Video Artist Pierre Huyghe Signals Launch of New Art Lecture Series at Yale

On March 24, the Yale School of Art will inaugurate a public lecture series with “Unbirthday Present,” a presentation by the renowned French installation- and video-artist Pierre Huyghe.

The lecture begins at 8 p.m., in room 204 of the School of Art Sculpture Building, 36 Edgewood Ave. There is no charge for admission and seating is first-come/first-served.

The lecture series is part of the School’s ongoing visiting artists program, which has been newly enhanced by a major gift from the Hayden Fund for Art and Ideas. Comprising residencies at the School of Art by groundbreaking figures in the visual arts, this program initiative will bring to the Yale and New Haven communities, as well as to the public at large, the burgeoning ideas and diverse practices that define the terms and shape the dialogue within the rapidly expanding international contemporary art scene. In addition to the lecture, Huyghe and future artists chosen for this signal series will meet in seminars to discuss their work with students, participate in studio visits and gather informally with faculty and students in the spontaneous interactions that are the essence of creative exchange. Participating artists in the Hayden series are selected by Robert Storr, dean of the School of Art, in consultation with Jock Reynolds, the Henry J. Heinz II Director of the Yale University Art Gallery.

Storr notes, “One of the goals of the School of Art is to expose Yale art students to a range of contemporary work that reflects the fact that great art is as likely to be created in Istanbul or Warsaw as it is in New York or Paris, using media ranging from traditional drawing to the Internet. We are deeply grateful to Mr. and Mrs. Hayden for supporting the Visiting Artists Program, enabling both undergraduate and graduate art students to interact with some of the most innovative and thought-provoking visual artists of our time.”

Reynolds adds, “The Hayden Fund for Art and Ideas is helping to develop an important link between Yale and the international art community, one reflecting the University’s global outlook and its long engagement with contemporary art and artists. I am especially delighted by this new collaboration between the Yale University Art Gallery and the School of Art, and trust that it will deepen the already strong partnership extant between our institutions and the creative disciplines they represent.”

Born in 1962 in Paris, France, Pierre Huyghe makes and remakes films—for example, he has dramatically restaged scenes from Sidney Lumet’s “Dog Day Afternoon” and Wim Wenders’s “The American Friend,”—and organizes performance events and creates environments, ranging from a small-town parade, to a puppet theater, to an actual expedition to Antarctica, to the creation of a temporary palm forest in the middle of the Sydney Opera House. Exploring the enigmatic territory between everyday reality and extravagant fiction, Huyghe’s work addresses such complex topics as the yearning for utopia, spectacle in mass media and the impact of modernism on contemporary values and belief systems.

Huyghe, who attended the École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs, has received many awards, among them the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum’s Hugo Boss Prize (2002); the Special Award from the Jury of the Venice Biennial (2001); and a DAAD Fellowship (1999–2000). His work has been widely exhibited in the United States and Europe, including at Tate Modern, London (2006); Musée d’art moderne de la Ville de Paris (2006); the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas (2004); Dia Art Foundation, New York (2003); Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2003); Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (2000); and Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (2000), among others. The artist currently lives and works in Paris and New York.

For well over half a century Yale has been a leader in the integration of the practice of painting, sculpture, photography, design and new media into both undergraduate and graduate curricula.

The commitment of the School of Art to the rigorous fusion of thinking and making—in a context in which superb resources in other disciplines are available to aspiring artists—has made it a magnet for the most talented young people from around the world. Starting in the 1950s with the arrival of Bauhaus master Josef Albers, the School has also attracted an unrivalled faculty, as well as visiting artists and lecturers. Indeed, many who attended the School of Art have joined the front ranks of those who have changed visual culture in the modern era.

With new facilities for all media, a new exhibition space for contemporary art and events and programs created both independently and in collaboration with the Yale University Art Gallery and other departments, the School of Art offers students, the University and the wider community not only a broad perspective on what has recently happened and is happening in art, but also glimpses of what is coming.