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For Immediate Release
February 28, 2022
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CLARK ART INSTITUTE NAMES HELEN MOLESWORTH AND HILTON ALS AS RECIPIENTS OF 2022 CLARK PRIZE FOR EXCELLENCE IN ARTS WRITING

 

Williamstown, Massachusetts—Helen Molesworth and Hilton Als will receive the 2022 Clark Prize for Excellence in Arts Writing. Molesworth is a writer and a curator. Als is a writer for The New Yorker magazine and a curator and teaching professor.

“The Clark Prize raises awareness of the importance of writing that bridges scholarly and popular interest and seeks to encourage support for clear and engaging writing that inspires readers to connect with the arts,” said Olivier Meslay, the Hardymon Director of the Clark Art Institute. “Helen Molesworth and Hilton Als are two of the most interesting writers in the field today, producing compelling and thought-provoking prose. Celebrating the work of both Helen and Hilton through the award of the Clark Prize is doubly delightful.”

Als is a Pulitzer Prize-winning staff writer and a theater critic for The New Yorker magazine. He is the curator of the recent exhibition, Toni Morrison's Black Book, at the David Zwirner Gallery, New York, and is the author of several books including The Women (1996), White Girls (2013), and Alice Neel, Uptown (2017). Based in New York, Als is a teaching professor at the University of California, Berkeley and an associate professor of writing at Columbia University’s School of the Arts. 

“I can't tell you how moved and encouraged I feel by this honor,” Als said. “My predecessors are all writers and thinkers I admire and continue to learn from. To be in their august company, and to be acknowledged by the great Clark Art Institute, feels extraordinary because it is.”

Based in Los Angeles, Molesworth’s esteemed career as a curator is the basis of her ever-expanding sphere of projects. Most recently, she hosted PROGRAM, two days of live-streamed interviews with artists and writers hosted by the David Zwirner Gallery; presented the Recording Artists podcast with the Getty Institute; and organized the group exhibition Feedback for The School gallery in Kinderhook, New York. She is the author of numerous catalogue essays and her articles have appeared in Artforum, Art Journal, Documents, and October

“It’s a wonderful honor to receive the Clark Prize. Though, truth be told, I find the company I’m in, from my PhD advisor Hal Foster, to one of my favorite poets Eileen Myles, to Kobena Mercer, whose version of art history has always been a beacon, even more pleasing than receiving the prize itself,” Molesworth said. “That I should share this honor with Hilton Als, one of our most important public intellectuals, is as flattering as it is joyful."

Meslay led the 2022 jury for the Clark Prize. Other members of the panel included João Ribas, Steven D. Lavine Executive Director of REDCAT, the Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater; Sebastian Smee, Pulitzer Prize-winning art critic for The Washington Post; Julia Bryan Wilson, Doris and Clarence Malo Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art, University of California, Berkeley; Kobena Mercer, Professor in History of Art and African American Studies, Yale University and a 2006 Clark Prize recipient; Marc Gotlieb, Halvorsen Director of the Williams College Graduate Program in the History of Art; Esther Bell, the Clark’s Robert and Martha Berman Lipp Chief Curator; and Caroline Fowler, the Starr Director of the Clark’s Research and Academic Program.

An event honoring Molesworth and Als with the presentation of the Clark Prize will take place later this spring. 

ABOUT HILTON ALS
Hilton Als became a staff writer at The New Yorker in 1994 and a theatre critic in 2002. He began contributing to the magazine in 1989, writing pieces for “The Talk of the Town.”

Before coming to The New Yorker, Als was a staff writer for the Village Voice and an editor-at-large at Vibe. In 2017, Als curated Alice Neel, Uptown, which was named one of the ten best exhibitions of the year by Artforum. His accompanying book on the artist was also widely praised. His book, White Girls, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the winner of the Lambda Literary Award in 2014.  

The recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for criticism in 2017, Als received Lambda Literary’s Trustee Award for Excellence in Literature in 2016. He received the George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism for 2002-03 and was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2000.

Als is a teaching professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and an associate professor of writing at Columbia University’s School of the Arts. He previously taught at Yale University, Wesleyan University, and Smith College. 

ABOUT HELEN MOLESWORTH
Helen Molesworth is an internationally recognized curator specializing in contemporary art. 

Her major museum exhibitions include One Day at a Time: Manny Farber and Termite Art; Leap Before You Look: Black Mountain College 1933–1957; Dance/Draw; This Will Have Been: Art, Love & Politics in the 1980s; Part Object Part Sculpture; and Work Ethic

She has organized monographic exhibitions of Ruth Asawa, Moyra Davey, Noah Davis, Louise Lawler, Steve Locke, Anna Maria Maiolino, Josiah McElheny, Kerry James Marshall, Catherine Opie, Amy Sillmanand Luc Tuymans. Molesworth has held head curatorial positions at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; the Harvard University Art Museums; and the Wexner Center for the Arts.  

The recipient of a 2021 Guggenheim Fellowship, Molesworth received the 2011 Bard Center for Curatorial Studies Award for Curatorial Excellence.

ABOUT THE CLARK PRIZE
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 two buildings on the Clark’s Williamstown campus.

The inaugural Clark Prize was awarded in 2006 to three individuals: Kobena Mercer, educator, writer and critic; Linda Nochlin, 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; artist, writer, and critic Brian O’Doherty in 2012; poet and writer Eileen Myles in 2015; and art historian and writer Darcy Grimaldo Grigsby in 2017.

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. 

ABOUT THE CLARK ART INSTITUTE
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 285,000 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 10 am to 5 pm Tuesday through Sunday, from September through June, and daily in July and August. Advance timed tickets are strongly recommended. Admission is $20. During the run of the As They Saw It exhibition (March 5–May 30), all veterans, active-duty military members, and their families receive free admission. Admission is also free on a year-round basis for Clark members, all visitors age 21 and under, and students with a valid student 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. 

Visitors age five and older are required to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination prior to entering the Clark’s facilities and are required to wear face masks at all times while indoors, and outdoors when social distancing is not possible. For details on health and safety protocols, visit clarkart.edu/health

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