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Activist In Contemporary Art and the African Modernist Movement to Present Lecture at the Clark September 25

For Immediate Release

September 11, 2007

Chika O. Okeke-Agulu, artist, critic, curator, and activist in contemporary art and the African modernist movement, will present the fall 2007 Robert Sterling Clark Visiting Professor Lecture, “Dissecting the Rainbow Nation: The Photomontage of Candice Breitz,” on Tuesday, September 25 at 5:30 pm. This talk is free and held at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute.

In this lecture Okeke-Agulu will consider a body of work, The Rainbow Series (1996), by the South African artist Candice Breitz. Consisting of about 14 photomontages depicting spliced images of black South African women from the Ndebele group and bodies of white women culled from pornographic magazines, this work elicited intense controversy because of what was perceived by critics as its reenactment of historical and Apartheid-era violence on the black South African body. Apart from subjecting criticisms of the work to rigorous critique, Okeke-Agulu situates the series within the traditions of modernist photomontage and more crucially the lecture shows how this work constitutes a potent statement about post-Apartheid South African body politic.

Okeke-Agulu is assistant professor of art history at Pennsylvania State University. He has been extensively published in such scholarly journals as African Arts, The Eye: A Journal of Contemporary Art (senior and founding editor), Glendora Review, and NKA: Journal of Contemporary African Art (founding editor). He is co-editor with Obiora Udechukwu of Ezumeezu: Essays on Nigerian Art and Architecture: A Festschrift for Demas Nwoko (2006). His forthcoming book, co-authored with Okwui Enwezor, is Contemporary African Art Since 1980.

Okeke-Agulu has been named a Clark Fellow for the spring 2008 semester. While a fellow, Okeke-Agulu will pursue his book project “Compound Consciousness: The Modern Art Movement in Nigeria, 1957–1967,” a study connecting the development of artistic modernism in Nigeria with the cultural implication of political decolonization.

The Clark is one of the country’s foremost art museums, as well as a dynamic center for research and higher education in art history and criticism. The institute is one of only a few art museums in the U.S. that is also a major research and academic center, with an international fellowship program and 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 directors of art museums, curators, and scholars.

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 $12.50 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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