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Monuments in Peril Series Continues with “Killing Memory” on October 15

For Immediate Release

September 24, 2009

The Balkan wars at the end of the twentieth century caused the deaths of 150,000 people and the forced dislocation of millions more, targeted for persecution because of their cultural and religious identity. On Thursday, October 15, at 7 pm, András Riedlmayer, bibliographer in Islamic art and architecture at Harvard’s Fine Arts Library, will speak about his work in the Balkans and about the growing recognition of the links between the protection of cultural heritage and human rights. This free lecture “Killing Memory: Cultural Heritage Under Fire in the Balkan Wars of the 1990s,” part of the Monuments in Peril Series, is held at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute.

Riedlmayer has spent the past fifteen years documenting attacks on cultural heritage in the wars in Bosnia, Croatia, and Kosovo. He has testified about his findings as an expert witness before the UN war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and has written and lectured widely on the subject.

The violence against human beings during the Balkan wars was accompanied by systematic attacks on their heritage—hundreds of historic mosques, churches and other architectural monuments destroyed, libraries and archives burned. A European Parliament report from 1993 termed it “a cultural catastrophe in the heart of Europe.”

Whether from the ravages of time or war, the pressures of development and change, or simple neglect, iconic monuments around the world face an uncertain future. In the Monuments in Peril Series, the Clark examines the world's most important monuments and the struggles they have faced in the past and continue to face. The series continues in 2010 on the fate of art in war with “The Rape of Europa: The Fate of Europe's Treasures in the Third Reich and the Second World War” with Lynn Nicholas on February 28 at 3 pm (the film The Rape of Europa will be shown on February 28 at 12:30 and March 3 at 1 pm), “Ransacking Iraq: The Destruction of the Iraqi National Museum” with Magnus Bernhardsson on March 2 at 7 pm, and a Monuments in Peril panel discussion on March 5 at 7 pm.

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

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