October 26 Conversation Ponders the Fate of Old Masters in a Contemporary Art Crazed Era

For Immediate Release

October 16, 2008

In an era of the feverish pursuit for works by contemporary artists, museums with Old Master collections face special challenges. The “Old Masters, New Priorities” public conversation on Sunday, October 26, at 5:30 pm, marks the culmination of the inaugural Clark-Pulitzer Workshop, partnering the Clark with the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts in St. Louis. This free conversation, at which participants will discuss the ideas raised in the workshop, is open to the public and held in Stone Hill Center at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. Refreshments will be served.

During this conversation, distinguished guests from the museum and academic worlds will discuss how museums and collections of Old Masters are going to maintain the interest and attention of the new public of the twenty-first century, in an era when contemporary art dominates the media.

Participants will include Giles Waterfield,novelist, independent curator and director at Attingham Summer School and Royal Collection Studies; Martha Ward, associate professor of art history at the University of Chicago; Kulapat Yantrassat, partner of wHY Architecture; Stephanie Wiles, John G. W. Cowles Director of the Allen Memorial Art Museum; Eik Kahng, curator of 18th- and 19th-century art at the Walters Art Museum; Judith Mann, chief curator of European art to 1800 at the Saint Louis Art Museum; Richard Rand, senior curator at the Clark; Joseph Rishel, The Gisela and Dennis Alter Senior Curator of European Painting before 1900, and senior curator of the John G. Johnson Collection and the Rodin Museum; Matthias Waschek, director of the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts; Stephan Wolohojian, head of Paintings, Sculpture and Decorative Arts at the Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University Art Museums; James N. Wood, president and chief executive officer at The J. Paul Getty Trust; and Michael Conforti, director of the Clark.

This new partnership with the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts brings together scholars, architects, curators, and directors of museums in a two-venue weekend, starting in St. Louis and continuing in Williamstown. Both venues have the distinction of Tadao Ando designed buildings. The Pulitzer building opened in 2001 and is Ando’s first free standing public commission in the United States. Stone Hill Center at the Clark, Ando’s first museum project in the United States set within a dramatic rural setting, opened in June 2008.

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. It is one of only a few art museums in the U.S. that is also a major research and academic center, 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 June 1 through October 31 is $12.50 for adults, free for children 18 and under, members, and students with valid ID. Admission is free November through May.  For more information, call 413-458-2303 or visit www.clarkart.edu.

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