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First Clark/Oakley Fellow to Present Free Lecture on Péter Forgács and “Memory Practices” September 19 at the Clark

For Immediate Release

September 13, 2006

Kicking off the exciting program of fall Clark Fellows events will be Clark-Oakley Fellowship Professor Ernst van Alphen, presenting the lecture “Toward a New Historiography: Péter Forgács and the Aesthetics of Temporality” on Tuesday, September 19 at 5:30 pm. All fellows’ lectures are free and open to the public, and held at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute.

The ways humanshold knowledge about the past—in handwritten manuscripts, printed books, file folders, databases, photo albums, documentary film and video, archives, and the family album—shape the kind of stories told about the past and these kinds of activities are termed “memory practices.” Since the 1990s, the impact of memory practices in art and literature has been enormous. Should memory practices be seen as a celebration of memory, as an expression of the desire to look backwards, or, in contrast, as a symptom of a severe memory crisis or a fear of forgetting? Van Alphen’s lecture will attempt to answer this question by focusing on the work of Hungarian filmmaker and artist Péter Forgács whose films and installations are exclusively made up of material that he finds in an archive of home movies.

Van Alphen, a professor of literature at the University of Leiden, is a leading scholar on the relationships between literature, history and the image in modernity and post-modernity. He is the first Clark-Oakley Fellow, a fellowship jointly sponsored by the Research and Academic Program of the Clark and the Oakley Center for Research in the Humanities and Social Sciences of Williams College. Van Alphen will live at the Clark’s Visiting Scholars Residence and work in the Oakley Center. The fellowship was established on the initiative of former President of Williams and Clark Trustee, Frank Oakley, and is designed to bring an interdisciplinary scholar with scholarly concerns for art history and visual culture to Williamstown in order to enrich and bring together the Clark and Williams academic communities.

Van Alphen is the author of many books as well as articles on visual culture, holocaust studies and a wide variety of literary topics. Van Alphen is the recipient of many awards and fellowships, including fellowships at The Getty Research Institute and Cornell University, and has taught at the universities of Berkeley and Michigan.

Upcoming October fellows lectures include “Artists as Iconoclasts: Theories of Transformation in Medieval Islam” by Finbarr Barry Flood of New York University on October 3, and “The Vatican Apollo in the Musée Napoléon” by Heinrich Dilly of Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg, Germany on October 17.

The Clark announced 11 Clark Fellows for the 2006-2007 academic year. Fellowships are awarded to national and international scholars, critics, and museum professionals whose work extends and enhances the understanding of the visual arts and their role in culture. The program encourages a critical commitment to research in the theory, history, and interpretation of works from all periods and genres.

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. The institute 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, Massachusetts. 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 $10 for adults, free for children 18 and younger, 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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