Clark Art Institute Presents Second Annual Conference April 6, 7, and 8

For Immediate Release

March 29, 2000

CLARK ART INSTITUTE PRESENTS SECOND ANNUAL CONFERENCE APRIL 6, 7, AND 8 International Group of Twenty-Five Distinguished Scholars to Speak at "Compression vs. Expression: Containing and Explaining the World's Art" WILLIAMSTOWN, MA

Twenty-five speakers from the United States, Britain, China, South Africa, India, and elsewhere will discuss the practical and interpretive challenges of combining the art of many cultures under one umbrella in a three-day international Clark Conference. "Compression vs. Expression: Containing and Explaining the World's Art" will be presented on Thursday, April 6, Friday, April 7, and Saturday, April 8, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Topics range from the role of the museum in presenting the world's art to the teaching of South African art history to the relationship between art and economics. Tickets for the entire conference are $75 ($50 for members and students). The cost for each individual day is $25 ($15 for members and students). To order tickets, call 413-458-2303, extension 324.

"All those who work with art, whether as curators, teachers, librarians, bibliographers, administrators, or writers, face a conflict between the need to compress and the desire to express," says John Onians, organizer of the conference and consultative chair of research and academic programs at the Clark. "This challenge confronts those who work with the art of more than one individual, place, period, or culture as they may even attempt to contain and explain the art of the whole world. This issue will only become more pressing with the increasing recognition of the range and complexity of art worldwide."

The conference will begin at 9:00 a.m. on Thursday, April 6 with opening remarks by Michael Conforti, director of the Clark, Michael Ann Holly, head of research, and Onians. Each day of the conference will have a morning session from 9:30 a.m. to noon and from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. The twenty-five speakers will present papers about the issues raised by compressing large bodies of art, whether into a museum, a university course, a library, a bibliography, a book, or a theory. Each session will end with a panel discussion and be followed by a reception.

The schedule is:

Thursday, April 6: "Art and Its Containing Institutions" Morning: "The Museum and the Exhibition" Chair: Richard Rand, senior curator, Clark Art Institute "The Museum Dilemma: Conservation versus Interpretation" by Edmund Pillsbury, former director of the Kimbell Museum, Fort Worth, Texas "Special Objects on Display: Attitudes to an Exhibition and to the Future Museum of 'Arts Premiers'" by Yves Le Fur, conservateur, Musée des Arts d'Afrique et d'Océanie, Paris "Exhibiting India: Compression, Aestheticization, and the Evolving Context" by Jyotindra Jain, director, Crafts Museum, New Delhi "The Silent Message of the Museum" by Fred Wilson, artist and guest curator, New York Afternoon: "The University and the Course" Chair: Charles W. Haxthausen, director, Williams College Graduate Program in the History of Art, Williamstown "From Microscope to Wide-Angle: Bringing the World's Art into Focus" by Sandy Heslop, University of East Anglia, Norwich, England "Prehistoric Art and the Art History Curriculum" by Whitney Davis, Northwestern University, Chicago "Assumed Knowledge: Undergraduate Demography and the Introductory Art History Course" by Renata Holod, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia "Around the Fourth World in Seventy Days: Art History and the Colonized Other" by Cecelia Klein, University of California, Los Angeles "Shaking Off the Shackles: From Apartheid to African Renaissance in the History of Art Syllabi" by Anitra Nettleton, University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg

Friday, April 7: "Global and Regional Perspectives" Morning: "The Library, the Database, and the International Organization" Chair: Kapila Vatsyayan, director, Indira Ghandi National Centre for the Arts, New Delhi "Per Non Lasciar Queste Carte Vote..." by Michael Rinehart, Bibliography of the History of Art, Williamstown and Paris "Between Art and Artifice" by Dominic Marner, Representative Library of World Art, Dublin and Norwich "Legal Conventions and the Construction of Heritage" by Derek Gillman, executive director and provost, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia "Heritage, Art, and Economics" by Georges Zouain, United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Paris "Cultural Perspectives in a Multi-Cultural World" by Arlene Fleming, World Bank, Washington, D.C. Afternoon: "Different Communities" Chair: Anitra Nettleton, University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg "So Post-Modernism Preceded the Renaissance? Some Views of Art in Africa" by El Anatsui, University of Enugu, Msukka, Nigeria "Eternal Mexico: The Compression of Esthetics and Art History Between Globalization and Nationalism" by Rita Eder, Istituto de Investigaciones Esteticas, Mexico City "Knowing when to Say Olé" by Djon Mundine, National Museum of Australia, Canberra "Anxiety and Expediency: Art History in China" by Cao Yiqiang, National Academy of Art, Hangzhou, People's Republic of China "The Reassembly of a Fragmented Heritage" by Kapila Vatsyayan, director of the Indira Ghandi National Centre for the Arts in New Delhi

Saturday, April 8: "The Ultimate Compression" Morning: The Book and the Theory Chair: Cao Yiqiang of the National Academy of Art, Hangzhou, People's Republic of China "Studying Aesthetics from a Global Perspective" by Wilfried van Damme, Afrika Museum, the Netherlands "Why is It Not Possible to Write Art Histories of Non-Western Cultures?" by James Elkins, Art Institute of Chicago "Violence" by David Freedberg, Columbia University, New York "World Art Histories and the Rise of Western Modernism" by David Summers, University of Virginia, Charlottesville "A Brief Natural History of Art" by John Onians, Clark Art Institute and the University of East Anglia, Norwich Afternoon: "The Audience" Host: John Onians The final session will be an open forum in which members of the audience are invited to make short statements and raise further questions under the different headings of the conference agenda.

Throughout the conference, an assortment of salads and sandwiches will be available for purchase at the Clark's Courtyard Café.

On Thursday and Friday, the galleries and museum shop will remain open until 7:00 p.m. "Compression vs. Expression" is the second Clark Conference sponsored by the Clark's division of Research and Academic Programs. The Clark Conference is an international forum for the discussion of issues raised by the study, presentation, and explanation of art, bringing together major scholars from around the world to debate a vital topic that might not otherwise be addressed. In 1999, the Institute presented "The Two Art Histories: The Museum and the University." In April of 2001 "Art History, Aesthetics, and Visual Studies" will address the role of aesthetic theory in art and visual culture.

The Clark Art Institute The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute is one of a handful of institutions in the United States that combines a public art museum with a complex of research and academic programs, including a major art history library. As such, the Clark functions as an international center in the museum field for research and discussion on the nature of art and art history.

The Clark was chartered in 1950 by Robert Sterling Clark and opened its doors in 1955, welcoming the public to a collection of artworks and books that he and his wife had assembled over the course of five decades. The collection is best known for Mr. and Mrs. Clark's extraordinary French Impressionist paintings, which take their place among a wider ensemble of masterworks that range from the Renaissance to the late nineteenth century. Among the highlights are works by Ugolino di Nerio, Piero della Francesca, Fragonard, Corot, Bouguereau, Turner, and an especially strong representation of American artists, including Homer, Cassatt, and Sargent.

The Clark is also noted for its fine holdings of decorative arts and old master and nineteenth-century drawings and prints. Its library has grown to become one of the nation's premier resources for the study of European and American art, containing more than 200,000 printed books, bound periodicals, and auction sales catalogues. Two major new initiatives of the Clark are: the Clark Fellowships, which brings leading scholars from universities and museums around the country and the world to Williamstown for up to a year, to develop, discuss and present their ideas and projects; and the conference and symposium program, which presents one major Clark Conference a year on a topic of vital importance to the field, as well as smaller symposia and lectures. This expansion of the Clark's activities further strengthens the Graduate Program in the History of Art, the country's foremost program of its kind, which is administered jointly with nearby Williams College.

The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute is located at 225 South Street in Williamstown, Massachusetts.  The galleries are open Tuesday through Sunday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Admission is free through May.  For more information call 413-458-2303 or visit

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