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November 6, 2019 09:51 am

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Clark Art Institute’s Art and Politics Film Series begins this fall with free screenings of two documentaries in the Clark’s auditorium, located in the Manton Research Center. The Art and Politics Film Series is organized by Robert Wiesenberger, the Clark’s associate curator of contemporary projects, and Horace Ballard, curator of American art at the Williams College Museum of Art. Each film begins with a brief introduction and is followed by light refreshments and conversation in the Manton Reading Room.

On Wednesday, November 13, at 6 p.m., the Clark shows The Gleaners and I (France, 2000). This award-winning film by Agnès Varda (1928–2019) takes those on the margins, who subsist or even thrive on leftovers, as its subjects. Inspired by Jean-François Millet’s 1857 painting The Gleaners, which depicts peasant women gathering leftover wheat after a harvest, Varda scours town and country in her native France to find modern day exemplars of the practice, telling their stories and reveling with them in their finds. Her idiosyncratic, personal narration and hand-held camera technique make this engrossing film by turns comical, critical, and deeply affecting. Run time is 82 minutes.

On Wednesday, December 11, at 6 p.m., the Clark shows Nightcleaners (United Kingdom, 1975), directed by the Berwick Street Collective. Intending to make a straightforward documentary about the campaign to unionize the women who cleaned office buildings in central London at night, the filmmakers felt the need to turn—halfway through making the documentary—to experimental forms like confessionals and poetry to represent the tripartite relationship between the unions, the women, and established social orders. Dealing with the nature of precarity and intimacy, the result is a self-reflexive and self-critical film that became a backbone of 1970s British cinema and a precursor in form to contemporary performance art practice. Run time is 90 minutes.

Learn more at or by calling 413 458 0524.


The Clark Art Institute, located in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts, is one of a small number of institutions globally that is both an art museum and a center for research, critical discussion, and higher education in the visual arts. Opened in 1955, the Clark houses exceptional European and American paintings and sculpture, extensive collections of master prints and drawings, English silver, and early photography. Acting as convener through its Research and Academic Program, the Clark gathers an international community of scholars to participate in a lively program of conferences, colloquia, and workshops on topics of vital importance to the visual arts. The Clark library, consisting of more than 275,000 volumes, is one of the nation’s premier art history libraries. The Clark also houses and co-sponsors the Williams College Graduate Program in the History of Art.

The Clark, which has a three-star rating in the Michelin Green Guide, is located at 225 South Street in Williamstown, Massachusetts. Its 140-acre campus includes miles of hiking and walking trails through woodlands and meadows, providing an exceptional experience of art in nature. Galleries are open Tuesday through Sunday, 10 am to 5 pm; open daily in July and August. Admission is $20; free year-round for Clark members, children 18 and younger, and students with valid ID. Free admission is available through several programs, including First Sundays Free; a local library pass program; EBT Card to Culture; and Blue Star Museums. For more information on these programs and more, visit or call 413 458 2303.