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    Laurie Fenlason
    Media Relations Director
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March 18, 2002
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

WIDELY INFLUENTIAL ART CURATOR KIRK VARNEDOE
TO OFFER PUBLIC LECTURE ON VAN GOGH

Varnedoe's MoMA Exhibitions Among the Most Provocative
Examinations of Modern Art in the Late 20th Century

Editor's note: Photographs of Varnedoe and of the Van Gogh painting he will discuss are available below, or you may call (413) 585-2190 or e-mail lfenlason@smith.edu to obtain.

Download Varnedoe photo Download Van Gogh's 'Postman'

 

NORTHAMPTON, Mass.--Kirk Varnedoe, a charismatic speaker and arguably one of the most important art curators of the late 20th century, will discuss "Van Gogh's 'Postman': The Portraits of Joseph Roulin" in a free, public lecture at Smith College.


Varnedoe will speak at 7 p.m. on Monday, April 8, in Wright Hall Auditorium. The venue is wheelchair accessible.


As the longtime chief curator of painting and sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), Varnedoe organized major, widely admired retrospective exhibitions of the works of Jackson Pollock, Jasper Johns and Cy Twombly, as well as historical examinations of the works of Van Gogh and Rodin. His 1984 exhibition "Primitivism in 20th Century Art: Affinity of the Tribal and the Modern" and his 1990 exhibition "High and Low: Modern Art and Popular Culture" were seminal events that continue to generate debate and admiration among artists, curators and cultural critics.
Van Gogh's "Postman," which Varnedoe acquired for MoMA, is believed to be the most expensive painting purchased by the museum.


Described in a recent New Yorker profile as a speaker whose "fluency never seems rehearsed" and whose thoughts "come across with the headlong intensity and conviction of something voiced for the first time," Varnedoe has lectured in distinguished venues throughout the world. He is currently Professor of the History of Art, School of Historical Studies, at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton.


The author of more than 18 major books, Varnedoe has received numerous distinctions and honorary degrees. In 1984 he was awarded a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, popularly known as "the genius grant," which resulted in his 1990 book "A Fine Disregard: What Makes Modern Art Modern."


Varnedoe was born in Savannah, Ga., and graduated from Williams College, where he majored in art history and was a first-string defensive lineman on two winning football teams. He received his masters and doctoral degrees in art history from Stanford University. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and an officer of the French government's Ordre des Arts et Lettres.
Varnedoe's appearance at Smith is sponsored by the Department of Art.

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