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Clark Conversations

Clark Conversations add an intimate dimension to scholarly life at the institute. In some conversations, Clark Fellows or short-term visiting scholars discuss their personal intellectual histories and commitments to the profession in a relaxed setting. In others, scholars debate current issues in art history without a prescribed script, before an informal audience.

Julie Ault
November 2013

Julie Ault (b. 1957) is an artist best-known for her work with Group Material, a New York-based collaborative active in the 1980s and 1990s. In addition to her work with Group Material and other ongoing collaborations, Ault's own practice has her assuming the roles of writer, curator, and editor. She has written extensively on—and often in collaboration with—a number of artists and filmmakers including, among others, Sister Corita Kent, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, James Benning, and Danh Vo. Ault discussed her career and current projects with David Breslin, Associate Director of the Research and Academic Program. Ault's practice is also the subject of a graduate seminar in the Williams College Graduate Program in the History of Art led by Breslin.

Georges Didi-Huberman
October 2013

Georges Didi-Huberman engaged in a wide-ranging conversation about his life, his intellectual pursuits, and his scholarship at this public event.

Didi-Huberman, a philosopher and art historian, teaches at the School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences (École des hautes études en sciences sociales) in Paris, where he has been a lecturer since 1990. He is a winner of the Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award for Writing on Art given by the College Art Association.

Born in Saint-Etienne on June 13, 1953, Didi-Huberman is the son of a painter. He studied philosophy and art history in Paris, complementing his studies in Rome (Academy of France), Florence (Villa I Tatti, Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies), and London (Institute of Advanced Study, Warburg Institute).

He has written many books including Images in Spite of All: Four Photographs from Auschwitz (2008); Confronting Images: Questioning the Ends of a Certain History of Art (2005); and Invention of Hysteria: Charcot and the Photographic Iconography of the Salpêtrière (2003).

Darby English- audio
September 2013

Darby English, the newly appointed Starr Director of the Research and Academic Program (RAP) at the Clark, engaged in a conversation with David Breslin, Associate Director of the RAP, in the Stone Hill Center.  As Starr Director, English will lead the program’s international agenda of intellectual events and collaborations and will oversee the Clark’s library and its active residential scholars’ program, all based on the Institute’s 140-acre campus. The conversation touched on English’s intellectual interests and his past and current writing projects. 

English graduated from Williams College in 1996 with a degree in art history and philosophy and earned a doctorate in visual and cultural studies from the University of Rochester in 2002. He served on the University of Chicago’s faculty from 2003 until assuming the Starr Director position, teaching modern and contemporary art and cultural studies. He served as the assistant director of the Research and Academic Program from 1999 through 2003.

 English is the author of How to See a Work of Art in Total Darkness (MIT Press, 2007), which has been called a “groundbreaking and lucid book [that] expands the social and intellectual context for recent African-American art.” [Maurice Berger, research professor, University of Maryland Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture].  In addition to numerous articles, essays, and reviews, English is also a co-editor of Kara Walker: Narratives of a Negress (MIT Press, 2003; republished Rizzoli, 2007). He is currently completing work on a new book, 1971: A Year in the Life of Color, which studies social experiments with modernist art undertaken over a period just prior to that year.

He is the recipient of fellowships, grants, and awards from the Institute for Advanced Study, the National Humanities Center, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts/Creative Capital Foundation, the Getty Research Institute, and the College Art Association, among others. In 2010, English received the University of Chicago’s Llewellyn John and Harriet Manchester Quantrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, the nation’s oldest such prize.

W.J.T. Mitchell - video
November 2012

W.J.T. Mitchell, Beinecke Fellow at The Clark and Gaylord Donnelley Distinguished Service Professor of English and Art History at the University of Chicago, engaged in a wide-ranging conversation with his friend and colleague, Michael Taussig, Class of 1933 Professor of Anthropology at Columbia University. The event was held at The Explorers Club in New York.

Mitchell is editor of the interdisciplinary journal, Critical Inquiry, a quarterly devoted to critical theory in the arts and human sciences. A scholar and theorist of media, visual art, and literature, Mitchell is associated with the emergent fields of visual culture and iconology (the study of images across the media). He is known especially for his work on the relations of visual and verbal representations in the context of social and political issues. His books include Seeing Through Race (2012); Cloning Terror: The War of Images, 9/11 to the Present (2011); and What Do Pictures Want? Essays on the Lives and Loves of Images (2005).

Taussig teaches cultural anthropology and has written on, among other issues, violence, terror, the abolition of slavery, color, shamanism, iconoclasm, and alterity. His books include What Color is the Sacred (2009); My Cocaine Museum (2004); and Shamanism, Colonialism, and the Wild Man (1987).

Hal Foster - video
October 2011

The Townsend Martin Class of 1917 Professor of Art and Archaeology at Princeton University and recipient of the 2010 Clark Prize for Excellence in Arts Writing, Foster is noted for his writing on contemporary art. His many publications include: The First Pop Age: Painting and Subjectivity in the Art of Hamiliton, Lichtenstein, Warhol, Richter, and Ruscha (2011), The Art-Architecture Complex (2011), Design and Crime (And Other Diatribes) (2011), Prosthetic Gods (2006), The Anti-Aesthetic: Essays on Postmodern Culture (2002), Recodings: Art, Spectacle, Cultural Politics (1998), The Return of the Real: The Avante-Garde at the End of the Century (1996), and Compulsive Beauty (1995). Professor Foster was joined by Robert Slifkin, Assistant Professor of Art History at the Institute of Fine Arts, at the Explorers Club in New York, to discuss how the relationships among criticism, theory, and history have changed since his generation of contemporary art writers came onto the scene in the 1980s.

Frank Ankersmit
April 2011

Professor of intellectual history and historical theory at the University of Groningen, The Netherlands. As a scholar and professor, Ankersmit has been an influential figure in philosophy of history and, in 2007, founded the Journal of the Philosophy of History. English translations of his published works include: Narrative Logic: A semantic analysis of the historian’s language (1983), History and Tropology: The rise and fall of metaphor (1994), The reality effect in the writing of history: the dynamics of historiographical topology (1990), and, most recently, Sublime Historical Experience (2005).

Hans Belting - audio
September 2010

Preeminent historian of medieval and early modern European art, as well as contemporary art and theory. His many books include Likeness and Presence: A History of the Image Before the Era of Art (1984), The End of the History of Art (1987), Hieronymus Bosch: Garden of Earthly Delights (2002), Art History After Modernism (2003), Thomas Struth: Museum Photographs (2006), and Looking through Duchamp’s Door (2010). Belting discussed  his life, his career, and his research with Dario Gamboni, Keith Moxey, and Charles (Mark) Haxthausen.

Svetlana Alpers
March 2009

Alpers’s books have fundamentally changed people’s understanding of seventeenth-century Dutch art, and of Rubens, Tiepolo, and Velasquez, among others. Alpers discussed her life, career, engagements, and interests with the Clark’s Starr Director of Research and Academic Programs, Michael Ann Holly, and Williams College Associate Professor of Art History, Stefanie Solum.

Leo Steinberg
April 2008

Celebrated art historian and critic Leo Steinberg has published and lectured widely on Renaissance, Baroque, and twentieth-century art. Steinberg discussed his distinguished career and professional accomplishments in the company of Michael Ann Holly.

Linda Nochlin
May 2008

Linda Nochlin, the distinguished feminist art historian, discussed her work, career, motivation, and engagements in the company of Michael Ann Holly and Aruna D'Souza, assistant professor of art history and women’s studies at Binghamton University, State University of New York.

For information on upcoming scholarly events, including Clark Conversations,
visit our calendar of events.