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For Immediate Release
October 6, 2015
[Digital image available upon request]

Clark Art Institute to Award Clark Prize
for Excellence in Arts Writing to Eileen Myles

Williamstown, Massachusetts—The Clark Art Institute has selected poet and writer Eileen Myles as the recipient of the 2015 Clark Prize for Excellence in Arts Writing. Established in 2006, the Clark Prize recognizes insightful and accessible prose that advances a genuine understanding and appreciation of the visual arts.

“The Clark Prize underscores the Institute’s emphasis on promoting scholarship while encouraging public appreciation of art,” said Francis Oakley, interim director of the Clark. “Through her work, Eileen Myles has inspired new ideas and discourse on modern society, connecting literature and other artistic practices in fresh and provocative ways. Her selection as the recipient of this year’s Clark Prize recognizes her authentic voice, her pioneering work, and her unbridled curiosity and creativity.”

Eileen Myles is the author of nineteen books including the 2015 collection I Must Be Living Twice: New & Selected Poems, and a reissue of her seminal work, Chelsea Girls, (both Ecco/Harper Collins). She teaches creative writing at New York University and Naropa University, Boulder, Colorado. Among her many honors, Myles has received a Guggenheim Fellowship in non-fiction, an Andy Warhol/Creative Capital art writers’ grant, a Lambda Book Award, the Shelley Prize from The Poetry Society of America, an award from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, and was named to the Slate/Whiting Second Novel List.

“Being an art writer has always seemed a sparkling adjunct to being a poet,” said Myles. “Our capacity to get drawn towards, and even befriend and be befriended by the most interesting contemporary artists, becomes both second nature and a work outside poetry that exhilarates and refreshes our own practice. Art really quickly shows us time.”

Myles’s selection was made earlier this year by the members of the 2015 Clark Prize jury: Iwona Blazwick, Brian Dillon, Wayne Koestenbaum, and Abdellah Karroum. The presentation of the award will be made on December 7 at an event in New York City.

Her notable and influential writings include The Importance of Being Iceland: Travel Essays in Art; Not MeInferno; and Snowflake/Different Streets. Her essay “Street Retreat” was part of the Semiotext(e) installation at the 2014 Whitney Biennial, and her essay “Twice” is in the catalogue of the 2014 Liverpool Biennial. She has recently written about Shannon Ebner for ICA Miami, and Marilyn Minter for the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston. The current issue of The Paris Review includes an article, “Eleven Favorites,” in which Myles reflects on some of her favorite artists and writes about each.
Since coming on the arts scene by reading her poetry at famed New York City music club CBGB in 1974, Myles has embraced a variety of creative platforms, including writing poetry, fiction, and essays, as well as creating plays, performances, and libretti. She has been described as poetry’s rock star, “a lesbian culture hero,” and by Holland Cotter in The New York Times, “a cult figure to a generation of post-punk females forming their own literary avant-garde.” Her work has appeared in and has been recognized by numerous publications, including Harper’sThe New YorkerThe New York TimesThe Paris ReviewThe Brooklyn Rail, and Artforum.

The Clark Prize for Excellence in Arts Writing raises awareness of the importance of writing that bridges scholarly and popular interest in the arts and seeks to encourage support for such writing among publishers, editors, and the public.

The Clark Prize is funded by the Beinecke Family through the Prospect Hill Foundation. It is accompanied by a $25,000 honorarium and an award designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Tadao Ando, the designer of both the Clark Center and the Lunder Center at Stone Hill on the Institute’s Williamstown campus.

The inaugural Clark Prize was awarded in 2006 to three individuals: Kobena Mercer, a writer and critic; Linda Nochlin, an art historian and leader in feminist art history studies; and Calvin Tomkins, author and art critic for The New Yorker magazine. In 2008 Peter Schjeldahl, the esteemed art critic for The New Yorker magazine received the prize, followed by art critic and Princeton University professor Hal Foster in 2010, and artist, writer, and critic Brian O’Doherty in 2012.

Members of the Clark Prize jury were chosen for their long-standing commitment to the arts and their expertise in the field. Jurors serve as both nominators and judges. Individuals engaged in all forms of arts writing, including criticism, commentary, monographs, catalogue essays, and biography, are eligible for nomination.

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 240,000 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 is located at 225 South Street in Williamstown, Massachusetts. Galleries are open Tuesday through Sunday, 10 am to 5 pm. Admission is $20; free year-round for Clark members, children 18 and younger, and students with valid ID. For more information, visit or call 413 458 2303.

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