Clark Art Institute Presents Lecture on Dine (Navajo) Artists Bertha and Fred Stevens Oct 29

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On Tuesday, October 29, at 5:30 pm, the Clark Art Institute’s Research and Academic Program hosts a lecture by Clark Fellow Jessica Horton, assistant professor of modern and contemporary art history at the University of Delaware. Horton’s lecture, “Earth Diplomacy: Diné Arts of Reciprocity, 1966–1968,” will be held in the Clark’s auditorium, located in the Manton Research Center, and is free and open to the public.

Horton’s lecture examines Diné (Navajo) artists Bertha and Fred Stevens’ 1966–1968 tour commissioned by the United States government as an exercise of Cold War “soft power.” The artists traveled across Eurasia and Latin America to demonstrate weaving and sand painting. Drawing upon Indigenous knowledge, international relations theory, and the methods of eco-critical art history, Horton reframes the tour as a creative instance of what she calls “earth diplomacy.”

Horton’s research and teaching emphasize the centrality of Native North American art to a global story of modernity. Her first book, Art for an Undivided Earth: The American Indian Movement Generation (Duke University Press, 2017), traces the impact of Indigenous spatial struggles on artists working internationally since the 1970s. Her new book, Earth Diplomacy: Indigenous American Art and Reciprocity, 1953–1973, examines how artists revitalized longstanding Indigenous cultures of diplomacy in the unlikely shape of Cold War tours, translating Native political ecologies across two decades and four continents.

The next lecture in this series is Clark/Oakley Humanities Fellow Kirsten Scheid’s “Curating Jerusalem Actual and Possible: Political Lessons from a non-Euclidean City” on Tuesday, November 12, at 5:30 pm.

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 more than 275,000 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.

For more information on these programs and more, visit clarkart.edu or call 413 458 2303.

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