For Immediate Release
November 6, 2019
Williamstown, Massachusetts—Join five distinguished scholars and artists for a public roundtable on the history and future of representation within museums on Friday, November 22, at 6:00 pm. The Clark Art Institute’s Research and Academic Program presents “The Object of Performance—A Conversation among Artists, Curators, and Scholars” for meaningful discussion and institutional critique.

Three contemporary artists lead the first part of the discussion. Performance artist and Cornelius Vanderbilt Endowed Chair of Fine Arts at Vanderbilt University MarĂ­a Magdalena Campos-Pons; Los Angeles–based photographer and installation artist Genevieve Gaignard; and painter, sculptor, and installation artist and artist in residence at Bard College Jeffrey Gibson discuss learning from the past to produce new narratives for the spaces of the nation’s historic museums and the need for activating history in new and urgent ways.
Cheryl Finley, the inaugural Distinguished Visiting Director of the Atlanta University Center Art History + Curatorial Studies Collective, and Dorothy Moss, curator of painting, sculpture, and performance art at the National Portrait Gallery and coordinating curator of the Smithsonian American Women’s History Initiative, then lead a discussion on performance art. They explore how performance art is transforming the capacity of America’s museums to represent the experiences of those historically excluded and illuminate what artist Titus Kaphar calls their “active absence.” They also consider how the object of performance can force museums to implement structural change—in leadership, programming, acquisitions, and operations—in order to remain relevant for contemporary artists and their audiences as well as future generations.

This program is made possible by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The event will be held in the Clark’s auditorium, located in the Manton Research Center, and is free and open to the public.
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.
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