Public Lectures

Annual Whitney Stoddard Lecture–Kelema Lee Moses

Kelema Lee Moses is an Assistant Professor of Art History at Occidental College whose work focuses on critical contemporary issues in the architectural and urban landscape of Pacific island cities. Her current book project, Island Modernism/Island Urbanism: Encountering Statehood in Honolulu, Hawai’i, suggests that island cities offer a place-based perspective… Continue reading »


Curatorial Fellow Adrienne Childs presents “Material Matters: Race and Materiality in the Decorative Arts.” A seventeenth-century ebony “blackamoor” cabinet, an eighteenth-century sterling silver slave candlestick, and a twenty-first-century black Murano glass chandelier are examples of decorative arts that figure into Childs’s examination of what she calls “Ornamental Blackness.” Childs… Continue reading »

Plonsker Family Lecture in Contemporary Art

Kenturah Davis is the featured speaker in this fall’s Plonsker Family Lecture in Contemporary Art. Kenturah Davis is an artist working between Los Angeles, New Haven, Conn., and Accra (Ghana). Her work oscillates between various facets of portraiture and design. Using text as a point of departure, she explores… Continue reading »


This public symposium will undertake a collective and comparative study of the art academy outside Europe and the United States as a way of defamiliarizing art and its associated practices in a global context. Speakers will examine case studies of institutions in Brazil, Turkey, Mexico, Japan, China, Colombia, Iran,… Continue reading »

Stoddard Lecture: Barry Bergdoll

Professor Bergdoll’s broad interests center on modern architectural history, with a particular emphasis on France and Germany since 1750. Trained in art history rather than architecture, he has an approach most closely allied with cultural history and the history and sociology of professions. He has studied questions of the politics… Continue reading »


The Williams Graduate Program in the History of Art Class of 2019 presents scholarly papers in its annual symposium. This keystone academic event is free and open to the public. FRIDAY MAY 31, 2019 9:00 am-5:00 pm Clark Art Institute Manton Auditorium… Continue reading »


Nora Rosengarten, the Judith M. Lenett Memorial Fellow, Williams College MA Class of 2019, discusses the subject of her yearlong conservation fellowship at the Williamstown Art Conservation Center: two early-nineteenth century globes produced by Josiah Loring in Boston, Massachusetts from the collection of Williams’s Chapin Library. Among the first… Continue reading »


Nature’s limitless possibilities inspired nineteenth-century artists who transformed hazardous weather, natural disasters, and the Earth’s darkest caverns into awe-inspiring portrayals of natural phenomena. Curator Michael Hartman, Williams MA ’18 and current PhD student at the University of Delaware, examines how the rise of popular science transpired into a cultural… Continue reading »

Berthe Morisot and the Making of Modernity

In the second half of the nineteenth century, Paris attracted women artists from around the world, drawn to the city’s academies, museums, studios, and salons. Guest lecturer Nicole Myers, Curator of European Art at the Dallas Museum of Art, discusses the often-overlooked work of these artists, as well as… Continue reading »

Lumi Tan: Envisioning Curatorial Practice

Lumi Tan is curator at The Kitchen in New York, where she organizes exhibitions and produces performances with artists across disciplines and generations. She co-curated From Minimalism into Algorithm (2016), a year-long performance and exhibition series. Recently, she has worked with installation artist Sara Magenheimer, performance artist Danh Vo, and… Continue reading »

Opening lecture–The Art of Iron

Before the advent of modern building materials, iron was used for everything from architectural gates and grills to household implements. Exhibition curator Kathleen Morris discusses some of the extraordinary objects included in the exhibition and what they tell us about bygone customs. Sunday, June 24  3-4pm Manton Auditorium… Continue reading »

Women Artists in Paris–Opening lecture by Esther Bell

In the second half of the nineteenth century, Paris attracted international women artists, drawn to the city’s academies, museums, studios, and salons. Curator Esther Bell considers the influential, often-overlooked work of these artists, as well as the barriers they encountered to their artistic education and expression. Women Artists in… Continue reading »

Joseph Rodriguez, Acclaimed Documentary Photographer, to Speak

Internationally recognized documentary photographer, Joseph Rodriguez, will speak about his life-long passion for recording the stories of people whose lives are often ignored by mainstream narratives. A recipient of the “Pictures of the Year Award” by the National Press Photographers Association, Mr. Rodriquez is the author… Continue reading »

Public Lecture: The Hagiography of Place

Mellon Decade Fellow Kevin Carr presents, “The Hagiography of Place: Illustrated Legends of the Zenkōji Triad and the Formation of Sacred Cartographies in Medieval Japan.” In medieval Japan, why did people make pilgrimages and donate to religious centers? What role did the visual arts, material culture, ritual, cartography, and… Continue reading »

Public Lecture: Take Two: On The Origins Of Graphic Design

Mellon Decade Fellow Renzo Baldasso presents, “Take Two: On the Origins of Graphic Design in Printed Books.” The lecture will focus on graphics revisions found in books from Gutenberg’s Bible to the Jenson’s early publications. Analysis of examples of page-design revisions will shed light on the origins of graphic… Continue reading »

Public Lecture: Rococo Thought Patterns

Lauren Cannady presents “Rococo Thought Patterns.” If eighteenth-century curiosity cabinets were repositories for the dead and ossified, the garden was a parallel cabinet that provided a space for the viable, for living curiosities. Given that the organizing principal of the garden parterre was applied not only to plants, but… Continue reading »

Public Lecture: Titus Kaphar Speaks: Making Space For Black History

Mixed media artist Titus Kaphar presents a free lecture, “Making Space for Black History: Amending the Landscape of American Art,” as part of Claiming Williams Day, a campus-wide program at Williams College that focuses on building and sustaining a more inclusive community. Kaphar—who demonstrates “the deliberateness of a surgeon coupled… Continue reading »

Lecture: Drawing and Experimentation from Van Gogh to Pollock

In the opening lecture for Drawn to Greatness: Master Drawings from the Thaw Collection, Jay A. Clarke, Manton Curator of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs, addresses the liberation of drawing between the 1880s to the 1950s as the medium’s function shifted from preparatory to independent. Saturday, February 3, 2018  3-4pm… Continue reading »

Opening Lecture: The Impressionist Line–Jay Clarke

In the opening lecture for the special exhibition The Impressionist Line: From Degas to Toulouse-Lautrec, Manton Curator of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs Jay A. Clarke considers the hallmarks of “the impressionist line” by exploring works from the exhibition, including luminous color lithographs by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, aquatints by Mary… Continue reading »

Lecture: Spyros Papapetros–“Ornament and Evolution”

Spyros Papapetros, associate professor of history and theory of architecture at Princeton University, presents “Ornament and Evolution.” Enmeshed with the life histories of flourishing or atrophying social, political, and cultural organisms, turn-of-the-century discussions of the controversial topic of ornamentation invited a number of analogies with evolutionist theories as reinvented… Continue reading »

Peter Trippi Lecture: From the Vanderbilts to Candid Camera

Few artists’ legacies have experienced the extreme highs and lows accorded to Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema over the last century. Since the 1980s, private collectors and museum curators have rediscovered Alma-Tadema’s many charms. Peter Trippi, co-curator of a large Alma-Tadema exhibition currently touring Europe, explores how and why these swings… Continue reading »

Opening Lecture: Picasso’s Creative Collaborations

This talk by Manton Curator of Prints, Drawings, and Sculpture Jay A. Clarke investigates how Picasso’s creative collaborations fueled and strengthened his art. We often think of Pablo Picasso as the ultimate artist genius, working alone in his studio, but he did not create in a vacuum. For example, the… Continue reading »

Opening Lecture: Ecologies, Agents, Terrains — Clark Conference

The Clark Conference “Ecologies, Agents, Terrains” begins its two-day conference with a presentation by Ghana ThinkTank. Ghana ThinkTank (GTT) is an artist collective known for its unconventional approach to negotiating social conflicts. Using a blend of public art and community organizing, they have been “Developing the First World” since… Continue reading »

Opening Lecture: Orchestrating Elegance

Co-curators Kathleen Morris and Alexis Goodin share stories behind the creation of the exhibition and show how this project brings back to life one of the great interiors of the Gilded Age.   Sunday, June 4, 2017 3:00 pm-4:30 pm Manton Auditorium… Continue reading »

Annual Graduate Program Symposium

Twenty-second Annual Williams Graduate Program in the History of Art Symposium The M.A. Class of 2017 will deliver individual scholarly papers throughout the day. Starts 9am Manton Auditorium, Clark Art Institute, 225 South Street… Continue reading »

Envisioning Curatorial Practice: Sarah Schultz

What does it mean to “curate the social”? Schultz’s talk will explore the role of social interaction and creative participation in contemporary museum practice. Currently an independent curator and public engagement consultant, she served as Director of Education and Curator of Public Practice at the Walker Art Center where… Continue reading »

Lynette Wallworth: Collisions

Lynette Wallworth is an Australian artist known for her immersive multimedia installations, which focus on the interactivity between humans and the natural world. Her most recent work is Collisions, a virtual reality investigation into the first contact between an indigenous Australian tribe and the momentous impact of Western expansion. Wallworth’s… Continue reading »

Opening Lecture–Lara Yeager-Crasselt on “Looking North and South”

In this lecture, “Looking Anew at European Prints and Drawings,” curator Lara Yeager-Crasselt introduces the exhibition Looking North and South: European Prints and Drawings, 1500–1650. Highlighting Dutch, Flemish, German, and Italian prints and drawings from the Clark’s permanent collection, Yeager-Crasselt explores the importance of artistic exchange across Europe in… Continue reading »

Opening Lecture for “An Inner World”: Lara Yeager-Crasselt

In the opening lecture for An Inner World: Seventeenth-Century Dutch Genre Painting, curator Lara Yeager-Crasselt explores the innovations in genre painting that emerged in the seventeenth-century Dutch Republic. Focusing on the significant developments in subject matter and technique pioneered by the fijnschilder (fine painter) Gerrit Dou and his contemporaries,… Continue reading »

Public Lecture–Mary Roberts: “An Orientalist Gesamtkunstwerk?”

Robert Sterling Clark Professor Mary Roberts presents “An Orientalist Gesamtkunstwerk? Frederic Leighton’s Arab Hall.” Throughout his career British artist Lord Frederic Leighton traveled extensively across the Near East amassing an exceptional collection of Islamic art. Distancing himself from prevailing conventions of realism in nineteenth-century British Orientalism, Leighton insisted he… Continue reading »

VaNatta Ford and Brynn Hatton talk on Jean-Michel Basquiat

VaNatta Ford (Assistant Professor, Africana Studies) and Brynn Hatton (Visiting Assistant Professor, Art History) host an informal conversation on Jean-Michel Basquiat and the dynamic cultural spheres that informed his multi-disciplinary practice circa 1983, the year he made “Defacement: The Death of Michael Stewart.” Thursday, Dec. 8th  4pm WCMA… Continue reading »

Tomashi Jackson Artist Lecture

Public lecture by artist Tomashi Jackson, sponsored by the Art Department. Jackson will speak about her new work, The Subliminal is Now, in which she utilizes painting, photography, video, and fibers in order to investigate and visualize the relationships between the Supreme Court Case Brown V. Board of Education, Josef… Continue reading »

Annual Whitney Stoddard Memorial Lecture

“Medieval Matters: Curating the Middle Ages at the Metropolitan Museum of Art” lecture given by Griffith Mann, the Michel David-Weill Curator in Charge, Medieval Art and the Cloisters, at the Metropolitan Museum in New York. Tuesday, December 6 at 7:00pm Lawrence Hall, L231 15 Lawrence Hall Drive, Williams… Continue reading »

Jay Clarke-Opening Lecture for “Japanese Impressions”

Exhibition curator Jay A. Clarke provides an introduction to Japanese Impressions: Color Woodblock Prints from the Rodbell Family Collection, followed by a conversation between Clarke and Adele Rodbell, the collector who made a gift of sixty-three Japanese prints to the Clark in 2014. Sunday, Dec. 11th 3-4:30pm Clark Auditorium… Continue reading »

Olivier Meslay: Director’s Talk

Olivier Meslay, Felda and Dena Hardymon Director, gives his first public talk since assuming his role earlier this year. Meslay, the fifth director of the Clark, discusses the Institute and his plans for its future. Sunday, November 13, 2016 1:00 pm-2:30 pm Manton Research Center… Continue reading »

Annabelle Selldorf Talk

Annabelle Selldorf, the architect for the Manton Research Center’s redesign, talks about her practice and her work. A conversation follows with curators Kathleen Morris and Jay A. Clarke, librarian Susan Roeper, and Research and Academic Program Director Emeritus Michael Ann Holly. A book signing follows the talk. Saturday, November… Continue reading »

Public lecture: Jeremy Melius on “Idolatrous Ruskin”

This lecture revisits the relationship between Victorian critic John Ruskin and his disciple and translator Marcel Proust in order to rethink key aspects of Ruskin’s investments in the past, present, and durational intensity of works of art, as well as to offer new insight into his fervent belief in language’s… Continue reading »

Sebastian Smee on The Art of Rivalry

The Boston Globe’s Pulitzer Prize winning art critic Sebastian Smee visits the Clark to discuss his acclaimed new work, The Art of Rivalry: Four Friendships, Betrayals, and Breakthroughs in Modern Art. Friday, Nov. 18  7-8:30pm Conforti Pavilion… Continue reading »

Elena Shtromberg lecture on the art of Cildo Meireles

Elena Shtromberg is Associate Professor in the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Utah. Drawn from her book, Art Systems: Brazil and the 1970s (University of Texas, 2016), this presentation will focus on a series of works with banknotes by the Brazilian artist Cildo Meireles. Continue reading »

Conversation With Susana Martinez-Conde

Dr. Martinez-Conde will use paintings from the exhibition Splendor, Myth, and Vision: Nudes from the Prado to talk about behavioral insights developed by Old Masters and how they used or challenged perceptual cues in their work. The program is hosted by the Clark and Williams College Program in Neuroscience… Continue reading »

Violence in the Air: Painting for King Philip IV’s Hunting Lodge

Between 1636 and 1638 Rubens designed over sixty paintings of mythological subjects for the Torre de la Parada, the Royal Hunting Lodge outside of Madrid. In this lecture Margaret D. Carroll, Professor of Art at Wellesley College, argues that Rubens conceived of a number of these works as pairs—for example, the Rape of Hippodamia and the Marriage of Peleus and Thetis in the present exhibition—that served to provoke dialectical reflection on such themes as passion and restraint, order and chaos, chance and reason, and violence and tranquility.  Continue reading »

Creating “Sensing Place”

Join curators Mark C. Taylor, Professor of Religion at Columbia University, and Henry W. Art, Robert F. Rosenburg Professor of Biology and Environmental Studies at Williams College, for the opening lecture of Sensing Place: Reflecting on Stone Hill. Sunday, July 10, 2016, 3:00 pm-4:30 pm. Hunter Studio, Lunder Center at Stone Hill. Image: Old… Continue reading »

Judith M. Lenett Memorial Lecture

Julia Silverman, Judith M. Lenett Memorial Fellow, Williams College M.A. Class of 2016, presents the results of her year-long conservation work in the 22nd Annual Lenett Lecture. Her project at the Williamstown Art Conservation Center (WACC) involves the research and conservation of three eighteenth-century engraved powder horns from the… Continue reading »

Faculty Lecture Series / Laylah Ali

Professor of Art, Laylah Ali, will deliver a talk titled “Relieving the Tedium: On my Attempts to Overthrow a Small Government and More Reflections from my Time as an Artist.” Reception in Schow Atrium to follow. Thursday, March 3 at 4:15pm to 5:30pm Thompson Chemistry, 123 (Wege Auditorium)… Continue reading »

The Challenge of Surrealism

Christian Thorne moderates a panel discussion to mark the publication of The Challenge of Surrealism: The Correspondence of Theodor W. Adorno and Elisabeth Lenk, edited and translated by Susan H. Gillespie. Saturday, November 21  3-4pm Conforti Pavilion, The Clark Center… Continue reading »

Collecting for the Clark–Lecture and Exhibition Opening

Collecting for the Clark: Twenty Years of Acquisitions tells the stories of collectors who have donated objects to the museum and how these new objects enhance the existing collection. Lecture: Sunday September 25th 11:00am Clark Center, West Pavilion In the lecture, Clark curators provide an overview of how these… Continue reading »

Project 562: Changing the Way We See Native America

Tuesday, May 5 at 4:30pm to 6:00pm Lawrence Hall, 231 15 Lawrence Hall Dr, Williamstown, MA 01267 Matika Wilbur, one of the Pacific Northwest’s leading photographers and a member of the Swinomish and Tulalip Tribes, has exhibited extensively in regional, national, and international venues such as… Continue reading »

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