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American Art Lecture Series Debuts Tonight

A new annual lecture series showcasing preeminent artists, scholars and critics has been established by the Smithsonian Museum of American Art.

The Clarice Smith Distinguished Lectures in American Art — named after the artist and collector whose financial backing made the series possible — will debut tonight with veteran New Yorker art critic Peter Schjeldahl’s discussion of “What Art Is for Now.”

“As the Smithsonian American Art Museum prepares for re-opening in 2006, we are delighted to present this new forum for engaging the public in the creative experience and what American art is today,” said the museum’s Elizabeth Broun in a statement.

On Oct. 13, abstract painter and printmaker Pat Steir will discuss the relationship between art and its historical setting. The series wraps up the following month with an illustrated lecture, “Childhood Imagination: The Case of N. C. Wyeth and Robert Louis Stevenson,” by scholar Alexander Nemerov on Nov. 10. Nemerov, a Yale art history professor, is the author of “Frederic Remington and Turn-of-the-Century America” and “The Body of Raphaelle Peale: Still Life and Selfhood, 1812-1824.”

All lectures will be held at 7 p.m. at George Washington University’s Lisner Auditorium, located at 730 21st St. NW. The series is free and open to the public but registration is required. To do so, e-mail or call (202) 275-2312.

— Bree Hocking

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