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Museum of Art press release   Date: 11/30/10 Bookmark and Share

Renowned Contemporary Artist to Lecture

Northampton, Mass.—Smith College Museum of Art is pleased to announce an upcoming lecture by internationally respected artist Fred Wilson, to be held in the Campus Center Carroll Room on Wednesday, Dec. 1, from 7:30 to 9 p.m. The lecture, "The Silent Message of the Museum," will investigate the myth of the neutral museum space. Wilson’s work explores how institutional contexts and curatorial bias shape our perception of artistic value and historical truth by creating installations that force viewers to recognize the effect of context on our perception of objects.

In his talk—which is the capstone lecture in MUX 118: The History and Critical Issues of Museums—Wilson will talk about his projects with museum collections and his perspective on the world of museums.

Wilson is perhaps best known for his groundbreaking piece Mining the Museum, an intervention at the Baltimore Historical Society in which he rearranged objects from the museum’s collection to highlight the previously undetectable narrative of slavery. He brought to light objects from the museum’s holdings that had previously been in storage, including Klan hoods and slave shackles. The work characterizes Wilson’s commitment to exposing the stories that have historically been hidden behind the dominant narrative presented by museums, critiquing the way in which cultural institutions can validate or diminish the human experience.

Fred Wilson lives and works in New York, and received his BFA from the State University of New York, Purchase. He has represented the United States at the Biennial Cairo and Venice Biennale, and has received the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Achievement Award and the Larry Aldrich Foundation Award. Currently he is Distinguished Visiting Fellow in Objects, Exhibition, and Knowledge at Skidmore College.

This program has been made possible in part by the Carlyn Steiner ’67 and George Steiner Fund, in honor of Joan Koch Smith and the Brown Foundation, Inc. of Houston.

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