Clark Fellows Explore Intriguing Topics in Lectures and Introduce their Favorite Films at the Clark this October

For Immediate Release

September 19, 2006

From Islamic iconoclasm to fashion and art in post-WWII Paris, and Underground Film to the story of a tramp rescued from the Seine, a variety of thought-provoking and intriguing topics will be explored by Clark Fellows in lectures and films this fall at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. Fellows’ lectures are held on selected Tuesdays at 5:30 pm, and fellows’ films show at 7:30 pm on selected Thursdays. These events are free and open to the public.

Kicking off the October events will be Finbarr Barry Flood presenting the lecture “Artists as Iconoclasts: Theories of Transformation in Medieval Islam” on Tuesday, October 3 at 5:30 pm. Some founding Islamic prophetic texts contain proscriptions on image making, which have shaped attitudes towards the image in the Islamic world. In some of these texts, it is advocated that images of humans be decapitated rather than destroyed, leaving figures that look like plants or trees. This comparison in the texts seems to have inspired a body of “altered images” in which human or animal forms are transformed into multicolored flowers. The lecture will focus on these transformed images, and uses them as a starting point for a discussion of the practical and theoretical understanding of mutability in medieval Islam.

Fellow Heinrich Dilly’s lecture on Tuesday, October 17, “The Vatican Apollo in the Musée Napoleon,” focuses on the painting La Salle des Saisons by Hubert Robert, created between 1802 and 1803, and now housed in the Louvre. The painting will provide the starting point for some reflections and observations on the reception of the Vatican Apollo in Napoleonic Paris. The statue is not shown in the painting, but the talk will argue that the Apollo is most definitely present.

The fall fellows’ film series begins with Jean Renoir’s Boudu Saved from Drowning (Boudu sauvé des Eaux) (1932, 81 minutes) on October 5 at 7:30 pm. This story follows a tramp, Boudu, who is rescued from the Seine by the kind-hearted bookseller Mr. Lestingois. The drama begins when both Mrs. Lestingois and her maid find the new houseguest to be lazy and salacious. The film, in French with English subtitles, will be introduced by fellow Serge Guilbaut of the University of British Columbia. The film is not rated.

November films and lectures include Chantal Ackerman’s rarely seen experimental film News From Home, introduced by Arden Reed on November 2; Paul Schrader’s chilling film The Comfort of Strangers, introduced by Ernst van Alphen on November 9; “Tableaux Vivants,” a lecture by fellow Arden Reed on November 14; “Film Cultures: Jack Smith’s Underground Playroom,” a lecture by Ann Reynolds on November 28; and Atom Egoyan’s intriguing 1984 movie Next of Kin, introduced by Finbarr Barry Flood on November 30.

The Clark announced 11 Clark Fellows for the 2006-2007 academic 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.

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


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