Clark Conversation: “Art History and the Present” October 13 at the Clark

For Immediate Release

September 25, 2007

How the political, artistic, and cultural present shapes the writing of art history will be the topic debated by fellows from the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, scholars from the Getty Research Institute’s residential program, and outside invitees on Friday and Saturday, October 12 and 13 during a Clark/Getty Workshop. On Saturday, October 13 at 5:30 pm, the public is invited to listen to a summary of the group’s findings of the past two days during the Clark Conversation “Art History and the Present.” Admission is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.
Art history is often seen as a discipline that seeks to explore the past, but in fact, the present—the here and now of any given society, its art and its culture—shapes questions about objects and the kinds of histories of art that are written. Recently, the explosion of interest in contemporary art and the relative neglect of the art of past epochs is a growing trend among students and even scholars. Why should this be? And how did certain forms of art in the past become privileged by histories of art?
Participating Clark Fellows are Johanne Lamoureux, professor of art history, McGill University; Kobena Mercer, professor of art history and theory, University of Middlesex; Erica Naginski, associate professor, art history and theory, MIT; Michael Taylor, curator of modern and contemporary art, Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Getty Scholars include Susan Buck-Morss, professor of political philosophy and social theory in the Department of Government, and a member of the graduate fields of German studies and history of art, Cornell University; Leonard Folgerait, professor at Vanderbilt University, Department of the History of Art; Ian Balfour, associate professor of English, Department of English, York University, UK; Paul Smith, chair in the history of art, University of Warwick, UK.
Outside invitees are Lynne Cooke, curator, Dia Foundation; Jonathan Harris, University of Liverpool, Department of Art History; and Tina Takemoto, California College of the Arts.
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, MA. The galleries are Tuesday through Sunday, 10 am to 5 pm (open daily in July and August). Admission June 1 through October 31 is $12.50 for adults, free for children 18 and under, 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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