Over this past summer, doctoral student Michael Hartman curated the exhibition Extreme Nature!, to open at the Clark Art Institute this November. The exhibition examines the influence of natural disasters and extremes in nineteenth century art. Featuring 40 works, Extreme Nature! presents images of real and imagined natural subjects across four thematic sections: Natural Disaster, Alluring Landscapes, Volatile Atmospheres, and Extremes Imagined.
Hartman received his M.A. in the spring of 2018 from the Williams Graduate Program in the History of Art, which is jointly administered by the Clark Art Institute. While a graduate student and intern at the Manton Study Center for Works on Paper at the Clark, Hartman was offered the opportunity to propose an exhibition. “I had long been fascinated with one work in particular--a Currier & Ives hand-colored lithograph of The Great Fire at Boston from 1872--that I discovered one day,” Hartman explained. He then used this work as a starting point to build the rest of the exhibition.
Through extensive collaboration with Clark staff, Hartman helped develop all aspects of the exhibition including wall text, educational materials, and multimedia guides. According to Hartman, it was this collaboration that was most motivating. “It was fantastic to see the show come together in such an encouraging environment while the wonderful people at the Clark guided me through the process of curating my first major exhibition.”
Extreme Nature! has also been listed on the New York Times list, “Art Fall Preview: Over 100 Not-to-Miss Shows From East Coast to West Coast.” The exhibition will open on November 10, 2018 and continue through February 3, 2019.