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Warm Up with Free Films and Lectures During November and December at the Clark

For Immediate Release

October 18, 2006

Underground film, tableaux vivants, and other thought-provoking and intriguing topics will be explored in free lectures and films during November and December by Clark Fellows 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 open to the public.

Coming to the Clark’s “big screen” will be Chantal Ackerman’s rarely seen experimental film News From Home (1977, 90 min., unrated) introduced by Arden Reed on November 2. The film features a juxtaposition of images of a desolate New York and the director’s voice reading letters home to her mother in Belgium.

Paul Schrader’s chilling film The Comfort of Strangers (1990, 107 min, rated R) will be introduced by Ernst van Alphen on November 9. This film adaptation of Ian McEwen’s disturbing novel follows an English couple on holiday in Venice, hoping to mend their troubled relationship. They meet a menacing stranger who ultimately forces them to face deep questions about each other.

Atom Egoyan’s intriguing 1984 movie Next of Kin (1984, 65 min., not rated), will be introduced by Finbarr Barry Flood on November 30. This is Atom Egoyan’s first feature film about a young man who discovers a videotape of a family who gave up a child for adoption. Fleeing his past, he attempts to become that lost son.

Clark Fellow Arden Reed, Dole Professor of English at Pomona College, will present “On Time and Tableaux Vivants” on November 14 at 5:30 pm. This talk discusses three principal reasons why tableaux vivants (people on stage forming a silent motionless scene) should be taken seriously in contemporary culture. It argues that their great age is right now, and not the 19th century. It further asserts that tableaux vivants offer artists intriguing ways to stage relations between space and time. Beyond this, they provide a model for attending to visual images in an environment of distraction and propose a corollary to slowness in other arts. Thus they raise larger issues of aesthetic contemplation. The lecture will draw on examples from performance art, photography, video and literature.

Clark Fellow Ann Morris Reynolds, of the University of Texas at Austin, presents “Film Cultures: Jack Smith's Underground Playroom” on November 28 at 5:30 pm. In his 1968 text “Underground Film: A Critical History,” the film critic Parker Tyler makes a distinction between underground film and what he calls “Hollywoodized” versions of underground film and culture. Reynolds will use Jack Smith’s 1963 Blond Cobra and Tyler's sense of documentary as illusion to propose a model for artistic practice and community that is not defined exclusively in relation to the realities of the art world by considering how such communities are made and experienced, what is being lived with whom, the life as well as the lifestyle of the studio.

December features Clark Fellow Serge Guilbaut presenting “Art, Fashion and All That Jazz in Post WWII Paris” on December 5 at 5:30 pm. Guilbaut, of the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, will discuss how the cultural past of the French might seem imperfect, but at least it was alive, complex, raucous, and not pre-packaged. In emphasizing rather than eliminating the diversity of the French art scene, Guilbaut will take issue with those accounts that reduce post-war France to an empty, lost, anti-Semitic, politically incorrect and regressive culture by showing the richness of an art scene producing an array of visual discourses deeply committed to philosophical and political debates.

The Clark announced 11 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 www.clarkart.edu.

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