Clark Art Institute selects next director of prestigious art program


WILLIAMSTOWN -- The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute has selected its next research and program director, a Williams College graduate and art history professor from the University of Chicago.

As the next Starr Director of the Research and Academic Program, Darby English will lead the program's international agenda of intellectual events and collaborations and will oversee the Clark's library and its active residential scholars' program, all based on the 140-acre campus in Williamstown.

"Darby English brings a dynamic perspective to the work of the Clark's Research and Academic Program, rooted in his knowledge of the field of art history-both its traditions and its new critical perspectives," said Michael Conforti, director of the Clark. "He will build upon the Clark's extraordinary record of accomplishment achieved during Michael Ann Holly's 14 years as director."

The Clark is one of the few institutions in the world with a dual mission as both an art museum and an independent center for research and higher education in the visual arts. The Research and Academic Program is internationally recognized as one of the leading centers for research in the visual arts and has established worldwide collaborations with major art institutions throughout the world.

In June 2012, Michael Ann Holly announced plans to conclude her tenure as Starr Director in the summer of 2013. Holly is widely recognized for her leadership in conceptualizing and pioneering RAP's international series of programs and events. She will remain active in numerous Clark programs and activities in Williamstown and New York.

"The Clark is both a meeting ground and a forum for exchange and debate," said English. "The Research and Academic Program is fueled by the international scholars who come to Williamstown as fellows and as participants in its scholarly programs and by its many collaborations with academic programs across the world. I couldn't be more thrilled by this opportunity to enhance the Clark's long-established reputation for intellectual leadership in the field."

English graduated from Williams College in 1996 with a degree in art history and philosophy and earned a doctorate in visual and cultural studies from the University of Rochester in 2002. He has served on the University of Chicago's faculty since 2003, teaching modern and contemporary art and cultural studies. He served as the assistant director of the Research and Academic Program from 1999 through 2003.

English has authored one book, "How to See a Work of Art in Total Darkness," and is at work on a second. He is the recipient of fellowships, grants, and awards from numerous national and international foundations.

A seven-member search committee, led by Charles W. "Mark" Haxthausen, the Robert Sterling Clark Professor of Art History at Williams College, oversaw the international search that resulted in English's selection.

"We had an extraordinarily strong pool of highly qualified candidates for the Starr Directorship," Haxthausen said, "which underscores the respect and appreciation the scholarly community holds for RAP's role as a major international forum for the discipline."


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