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Clarice Smith Lectures

Here are two more things to put on your cultural calendar for this fall. The Smithsonian American Art Museum hosts the Clarice Smith Distinguish Lectures in American Art every year. Last year, I heard the first lecture in this series, presented by Peter Schjeldahl, the excellent art critic of The New Yorker, which I wrote about in a lengthy post ("My Name Is Peter, and I'm an Aesthete", September 23, 2004). These events have been well enough attended that the location has been moved, permanently, I guess, to Lisner Auditorium. There should be more than enough room there (as there certainly was for Schjeldahl, when the auditorium was full but not to capacity), so the museum has also done away with the registration process for a reservation. These events are now free and open to the public: just walk through the doors.

The first two lectures this year both strike me as eminently worth attending. On Wednesday, September 28 at 7 pm, Pop artist James Rosenquist will present a lecture entitled Painting Could Be Fun!. There is no information really on what that title refers to in the lecture, which probably hasn't been written yet, if Rosenquist is like most other lecturers (myself sometimes included), but it sounds great. The second lecture, on Wednesday, October 5 at 7 pm, Roberta Smith, art critic for the New York Times, will present Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Art Criticism, Art Theory and the Art Market. The third lecture (November 2 at 7 pm) is by art historian Wanda M. Corn, a professor at Stanford, and is called Telling Tales: Georgia O'Keeffe as Autobiographer. Her bio on the Web site says she is working on a new exhibit on Gertrude Stein and her influence on the American avant-garde. Ooh, we want to see that.

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