy Land, Egypt, and North Africa in the popular imagination of turn of the century America. Organized by the Clark Art Institute, Noble Dreams, Wicked Pleasures will be on view at the Clark through September 4, then travel to the Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore, Maryland, October 3, 2000, to December 10, 2000, and to the Mint Museum of Art, Charlotte, North Carolina, February 3, 2001 to April 22, 2001.

The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute is located at 225 South Street in Williamstown, Massachusetts.  The galleries are open Tuesday through Sunday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Admission is free through May.  For more information call 413-458-2303 or visit

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