Public conversation explores Greek and Roman art at Clark Art

Thursday April 18, 2013

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. -- The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute’s Research and Academic Program and the Oakley Center for the Humanities and Social Sciences at Williams College, co-sponsors of a colloquium entitled "Conditions of Visibility in Greek and Roman Art," will hold a public conversation and reception marking the colloquium’s culmination on Saturday, April 20 at 5:30 p.m. in the Clark Café. Participants share perspectives, engage in dialogue, and answer questions. The event is free and open to the public.

The colloquium and public conversation explore what the conditions of visibility were for "them" (the Greeks and Romans) and what the conditions are for "us" (modern academics, audiences, and viewers.) What were, and what are, the necessary and sufficient conditions for an image to be visible in the way art history needs it to be? Visibility in this extended sense is often an unstated premise of art-historical research: one tends to assume that the objects of study were there to be seen, even as it is claimed that one can instruct on how to "look" and how to "see." Yet, as colloquium participants will discuss, visibility is a quintessentially political phenomenon, a question of access and acculturation. This conversation will explore these issues and how to bring the study of Classical art into more productive conversations with other areas of art history.

Convening the colloquium are Jas’ Elsner (Humfry Payne Senior Research Fellow in Classical Art at Corpus Christi College, Oxford), Guy Hedreen (professor of art, Williams College), Richard Neer (William B. Ogden distinguished service professor of art history, cinema & media studies, and the College of the University of Chicago), and Verity Platt (associate professor of classics, Cornell University).

The Oakley Center for the Humanities and Social Sciences at Williams College was established in 1985 to support faculty research across the humanities and social sciences, with a special emphasis on interdisciplinary work.

About the Clark

The Clark is located at 225 South St. in Williamstown, Mass. The galleries are open Tuesday through Sunday from September through June (daily in July and August), 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free through June 8; free year-round for Clark members, children 18 and younger, and students with valid ID; and $15 June 9, 2013 through September 8, 2013. For more information, call 413-458-2303 or visit

The Clark’s library will be closed for renovation June 1 through September 3.


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