T. J. Clark, renowned art historian and George C. and Helen N. Pardee Chair and professor of the history of art at University of California, Berkeley, will present the Fifty-Eighth A. W. Mellon Lectures in the Fine Arts series, entitled Picasso and Truth, this spring at the National Gallery of Art
The series will include the following lectures:
March 22 Object
March 29 Room
April 5 Window
April 19 Monster
April 26 Monument
May 3 Mural
All lectures take place Sunday afternoons at 2:00 p.m. in the East Building Auditorium. The programs are free and open to the public, and seating is first-come, first-served. T. J. Clark's books The Sight of Death: An Experiment in Art Writing and The Painting of Modern Life: Paris in the Art of Manet and His Followers are available for purchase in the Gallery's Book Shop on the Concourse.
Tracing Picasso's path to the Reina Sofía's Guernica (1937), the lectures will center on a group of Picasso paintings from the 1920s, including Tate Modern's Three Dancers (1925), the Guggenheim Museum's Guitar and Mandolin on a Table (1924), and the Tehran Museum's astonishing Painter and Model (1927). According to Clark, the 1920s were a period when Picasso attempted to revive or exceed the terms of cubism, experimenting with new kinds of space.
"Monsters loom large," said Clark. "High cubism, in the 1910s, had been a style fired by the pursuit of Truth. Nietzsche, had he lived to see it, might have greeted it ironically as the last triumph of the ‘ascetic ideal.' Picasso went on claiming that his art aimed at ‘exactitude.' But what were the marks and tests of exactitude to be, at a time when cubism—cubism's grave and playful truth-telling—seemed to be turning, in the painter's hands, into a set of brilliant but unbelievable devices? Could cubism leave the small world of the studio and in some sense enter the public realm?"
T. J. Clark is George C. and Helen N. Pardee Chair and professor of history of art at the University of California, Berkeley. He received his PhD in the history of art from the Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London, and an undergraduate degree in modern history from St. John's College, Cambridge University. Before joining the Berkeley faculty in 1987, Clark taught in England at the University of Leeds, the University of Essex, and Camberwell College of Arts at University of the Arts, London, and in the United States at UCLA and Harvard University. He was named a Getty Scholar by the Getty Research Institute in 2001 and 2002. He has also received a Guggenheim Fellowship and fellowships from, among others, the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, and the Centre national de la recherche scientifique in Paris, as well as two from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
His books include Modernismos: Ensaios sobre política, história e teoria da arte (2007); The Sight of Death: An Experiment in Art Writing (2006); Afflicted Powers: Capital and Spectacle in a New Age of War (with Iain Boal, Joseph Matthews, and Michael Watts, all four known collectively as Retort; 2005); Farewell to an Idea: Episodes from a History of Modernism (1999), which was chosen as an Outstanding Academic Title for 1999 by Choice magazine; The Painting of Modern Life: Paris in the Art of Manet and His Followers (1985); Image of the People: Gustave Courbet and the 1848 Revolution (1973); and The Absolute Bourgeois: Artists and Politicians in France, 1848-1851 (1973). His articles and interviews have been published in numerous books and journals.
Clark's honors include election to the American Philosophical Society (2007), the British Academy (2001), and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1992). In 2006, he received The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Distinguished Achievement Award.