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Belly dancer Dunya (Diane McPherson) is among the performers at the party, "A Postcard from Algiers," February 15.

Step into "A Postcard From Algiers" at the Clark's February 15 Party

For Immediate Release

January 23, 2003

The exotic atmosphere of nineteenth-century French Algeria will come to life at the party "A Postcard from Algiers" at the Clark Art Institute on Saturday, February 15, at 8:00 p.m. Celebrating the opening of the special exhibition Renoir and Algeria, the festivities will include Algerian inspired décor, live entertainment, and activities throughout the evening. Guests are encouraged to wear creative costumes or festive attire. The menu includes Mediterranean hors d'oeuvres, decadent desserts, a complimentary wine bar, and creative cocktails at the "Casbah Cash Bar." Tickets are $40 per person ($30 for members of the Clark). To order tickets, call 413-458-2303, extension 324.

Partygoers will begin in the Clark's courtyard, transformed with a refreshment "oasis" in the center, featuring both savory and sweet treats by caterer Megan Moore of Lenox.

Also in the courtyard, henna artist Stephanie Rudloe of Shringara will adorn the bodies of willing guests with her designs. Rudloe practices the art of mendhi, traditionally used to decorate the hands and feet of brides to nurture fertility. The natural henna "tattoos" last about twelve days. Rudloe's work has been featured in Harper's Bazaar and New York Magazine. Her celebrity clients include Madonna, Christy Turlington, and Vera Wang.

Musical entertainment will be provided by Haig Manoukian and Souren Baronian, who will perform on the oud (a Middle Eastern lute instrument), the dumbek (hand drum), and clarinet. The New York-based duo combines Middle Eastern and jazz music. Baronian studied clarinet with Turkish master Safet Gundeger and is also an accomplished percussionist. Manoukian has played with influential Greek, Armenian, Turkish, and Arabic musicians at the famous Middle Eastern clubs on 8th Avenue in New York City. The two were founding members of the jazz fusion group Taksim and the Transition trio.

Throughout the evening belly dancer Dunya will perform in the café. Dunya (Diane McPherson) has performed widely as both Middle Eastern dancer and concert dancer throughout the United States. She has been called "the best belly dancer in the world" by The Village Voice and "a vibrant performer...an unusual and talented choreographer" by The New York Times.

The "Casbah Cash Bar" on the bridge will feature such themed drinks as the "Pepe le Moka," "Camel Chaser," and "Orange Oasis."

Attendees will have the opportunity to preview the exhibition Renoir and Algeria, which opens to the public on February 16. The Clark's great painting Mlle. Fleury in Algerian Costume by Pierre-Auguste Renoir is the inspiration for this exhibition, the first devoted to the Impressionist artist's Algerian subjects. The show will feature studio paintings done in Paris as well as landscapes, portraits, and images of life in Algeria inspired by Renoir's trips in 1881 and 1882. Organized by the Clark Art Institute with guest curator Roger Benjamin, a leading scholar of French Orientalist art, the exhibition features about 15 paintings as well as French Algerian photographs and travel postcards. Renoir and Algeria is on view February 16 through May 11. Admission is free throughout the exhibition.

The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute is located at 225 South Street in Williamstown, Massachusetts. For more information call 413-458-2303 or visit www.clarkart.edu.

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