10 Highlights at The Clark in the Berkshires this Summer

Summer Highlights at The Clark
Williamstown, MA

American art takes center stage this summer at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, crowning a summer schedule that provides an exceptionally lively program of events and activities.

Headlining the season are two special exhibitions opening June 9: Winslow Homer: Making Art, Making History and George Inness: Gifts from Frank and Katherine Martucci. Both exhibitions are open until September 8. This summer also marks an important milestone for the Clark as it celebrates the fifth anniversary of Stone Hill Center on July 27.

Also on view through September 8 is the Kidspace exhibition Lions and Tigers and Museums, Oh My! at Stone Hill Center. This interactive, family-friendly exhibition is designed to spark questions of curiosity and to uncover the answers.

Special events, musical offerings, family fun, performances, and films round out the summer. Check out what The Clark has in store this upcoming season…

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Backstories: The Other Side of Art at The Clark

Backstories: The Other Side of Art on View at
The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute
December 22nd-April 21st in Williamstown

Works of art can lead a double life, with one side revealed to the public and the other hidden from view. In the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute’s exhibition Backstories: The Other Side of Art, these often hidden sides will come to light as a selection of works tell their little-known “backstories,” revealing when and how they were made, how they have been cared for by collectors, and the many changes they have undergone.

Museums and galleries use more than just the pieces displayed in the exhibits they show to identify them – the stories behind paintings, sculptures, and other creative works are often much richer than they seem at first glance.  Information like signatures, dates, and other notes can often be found on the back of paintings, while busts and vases often have information carved into their bases.  Artists also often used the reverse sides of their works to do sketches or make notes about their piece.  These markings and small bits of information can help viewers learn more about things like the historical context in which a piece was created, the previous homes and/or owners of the piece, and the materials used by the artist.

The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute is offering a special new exhibit, Backstories: The Other Side of Art, focused on these hidden stories!  On view between December 22nd, 2012 and April 21st, 2013, the exhibit is filled with works displayed non-traditionally so that viewers can inspect both sides of the story – literally!  Visitors can inspect the back sides of paintings, see interesting double-sided portraits, view preliminary sketches on the back of beautiful drawings, and examine all 360 degrees of a silver milk jug engraved with the names of all of its owners (including Benjamin Franklin!).

Exploring this exhibit with your family or students (or on your own!) can provide a powerful learning experience – youth of all ages can learn about the importance of looking at art within its historical context, offering exposure to basic skills in identifying art techniques, historical relationships, and time periods.  It can get them thinking about the backstory of other pieces of art too … maybe even spark an interest in researching the history behind other great works of art!

If your children or students have read and enjoyed E.L. Konigsburg’s book,  From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, they love this real-life explorations of the backstories of art!  This title would be great to pair with a visit to Backstories.

For more information visit www.clarkart.edu or call the Clark Institute at 413-458-2303.  The Clark is located at 225 South Street in Williamstown, MA.  Admission to the exhibit is included with regular museum admission ($).

Film Series Explores the Lives of Artists at The Clark this Fall

Old Masters in New Frames
Film Series Explores the Lives of Artists at
The Clark in Williamstown this Fall

The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute is offering a free film series featuring well-regarded feature films about seven famous artists.  Older students interested in art, art history, and film can learn about artists from varying time periods and artistic styles, and each screening will include an introduction and post-film discussion with museum curators and art educators.

Topics presented in the films include artist Andrei Tarkovsky and the history of medieval Russia, Italian Baroque painting and portraiture, and the art and life of Vincent Van Gogh (used to illustrate a film adaptation of Irving Stone’s novel Lust for Life).

While the focus of each screening is on a particular artist, their passionate lives and the history of their form of expression and/or the context within which their life and work took place, the film series offers a unique opportunity for older students to learn about periods of history not often included in traditional school history curricula.  The films themselves are also a valuable way to learn – learners who best absorb information when visuals are presented will enjoy the creative and aesthetically pleasing and dramatic ways in which information is conveyed.

Screenings will take place on Thursday evenings beginning September 20th at 7pm, and admission is free.  The Clark Institute is located at 225 South Street, Williamstown, MA.  For more information, call 413-458-2303. www.clarkart.edu

  • September 20 Thursday 7:00 pm: Andrei Rublev.  (1966, 205 min, Russian with subtitles)  Andrei Tarkovsky’s masterful epic explores not just the life and work of the famous icon painter, but the whole cosmos of late medieval Russia, in a cinematic classic of art, faith, and history.  Steve Satullo, film programmer for the Clark, will introduce the series and the film.  For the convenience of viewers, this film will be repeated on Friday 9/21, with Part One at 1:00 pm and Part Two at 3:00 pm.
  • October 4 Thursday 7:00 pm: The Mill & the Cross.  (2011, 95 min.)  Lech Majewski offers a unique portal — through special effects and dramatization — for entering the world of a Pieter Bruegel painting, with the artist himself (played by Rutger Hauer) as guide.  Keith Moxey, Chair of Art History at Barnard College and former Robert Sterling Clark Visiting Professor at Williams College, will provide context and commentary on the film.
  • October 18 Thursday 7:00 pm: Caravaggio.  (1986, 90 min.)  Derek Jarman’s bold experiment in portraiture tells the story of the scandalous Italian Baroque painter, played by Nigel Terry, with his muse and model played by Tilda Swinton.  Michael Cassin, director of the Clark‘s Center for Education in the Visual Arts, will tell tales about the painter and his world.
  • November 1 Thursday 7:00 pm: Edvard Munch.  (1974, 172 min.).   Peter Watkins’ brilliant docudrama follows the early life and career of the grim Norwegian painter, showing what led to The Scream.  Jay Clarke, Manton Curator of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs for the Clark and author of Becoming Edvard Munch: Influence, Anxiety, and Myth, will introduce and assess the film.
  • November 15 Thursday 7:00 pm: Lust for Life.  (1956, 122 min.)  Vincente Minnelli’s adaptation of the Irving Stone novel is an unusually serious Hollywood biopic, imbued with the colors of Vincent Van Gogh’s art and life.  Kirk Douglas gives an impassioned performance as Van Gogh, with Anthony Quinn as Paul Gauguin.  Perspective will be provided by Richard Kendall, Curator at Large for the Clark and author of Van Gogh’s Van Goghs.

Kids Can Curate an Exhibit for The Clark

Wanted: Museum Curators
Design Your Own Virtual Exhibit for The Clark

Not only will kids get a chance to practice executing their ideas, but the museum will be selecting some of the suggested shows for real life installation!

What goes into designing a museum exhibition?  How do the curators come up with an idea or theme, and how do they manage to bring together works to illustrate that theme or to convey an idea together as a whole?  The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, MA is now offering a resource that allows kids to experiment with creating their own museum exhibits!

The museum’s website now features a section called Remix, which is a virtual gallery featuring over 400 paintings, sculptures, and other items from the museum’s galleries.  Within Remix is a tool called uCurate, where kids can browse through pieces and design their own gallery shows!  Not only will kids get a chance to practice executing their ideas, but the museum will be selecting some of the suggested shows for real life installation!  Remix and uCurate offer numerous opportunities for kids to learn about art history, techniques of painting and sculpture, are theory, and more!  Check out the site at www.clarkart.edu and start curating! (Note: These applications work best using Google Chrome.)

Family Day at The Clark Celebrates the Exhibit, Picasso Looks at Degas

Family Day at The Clark Celebrates the Exhibit, Picasso Looks at Degas
Sunday, June 27th, 2010

Free Family Day at the Clark on June 27th, from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm, celebrates the exhibition Picasso Looks at Degas with art activities, dance and theater performances, ice carving, and more; includes free admission to the museum.

A spectacular FREE day of family activities on Sunday, June 27, from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm, will celebrate the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute’s summer exhibition, Picasso Looks at Degas, which examines Picasso’s lifelong fascination with the life and work of Degas. The day will feature art activities and workshops, entertainment for all ages, local food vendors, and more. Admission to the Clark’s galleries and most activities is free on this festive day. Registration for workshops and other programs is not required.

Ongoing, 11:00 am to 4:00 pm

Explore the grounds and enjoy fun performances and activities:

  • Gather your courage and ride the mechanical Spanish bull
  • Cool off at the “Take a Bath” water sprinkler park
  • Delight in the moveable Degas and Picasso statues
  • Watch ice sculptor Craig O’Connell of Images in Ice create a frozen masterpiece
  • Create a mix of bath salts, decorate a mirror, and paste together a Cubist cube
  • Enhance your hair with wrapping, braiding, and colorful extensions
  • Capture your movements in a flipbook and watch yourself jump, dance, and run
  • Learn to sculpt in a sculpture project inspired by Degas and Picasso

Other time specific activities, check clarkart.edu for times

  • Be mesmerized by the impassioned performance and dazzling footwork of critically-acclaimed Spanish flamenco dancer Inés Arrubla of Inés Arrubla Flamenco Dance Theater. “Inés Arrubla, what a dancer!  She is so subtle, so assured…Inés brought decades of tradition, passion and skill to the stage…it was spectacular.”–The Berkshire Eagle
  • Pay homage to Degas’s dancers with a special performance by members of  the Albany Berkshire Ballet
  • Learn to emulate the masters in a mono-printmaking workshop with artist Andrew Davis
  • Join Picasso People for an amazing performance that sets Picasso’s masterpieces into motion and brings more than a dozen of the artist’s people to life. Novel costuming and masks enlivened by music, mime, and puppetry translates the energy behind Picasso’s work into an array of clever stories and reveals how his life experiences inspired his creativity.

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