Scholars Discuss Contemporary African Art May 24 at the Clark

For Immediate Release

May 01, 2008

During the two-day Clark/Mellon workshop “Contemporary African Art,” scholars from Africa, Europe, and North America will gather for lively conversation and debate about contemporary African art. The workshop will be held at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, with a public portion of the workshop beginning at 9 am on Saturday, May 24. Admission to the event is free.

“Contemporary African Art” will address several issues in art historical scholarship about modern and contemporary African art. The workshop will include scholars working on key artists and art movements from Egypt to South Africa, from Senegal to Kenya. Many exhibitions and accompanying catalogues have focused primarily on Nigerian and South African artists and have largely ignored the prolific and important contributions of African artists of Arab or South Asian descent. This workshop, by contrast, addresses a diversity of under-explored ethnic and geographical areas in terms of scholarship within the field. In addition, it will present the work of scholars focused on a broad range of oft-neglected African artists, art movements, and collectives such as the Dakar Biennales and Morocco’s L’appartment 22.

Participants include: Meskerem Assegued (Zoma Contemporary Art Center, Ethiopia), Bassam El-Baroni (Alexandra Contemporary Arts Forum, Egypt), Christa Clarke (Newark Museum, New Jersey), Hassoum Ceesay (Gambia National Museum, Gambia), Elizabeth Harney (University of Toronto, Canada), Salah M. Hassan (Cornell University, New York), Abdellah Karroum (L’appartement 22, Morocco), David Koloane (The Bag Factory Artist Studio, South Africa), Anitra Nettleton (University of Witwatersrand, South Africa), and Chika Okeke-Agulu (Pennsylvania State University, Pennsylvania).

The workshop is organized by the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute with support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Getty Trust. This is the second of two Mellon-funded workshops on African art. The first two-day workshop took place at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, in October 2007.

The Clark is one of the country’s foremost art museums, as well as a dynamic center for research and higher education in art history and criticism with an international fellowship program, and regular conferences, symposia, and colloquia, and an important art research library. The Clark, together with Williams College, jointly sponsors one of the nation’s leading M.A. programs in art history, which has been part of the professional development of a significant number of directors of art museums, curators, and scholars.

The Clark is located at 225 South Street in Williamstown, MA. The galleries are open Tuesday through Sunday, 10 am to 5 pm (open daily in July and August). Admission is free November through May. Admission June 1 through October 31 is $12.50 for adults, free for children 18 and under, members, and students with valid ID. For more information, call 413-458-2303 or visit www.clarkart.edu.

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