WILLIAMSTOWN, MA- Building on the enormous success of Philippe de Montebello’s January lecture, the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute continues its “Director’s Perspective Series” with Michael Govan, chief executive officer and Director of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). Govan, a 1984 graduate of Williams College, will discuss timely issues in the museum world with Michael Conforti, director of the Clark, on Thursday, April 17, at 7 pm. The lecture is free.
Like the Clark, LACMA has embarked on an ambitious, multi-faceted building program that is expanding, upgrading, and unifying the museum’s seven-building, 20-acre campus in Los Angeles. The Broad Contemporary Art Museum (BCAM), a new 72,000-square-foot building designed by Renzo Piano, opened in February to critical acclaim. The new building provides the LACMA campus with an extraordinary three-story gallery building dedicated to art from 1945 to the present. The building is one of the largest column-free art spaces in the United States, with loft-like galleries and a skylit top floor.
At LACMA, Govan has additionally orchestrated the commission and installation of the artist projects that dot the transforming campus, beginning with Chris Burden’s Urban Light and Robert Irwin’s evolving palm garden. Under Govan’s leadership, LACMA was the recipient of the Lazarof collection, a group of 130 works notable for its holdings of objects by leading figures of modern art and for many individual objects that represent LACMA’s first major holding of those artists including Constantin Brancusi. Also during Govan’s tenure, the museum has acquired important works of art by Richard Serra, Thomas Eakins, and Jacques-Louis David.
Govan holds a B.A. in art history from Williams College, where he served as acting curator of the Williams College Museum of Art, and organized Picasso and Rembrandt in 1986. At Williams, Govan first met Thomas Krens. Krens went on to become director of the Guggenheim Museum and hired Govan as his deputy director, a position Govan held for six years.
From 1994 to 2006, Govan was president and director of Dia Art Foundation in New York City, where he spearheaded the creation of the critically acclaimed, 292,000-square-foot Dia:Beacon, a museum in New York’s Hudson Valley that houses Dia’s renowned collection of art from the 1960s to the present. Dia’s collection itself nearly doubled in size during Govan’s tenure.
The Clark is located at 225 South Street in Williamstown. The galleries are open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm (daily in July and August). Admission is free November 1 through May 31. Admission June 1 through October 31 is $12.50 for adults, free for children 18 and younger, members, and students with valid ID. For more information, call 413-458-2303 or visit www.clarkart.edu.