September 4, 2019
[Digital image available upon request]
Williamstown, Massachusetts—On Sunday, September 28, at 2 pm, Darby English, the exhibition scholar for the United States Pavilion at the 2019 Venice Biennale presents a lecture on his participation in the biannual art fair. English discusses his involvement with contemporary artist Martin Puryear, whose works are the featured exhibition at the American pavilion during this year’s edition of the Biennale. Puryear’s Swallowed Sun (Monstrance and Volute) creates a major sculptural statement at the entrance to the exhibition Liberty/Libertà. English also contributed an essay to the exhibition catalogue, Martin Puryear: Liberty/Libertà.
English’s lecture, “Some Things You Can Do with a Dome,” is presented in conjunction with the exhibition Art’s Biggest Stage: Collecting the Venice Biennale, 2007–2019, on view at the Clark through October 14.

English is the Carl Darling Buck Professor in the Department of Art History at the University of Chicago and Adjunct Curator in the Department of Painting and Sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York. He served as the director of the Clark's Research and Academic Program from 2013 to 2015. English is the author of several publications, including the recently published Among Others: Blackness at MoMA (2019) that explores MoMA’s uneven historical relationship with black artists, black audiences, and the broader subject of racial blackness. He is also the author of How to See a Work of Art in Total Darkness (2007), 1971: A Year in the Life of Color (2016), and To Describe a Life (2019).
Art’s Biggest Stage: Collecting the Venice Biennale, 2007–2019 presents a unique look at the Biennale by showcasing the Clark library’s unparalleled collection of editioned artworks, books, posters, publicity materials, and other, more unusual objects produced in conjunction with the biannual contemporary art fair. The exhibition shares a selection of materials in the Clark’s growing collection and explores the questions of identity, nationhood, and spectacle central to the event. The exhibition offers insights into a period when contemporary art has received increasing attention in mainstream culture, when the art world’s geographic reach has expanded beyond its traditional centers, and when technology has reshaped how such events are encountered, both in person and online.
The Clark Art Institute, located in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts, is one of a small number of institutions globally that is both an art museum and a center for research, critical discussion, and higher education in the visual arts. Opened in 1955, the Clark houses exceptional European and American paintings and sculpture, extensive collections of master prints and drawings, English silver, and early photography. Acting as convener through its Research and Academic Program, the Clark gathers an international community of scholars to participate in a lively program of conferences, colloquia, and workshops on topics of vital importance to the visual arts. The Clark library, consisting of more than 275,000 volumes, is one of the nation’s premier art history libraries. The Clark also houses and co-sponsors the Williams College Graduate Program in the History of Art.
The Clark, which has a three-star rating in the Michelin Green Guide, is located at 225 South Street in Williamstown, Massachusetts. Its 140-acre campus includes miles of hiking and walking trails through woodlands and meadows, providing an exceptional experience of art in nature. Galleries are open Tuesday through Sunday, 10 am to 5 pm; open daily in July and August. Admission is $20; free year-round for Clark members, children 18 and younger, and students with valid ID. Free admission is available through several programs, including First Sundays Free; a local library pass program; EBT Card to Culture; and Blue Star Museums. For more information on these programs and more, visit clarkart.edu or call 413 458 2303.
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