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Dig Into America’s Fascination with Ruins During March 11 Talk at the Clark

For Immediate Release

March 02, 2007

In the last decades of the 20th century American artists created a new and distinctive language of ruin, from ghost towns to Planet of the Apes. In his lecture, “The Ruins of America,” Christopher Woodward, author of the best-selling book In Ruins and director of the Museum of Garden History, London, asks why the cult of the ruin has emigrated from Europe to the New World. This free lecture takes place on Sunday, March 11 at 2 pm at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute.

Woodward was previously director of the Holburne Museum in Bath, England, and worked as assistant curator at Sir John Soane’s Museum. His book In Ruins (2002) takes readers on a 1,000-year journey from the plains of Troy to the monuments of ancient Rome, from the crumbling palaces of Sicily, Cuba, and Zanzibar to the rubble of the London Blitz. Readers encounter the teenage Byron in the rotting Newstead Abbey, Flaubert watching the buzzards on the pyramids, Henry James in the Colosseum, and Freud at Pompeii.

Two exhibitions currently on view at the Clark relate to the subject of ruins. A section of Claude Lorrain—The Painter as Draftsman: Drawings from the British Museum depicts how the 17th century French artist Claude Lorrain embraced the modern world while still evoking the Arcadian past. Many idyllic and pastoral scenes that include ancient Roman ruins are on view. In Search of Lost Time: Ruins in Photography features 12 European photographs of ruins, ranging from Egypt to Italy, Britain and southern France, dating to the 1850s.

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 through May. 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 visitwww.clarkart.edu.

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