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Scholar and writer Darcy Grimaldo Grigsby has been selected to receive the Clark Art Institute’s 2017 Clark Prize for Excellence in Arts Writing. Grigsby is the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Distinguished Professor in the Arts and Humanities at the University of California, Berkeley. The award presentation will take place on Saturday, April 7, 2018 during an event at the Milton Resnick and Pat Passloff Foundation in New York City.
“The Clark Prize raises awareness of the importance of writing that bridges scholarly and popular interest in the arts and seeks to encourage support for such writing among publishers, editors, and the public,” said Olivier Meslay, the Felda and Dena Hardymon Director of the Clark. “Darcy Grimaldo Grigsby’s writing is deeply rooted in serious academic tradition, but easily connects to the public through compelling prose and thoughtful analysis. We are delighted to recognize her work with the Clark Prize.”
Grigsby, who was born in the Panama Canal Zone, focuses her scholarship onthe history of art and material culture in France and the United States from the eighteenth to the early twentieth century, especially in relation to colonialism, slavery, and constructions of race. She writes on painting, sculpture, photography, and engineering, as well as the relationships among reproductive media and new technologies.
“I am deeply honored to be awarded the Clark Prize for Excellence in Arts Writing,” Grigsby said, “especially because my own priorities as a scholar and teacher so closely match its mission to honor ‘accessible prose that advances public understanding’ and ‘appeal[s] to a diverse range of audiences.’ What an admirable, generous, and profoundly political goal.
“As the daughter of a Panamanian immigrant, a single mother who was hard-working, financially strapped, courageous, accented, and brown,” she explained, “I long hesitated even to aspire to speak about art―an act that I perceived to be the prerogative of a white and typically male elite. How exclusionary can the heady mix of art and money feel to those who are not privileged! In response, my scholarship has been motivated by a commitment to equity, social justice, and the histories of overlooked and disenfranchised persons; thus my focus on slavery, empire, and revolution; thus my need not only to reexamine the canonical, but to analyze other kinds of neglected objects. As an educator at a public university under siege for lack of funding, the very university that introduced me to the field of art history, I attempt to enfranchise students, to empower them to question, resist, and find solace in art, to be curious about history, and to respect difference. Finally, I ask my students to analyze how the visual achieves what words do not, and―here is the kicker―to do so in writing. Art history’s paradox: finding words for what we see, the simplest, most elusive, and challenging of goals.”
Michael Ann Holly, Starr Director Emeritus of the Clark’s Research and Academic Program, led the 2017 jury for the Clark Prize. Other members of the panel included 2006 Clark Prize recipient Kobena Mercer, a scholar and critic, and David Breslin, the DeMartini Family Curator and Director of the Collection at the Whitney Museum of American Art.
“Darcy Grimaldo Grigsby has given us new, yet historically grounded, readings of canonical works of art and artists,” said Holly. “As such she is the first Clark Prize awardee in a few years who is an art historian rather than a scholar of modern and contemporary art. A versatile and graceful writer, she has published stunning essays on nineteenth-century figures ranging from the former slave Sojourner Truth to the influential French painter Théodore Géricault, among many others. Versed in interpretative modes of visual culture, such as postcolonial theory, psychoanalysis, and feminism, her writing is rich in historical detail with contemporary implications.”
About the Clark Prize
The Clark Prize is funded by the Beinecke Family through the Prospect Hill Foundation. It is accompanied by a $25,000 honorarium and an award designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Tadao Ando, the designer of two buildings on the Clark’s Williamstown campus.
The inaugural Clark Prize was awarded in 2006 to three individuals: Kobena Mercer, a writer and critic; Linda Nochlin, an art historian and leader in feminist art history studies; and Calvin Tomkins, author and art critic for The New Yorker magazine. In 2008 Peter Schjeldahl, the esteemed art critic for The New Yorker magazine received the prize, followed by art critic and Princeton University professor Hal Foster in 2010; artist, writer, and critic Brian O’Doherty in 2012; and poet and writer Eileen Myles in 2015.
Members of the Clark Prize jury were chosen for their long-standing commitment to the arts and their expertise in the field. Jurors serve as both nominators and judges. Individuals engaged in all forms of arts writing, including criticism, commentary, monographs, catalogue essays, and biography, are eligible for nomination.
For more information about the award event in New York, please call 413-458-0524.
History of Art Commencement exercises will take place on Tuesday, May 15th at 9:00 a.m. in the auditorium at BAMPFA. Save the date!
Check back for more information about our guest speaker.
Professor Julia Bryan-Wilson's new book Fray: Art and Textile Politics was selected by Holland Cotter as one of the "best art books of 2017" in the New York Times. Assistant Professors Atreyee Gupta and Anneka Lenssen both contributed to another publication on the list, Postwar: Art Between the Pacific and the Atlantic, 1945-1965 (Haus der Kunst).From The New York Times:"Textile art, sometimes called fiber art, once occupied ambiguous terrain in a now-obsolete art vs. craft divide. Julia Bryan-Wilson’s book goes beyond arguing for fiber’s aesthetic legitimacy to demonstrating its political agency. And she does so by considering an enthralling range of hitherto untapped material: fantastic costumes designed by the 1970s queer theater troupe, the Cockettes; hand-sewn tapestries produced by Chilean artists depicting torture under the Pinochet regime; and the still-growing NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt. Ms. Bryan-Wilson’s research is more than substantial, but her propulsive style makes the book a page-turner."
From the Letters and Science site:
"For art history major Ryan Serpa '17, color is everything.
"While researching pioneering figurative artist David Park for his thesis, nothing has been more powerful — or accurate — than viewing Park's work in person. Serpa received a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship, funded by private donors, that enabled him to get an up-close read on the paintings in museums and archives, including the Smithsonian.
"'I never would have had the funds to travel, nor the time to dedicate to the work, without this opportunity,' says Serpa. Bay Area figurative art arose in the 1950s during a period of rapid development and changing demographics, particularly an influx of black migrants. Serpa proposes that Park used color to subtly suggest race, while also eluding outright reference to it — impossible, considering the segregation laws at the time. To Serpa's knowledge, he is the first person to pinpoint this potential thread of inquiry, an extraordinary accomplishment for an undergraduate."
On Tuesday, May 2nd, History of Art undergraduate Ariana Pemberton will present her honors thesis "Geography, Identity, and Monumentality: Global Cosmopolitanisms and the Martand Sun Temple in Kashmir" at the Young Scholars Research Symposium: A celebration of student excellence organized by the South Asia Institute.
For more details: http://events.berkeley.edu/index.php/calendar/sn/csas.html?event_ID=106094
Assistant Professor Atryee Gupta will be joining the UC Berkeley History of Art Department faculty in the fall semester of 2017, and her first class here will be HA36: Asia Modern: Art + Architecture, 1800-present, offered Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:30-11am. Dr. Gupta's area of specialization is global modernisms and contemporary art, with a special emphasis on South and Southeast Asia and its diaspora. Her research and teaching interests cluster around visual and intellectual histories of twentieth-century art; the intersections between the Cold War, the Non-Aligned Movement, and art after 1945; new media and experimental cinema; and the question of the global more broadly. A more detailed look at her areas of specialization, a link to her full CV, and a list of her publications can be found at her faculty page.
Please join us for "Return of Ten Thousand Dharmas: A Celebration in Honor of Patricia Berger" on May 5–6, 2017.
Patricia Berger served as the curator of Chinese art at the Asian Art Museum, San Francisco from 1982 to 1994. She then returned to her alma mater to mentor another generation of graduate students as Professor of Chinese Art at the University of California at Berkeley. In celebration of her well-deserved retirement, we invite you to join her current and former students and colleagues to honor her contributions to the field. Professor Berger will deliver a keynote lecture on Friday, May 5 at the David Brower Center, followed by a one-day symposium on Saturday, May 6, 2017 in the Heyns Room at the Faculty Club. This event is free and open to the public.
For more information, please visit Return of Ten Thousand Dharmas: A Celebration in Honor of Patricia Berger, or if you have further questions, contact email@example.com.
Three students in History of Art have been awarded Undergraduate Merit Scholarships from the Institute of International Studies. These scholarships support undergraduate research in any area of international studies. Winners come from twenty-two different academic departments and six colleges and school.
History of Art scholarship winners for Spring 2017 are:
The Sun Temple of Martand: the Pinnacle of Kashmiri Cosmopolitanism and the Key to Surya Worship in India
Crafting “Worker’s Art”: Migrant Labor, Collective Authorship, and Artist Village in Post-Mao China
A Contextual Approach to Ancient “Graffiti”: Pictorial Codes and Motifs in Moche Religious Wall Paintings at Huacas de Moche
Lawrence Alloway: Critic and Curator (Getty Research Institute), which includes Julia Bryan-Wilson's contribution "The Present Complex: Lawrence Alloway and the Currency of Museums," received the Historians of British Art Book Award for best multi-authored work in 2015.
The award citation reads:
Lucy Bradnock, Courtney J. Martin, and Rebecca Peabody, eds., Lawrence Alloway: Critic and Curator, Getty Research Institute.
Lawrence Alloway (1926–1990) was a key figure in the development of modern art in Europe and America from the 1950s to the 1980s. He is credited with coining the term pop art and with championing conceptual art and feminist artists in America. His interests as a critic and as a curator at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York were wide-ranging, however, and included architecture, design, earthworks, film, neorealism, science fiction, and public sculpture. Early in his career he was associated with the Independent Group in London and although he was largely self-taught, he was a noted educator and lecturer. A prolific writer, Alloway sought to escape the conventions of art-historical discourse. This volume illuminates how he often shaped the field and anticipated approaches such as social art history and visual and cultural studies. Lawrence Alloway: Critic and Curator provides the first critical analysis of the multiple facets of Alloway’s life and career, exploring his formative influence on the disciplines of art history, art criticism, and museum studies. The nine essays in this volume depend on primary archival research, much of it conducted in the Lawrence Alloway Papers held by the Getty Research Institute. Each author addresses a distinct aspect of Alloway’s eclectic professional interests and endeavors.