Williams College to Honor Art History Graduate Students

Media contact: Noelle Lemoine, communications assistant; tele: (413) 597-4277; email: [email protected]

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass., May 18, 2017—The Williams Graduate Program in the History of Art, offered in collaboration with the Clark Art Institute, will host activities and events in conjunction with Commencement Weekend. On Friday, June 2, the program’s 13 graduates will present papers at its Graduate Symposium. On Saturday, June 3, they will participate in the annual Hooding Ceremony to celebrate their achievements. The events are free and open to the public.


Friday, June 2, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. in the auditorium of the Manton Research Center, The Clark, 225 South St.

Graduate students will speak for 20 minutes each, with a discussion period following each group of two or three.

Kerry Bickford will discuss Michael Heizer’s City, an unfinished and remote sculptural work that the artist has expanded since 1972, and its relationship to the evolving threats of the nuclear age.

Margo Cohen Ristorucci will explore the emotional axes of Lynette Yiadom-Boakye’s fictive portraits in “The Stranger Whom I Love,” a meditation on the phenomenological experience of being floored by a painting.

In “Sumptuous Subterfuge,” Jacob Eisensmith will discuss the significance of silks in Early Modern Florentine painting by triangulating shifts in painting technique, change in the status of painting, and ever evolving sumptuary laws.

In “The Materialization of Politics in the Wall Drawings of Sol LeWitt,” Andres Galperin focuses on the early stages of the conceptual artist’s pioneering wall drawings to highlight the emergence of a mostly unnoticed aspect of his practice.

In “Breaking New Ground on Well Known Terrain: A Reorientation of Andrew Wyeth,”
Anna Kelley
will discuss the unusual use of time in the artist’s work, examining how his paintings reflect both the past and the present simultaneously.

John Kimbriel will use the psychological mechanisms of hysteria to explore why Francis Bacon came to fixate on the human head in his first solo exhibition, as well as the possibility of painting as a means of “working through.”

Ariel Kline will trace the visual history of dogs in mourning to discern how the gramophone changed its course. Looking to advertisements and photographs that derived from His Master’s Voice, she will explore how dog intelligence was newly figured in the early part of the twentieth century.

Amanda Morgan will explore Ambroise Dubois’ Clorinde Cycle, painted at the Château de Fontainebleau in the early 17th century. She will look at the series in relation to the life of its patron, Marie de Medici, as she assumed her role as Queen of France.

In “Doris Salcedo and the Discourse of Dissent,” Hilde Nelson will examine the Colombian artist’s recent public installation, Sumando Ausencias, and the ensuing debates and discussions of reconciliation, the aesthetics of trauma, and the rights of representation surrounding the work.

In “The Wilderness Bound: John Frederick Kensett’s ‘Last Summer’s Work,’” Tom Price will examine a series of landscape paintings the artist made along the New England coast in 1872, exploring how this inhabited realm bears the spirit of the wilderness.

In “A Haunting Reminder,” Lea Stephenson will examine how John Singer Sargent clung to the painting Madame X for over 30 years. The nineteenth-century fascination with apparitions and the returning dead suggests how the artist developed a “ghostly” relationship with the portrait to reenact the past.

In “Hanging Sculptures: Kevin Beasley and the Matter of Identity,” Terence Washington will explore how Beasley’s artworks call on cultural associations with recognizable objects to reveal echoes of past violence in the present day.

In “Views of an Opera House: The Hanoi Municipal Theatre and the Geographies of Colonial Indochina,” Erin Wrightson will explore the site-specificity of the French-built Hanoi opera house and the significance of its presence within the urban environment in the early years of the Twentieth Century.

Hooding Ceremony

Saturday, June 3, 4:30 p.m. in the auditorium of the Manton Research Center, The Clark, 225 South St.

Williams Professor Michael Lewis will deliver the keynote address to graduating students and their families.

About the Graduate Program in Art History

Williams, in cooperation with the Clark, offers a two-year course of study leading to the degree of master of arts in the history of art. The program provides a thorough professional preparation for academic and museum careers and equips graduates of the program to pursue further study and research.

Housed at the Clark, the graduate program is exceptional in drawing upon the rich art history resources—the professional staffs, libraries, and art collections—of the two institutions.


Founded in 1793, Williams College is the second-oldest institution of higher learning in Massachusetts. The college’s 2,000 students are taught by a faculty noted for the quality of their teaching and research, and the achievement of academic goals includes active participation of students with faculty in their research. Students’ educational experience is enriched by the residential campus environment in Williamstown, Mass., which provides a host of opportunities for interaction with one another and with faculty beyond the classroom. Admission decisions on U.S. applicants are made regardless of a student’s financial ability, and the college provides grants and other assistance to meet the demonstrated needs of all who are admitted.