April 15, 2019

Williamstown, Massachusetts—The Clark Art Institute’s Research and Academic Program welcomes Clark Fellow Celeste Olalquiaga for a free public lecture, “In Quest of the Gorgon's Head,” on Tuesday, April 30 at 5:30 pm. The lecture will be held in the auditorium, located in the Manton Research Center.

The terrifying Medusa of mythical fame is a reinterpretation of an archaic apotropaion, or protective emblem, the Gorgoneion. Greek classic culture transformed this protective figure into a destructive one, creating a paradoxical icon of female fury and power.

Celeste Olalquiaga is a cultural historian dedicated to the contradictions and leftovers of modernity. Her books, Megalopolis (1992) and The Artificial Kingdom (1998), have been translated to several languages, and she is the recipient of Guggenheim and Rockefeller awards. In 2013 she founded Proyecto Helicoide, dedicated to rescuing the cultural memory of a futuristic ruin in Caracas, producing exhibitions there and in New York, and co-edited Downward Spiral: El Helicoide’s Descent from Mall to Prison (2018). At the Clark, she is working on a rereading of the myth of Medusa that focuses on its origins in the Gorgon and the evil eye. 


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. 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 or call 413 458 2303.
Press contact:
[email protected]