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For Immediate Release
February 8, 2021

CLARK ART INSTITUTE’S RESEARCH AND ACADEMIC PROGRAM LAUNCHES SECOND SEASON OF PODCAST SERIES ON ART SCHOLARSHIP


Williamstown, Massachusetts—The Clark Art Institute’s Research and Academic Program premieres the second season of its podcast series in February. In the Foreground: Conversations on Art & Writing considers art’s role in society, how knowledge is shared, the way histories are made, and the personal stakes of scholarship. 

Each episode offers a lively, in-depth look into the life and mind of a scholar or artist working with art historical or visual material. Discussions touch on guests’ current research projects, career paths, and significant texts, mentors, and experiences that have shaped their thinking. 

Caroline Fowler, Starr Director of the Research and Academic Program, said of the series, “The foundation of the Research and Academic Program at the Clark is holding space for difficult and important conversations that move art history and museums forward. With this podcast, we aim to make these conversations accessible to audiences beyond the walls and seminar rooms of the Clark Art Institute, and to give a platform to feature the artists, critics, writers, curators, and historians that we think are changing and challenging the world we live in today.” 

Eleven episodes are planned for this season, which will run from February through May.

Episode 1 – February 9 
“How to Look with Soft Eyes”: Darby English on Description as Method  

Darby English, the Carl Darling Buck Professor of Art History at the University of Chicago, discusses Dutch Golden Age painting, the vital role of description in art historical writing, and the necessity of developing “soft,” slow looking. 

Episode 2 – February 16 
“Unpacking My Identity”: Genevieve Gaignard on Race in America and the Impossibility of Home  

Los Angeles–based artist Genevieve Gaignard reflects on her residency at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and how her practice fits within the predominately white demographic of the Berkshires compared to her diverse creative community in Los Angeles. She also discusses her 2020 exhibition A Long Way From Home and contemplates the ways in which her collages and photographic self-portraits engage with racial stereotypes, particularly in the polarized contemporary political landscape.

Episode 3 – February 23 
“A Gesture of Reciprocity”: Souleymane Bachir Diagne on Translation and Restitution  

Souleymane Bachir Diagne, professor in the departments of French and philosophy and director of the Institute of African Studies at Columbia University, reflects on his early studies in Senegal as well as formative experiences studying with Louis Althusser and Jacques Derrida in Paris. He revisits his role in creating the Dakar Biennale and shares his thoughts on restitution and the arts of Africa. 

Episode 4 – March 2 
“A Database is an Argument”: Anne Helmreich on Digital Humanities and Art History 

Anne Helmreich, an art historian and digital humanist who currently serves as associate director of the Getty Foundation, recounts how she veered away from law school to pursue art history. She reflects on how she first encountered digital humanities, and why for nearly fifteen years she has explored the possibilities of what this burgeoning field might open for art history.

Episode 5 – March 9 
“When is This?”: Brian Michael Murphy on Media Archaeology and Preservation 

In this, the first of a series of four episodes focused on sound, media, and art, Brian Michael Murphy, a writer and media archaeologist who is a faculty member in media studies at Bennington College, explores intersections between race and the materiality of media, and examines how media technologies represent and reshape human experience.

Episode 6 – March 16 
“The Sound Can Touch You Directly”: Christina Kubisch on Electronic Sound Art 

In this second episode in the mini-series focused on sound, Christina Kubisch, a pioneer of sound art, describes her formative training in music and painting, growing up in postwar Germany, and her reinvention of technology and media in her artistic practice. 

Episode 7 – March 23 
“Perception is a Form of Sampling”: Christoph Cox on Materialities of Sound  

In this third episode of the mini-series on sound, Christoph Cox, professor of philosophy and dean of faculty at Hampshire College, describes how he views music writing as a kind of fieldwork and reflects on the ethical implications of how we think about the nature of sound as object, as materiality, and as a perennial flow.

 Episode 8 – March 30 
“Sound is a Dimension of Reality”: Robin James on Theorizing Sound, Race, and Gender   

In this fourth episode in the mini-series on sound, Robin James, associate professor of philosophy at the University of North Carolina in Charlotte, explores the intersections of pop music, sound studies, feminism, race, and contemporary continental philosophy. 

Episode 9 – April 13 
“Moving Across that Threshold”: Alisa LaGamma on Curating the Arts of Africa 

Alisa LaGamma, a specialist of African art and curator at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, discusses the formative influence of her childhood spent in the Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Nigeria, Togo, Senegal, South Africa, and Italy and reflects on several of her exhibition projects that have sought to anchor African art historically and conceptually.

Episode 10 – April 27 
“Where the Impossible is Possible”: Saundra Weddle and Lisa Pon on Collaboration and Renaissance Studies 

Two scholars of Renaissance art and architecture, Saundra Weddle, professor of architecture at Drury University, and Lisa Pon, professor of art history at the University of Southern California, discuss how they met one another by chance in a hostel while studying in Italy as graduate students, and how their thirty-year-friendship has shaped their professional work. 

Episode 11 – May 4 
“‘Others’ of Various Kinds”: J. Vanessa Lyon on Intersectionality as an Early Modern Scholar 

J. Vanessa Lyon, who teaches the histories of art at Bennington College, discusses the influence of her graduate studies in theology and how she views teaching as a politics of care. She also describes her experiences as a queer woman of color working on “Old Masters” like Rubens and contemplates reverberations between early modern and contemporary art.

The podcast is produced by Caroline Fowler, Caitlin Woolsey, and Samantha Page, with music by lightchaser and sound editing by John Buteyn. Additional support is provided by Jessie Sentivan, Alice Matthews, Gabriel Almeida Baroja, and Yubai Shi. For more information and to listen to the episodes, check clarkart.edu/rap/podcast, iTunes, Spotify, and anywhere else you listen to podcasts. 

ABOUT THE CLARK

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. 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; and EBT Card to Culture. For more information on these programs and more, visit clarkart.edu or call 413 458 2303. 

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