The Clark Art Institute announces its summer 2024 schedule, featuring a robust program of exhibitions, events, and activities. Leading its summer program is a major new exhibition of works by French artist Guillaume Lethière featuring some eighty paintings, prints, and drawings. Organized in partnership with the Musée du Louvre (Louvre Museum), the exhibition premieres at the Clark and then travels to Paris for an autumn 2024 exhibition at the Louvre.
“We are already looking forward to summer 2024,” said Olivier Meslay, Hardymon Director of the Clark Art Institute. “Our exhibition on Guillaume Lethière promises to be an exceptional opportunity to reintroduce this important artist to the world after nearly two centuries of his reputation languishing in history books. Curating this exhibition with my colleague Esther Bell is a joy as we work to bring Lethière’s amazing story to life through new scholarship, some remarkable discoveries, and a modern perspective on a fascinating period. Our summer will be rich with other wonderful presentations including a special overview of works from the Corning Museum of Glass, a fresh take on Edgar Degas’s artistic methods and techniques, and solo presentations of David-Jeremiah and Kathia St. Hilaire, who are both vital and emerging voices in contemporary art.”
The Clark’s summer exhibitions open on a staggered schedule, beginning in May. The program includes:
Kathia St. Hilaire: Invisible Empires
Lunder Center at Stone Hill
May 11–September 22, 2024
In the summer of 2024, the Clark’s Lunder Center hosts an exhibition of artist Kathia St. Hilaire (b. 1995, West Palm Beach, Florida), in her first solo museum presentation outside her home state. St. Hilaire produces highly worked figurative scenes on shaped, unstretched canvas through a relief printing technique that relies on a patchwork of inked linoleum panels. She then adds collage elements to the surface of these images, including fabric, foil, jewelry, and beauty products to produce a unique surface texture. The artist, who grew up in a Haitian diasporic community in South Florida, represents both historical events and legends from Vodou mythology with a visual language that she has described as magical realist. St. Hilaire’s newest body of work focuses on the so-called “Banana Wars”, conflicts prosecuted by the United States in the Caribbean and Latin America in the first quarter of the twentieth century that have, for the artist, shaped culture and geopolitics to this day.
This exhibition is organized by the Clark Art Institute and curated by Robert Wiesenberger, curator of contemporary projects at the Clark, and Tyler Blackwell, curator of contemporary art at the Speed Art Museum, Louisville, Kentucky.
The Clark, June 15–October 14, 2024
Musée du Louvre, Paris, November 14, 2024–February 17, 2025
Born in the French colony of Guadeloupe, Guillaume Lethière (1760–1832) was a key figure in French painting during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. The son of a white plantation owner and a formerly enslaved woman of mixed race, Lethière moved to France with his father at age fourteen. He trained as an artist and successfully navigated the tumult of the French Revolution and its aftermath to achieve the highest levels of recognition in his time. A favorite artist of Napoleon’s brother, Lucien Bonaparte, he served as director of the Académie de France in Rome, as a member of the Institut de France, and as a professor at the École des Beaux-Arts. A well-respected pedagogue, he operated a robust studio that rivaled those of his contemporaries Jacques-Louis David and Antoine-Jean Gros. Despite his remarkable accomplishments and considerable body of work, Lethière is not well known today. The exhibition, organized in partnership with the Musée du Louvre and featuring some eighty paintings, prints, and drawings, celebrates Lethière’s extraordinary career and sheds new light on the presence and reception of Caribbean artists in France during his time.
Guillaume Lethière is co-organized by the Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts, and the Musée du Louvre, Paris, and is curated by Esther Bell, deputy director and Robert and Martha Berman Lipp Chief Curator, and Olivier Meslay, Hardymon Director, with support from Sophie Kerwin, curatorial assistant at the Clark; and by Marie-Pierre Salé, chief curator in the Department of Drawings at the Louvre.
Guillaume Lethière is made possible by Denise Littlefield Sobel. Major funding is provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities: Democracy Demands Wisdom; with additional support from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, and the Robert Lehman Foundation.
Treasures from the Corning Museum of Glass
Michael Conforti Pavilion, Clark Center
July 4–October 27, 2024
For thousands of years, glassmakers have combined sand, minerals, heat, and air to create utilitarian and decorative objects. Drawn from the vast collection of the Corning Museum of Glass in Corning, New York, Treasures from the Corning Museum demonstrates how makers from across time and around the globe have taken inspiration from plants, animals, and other aspects of nature to create dazzling objects. Some twenty-eight objects or pairs ranging in time from antiquity to the present dazzle the senses and show a remarkable breadth of color, technique, form, and function. Highlights of the selection include glass from the legendary Venetian island of Murano; enameled glass made in early modern Europe and India; objects blown, cut, carved, assembled, and otherwise crafted with astonishingly varied techniques; Art Nouveau glass by artists including Louis Comfort Tiffany, René Lalique, and Steuben; and works by contemporary American and Asian glass artists.
Set in the evocative light-filled space of the Clark’s Michael Conforti Pavilion, each object provides a unique encounter with color, form, and pattern. Together these objects show the range of creative expression glass artists have achieved.
This exhibition is organized by the Clark Art Institute and curated by Kathleen Morris, Sylvia and Leonard Marx Director of Collections and Exhibitions and curator of decorative arts.
Generous support for this exhibition is provided by Robert D. Kraus.
Edgar Degas: Multi-Media Artist in the Age of Impressionism
Eugene V. Thaw Gallery for Works on Paper, Manton Research Center
July 13–October 6, 2024
This exhibition, timed to coincide with the 150th anniversary of the First Impressionist Exhibition, held in Paris in 1874, highlights the innovative and experimental practices of Edgar Degas in the realm of works on paper. In his pastels, drawings, photographs, and prints, Degas was relentless in exploring unusual media and processes. A range of works from the Clark’s permanent collection and other select loans from public and private collections offer a “behind-the-scenes” look at Degas’s innovative methods, materials, and supports. The exhibition also draws attention to Degas’s friendships with other Impressionist artists who were similarly inclined toward technical experimentation.
This exhibition is organized by the Clark Art Institute and curated by Michelle Foa, associate professor of Art History at Tulane University and Florence Gould Foundation Fellow at the Clark in spring 2024, and Anne Leonard, Manton Curator of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs.
David-Jeremiah: I Drive Thee
Clark Center and Manton Research Center
February 10, 2024–January 26, 2025
The Clark presents the fifth installment of its public spaces series with the artist David-Jeremiah (b. 1985, Oak Cliff, Texas; lives and works in Dallas), in his first institutional solo show outside Texas. This exhibition represents an overview of and conclusion to the artist’s cycle of large reliefs, rendered in enamel and rope on wood panel, and titled, collectively, I Drive Thee. David-Jeremiah’s muse has long been the Lamborghini, a fascination that is as much about the Italian sports car’s morphology and muscular design as its mythology, which is steeped in the tradition of Spanish bullfighting. In his semi-abstract works, the artist reads the ritualized violence of the bullfight as a lens on Black American masculinity, drawing out themes of nobility, cowardice, and glory through a singular language of forms. For the Clark, the artist presents a site-specific, multi-media installation that stages the ceremonial cremation of the final work in the series. This exhibition is accompanied by a small, illustrated publication featuring the artist’s writing, with its distinctive blend of unflinching incisiveness and mordant humor.
This year-long installation, free and open to the public, is organized by the Clark Art Institute and curated by Robert Wiesenberger, curator of contemporary projects.
ABOUT THE CLARK
The Clark Art Institute, located in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts, is one of a small number of institutions globally that is both an art museum and a center for research, critical discussion, and higher education in the visual arts. Opened in 1955, the Clark houses exceptional European and American paintings and sculpture, extensive collections of master prints and drawings, English silver, and early photography. Acting as convener through its Research and Academic Program, the Clark gathers an international community of scholars to participate in a lively program of conferences, colloquia, and workshops on topics of vital importance to the visual arts. The Clark library, consisting of some 300,000 volumes, is one of the nation’s premier art history libraries. The Clark also houses and co-sponsors the Williams College Graduate Program in the History of Art.
The Clark, which has a three-star rating in the Michelin Green Guide, is located at 225 South Street in Williamstown, Massachusetts. Its 140-acre campus includes miles of hiking and walking trails through woodlands and meadows, providing an exceptional experience of art in nature. Galleries are open 10 am to 5 pm Tuesday through Sunday, from September through June, and daily in July and August. Admission is free January through March and is $20 from March through December; admission is free year-round for Clark members, all visitors age 21 and under, and students with a valid student ID. Free admission is also available through several programs, including First Sundays Free; a local library pass program; and EBT Card to Culture. For information on these programs and more, visit clarkart.edu or call 413 458 2303.