The Power Institute: Bringing Exciting New Ideas to a Wider Audience

7 June 2011

June 20th will see one of the world's foremost art historians visit the University of Sydney to speak about one of Picasso's most intriguing art works, Guernica.

Professor Timothy J Clark is the special guest speaker at Looking Again at Picasso's Guernica, a joint Sydney exclusive event with the Power Institute, Sydney Ideas, the National Institute for the Experimental Arts, and the College of Fine Arts (COFA) at the University of New South Wales.

Securing such a notable talent as Professor TJ Clark is thanks to new Power Institute Director Mark Ledbury, who is committed to bringing ideas around art to as wide an audience as possible. He says, "art is an important cultural form in Australia- of interest beyond the academia - so the Power will strive to bring ideas people - artists, critics, historians- to Sydney.." He continues that the lecture by Professor Clark involves "a very famous art historian talking about a work of art that has resonance way beyond art history…a work of art designed in response to the atrocities of war, which has a very important historical and cultural meaning. And TJ Clark is bringing a fresh perspective on this powerful but perplexing work.

Bringing fresh new ideas about art to the wider public is one of the original aims of the Power Institute, as it was the wish of the Power bequest to convey the dynamism and excitement of contemporary art in a way that is not off-putting, but creates an impact throughout the cultural community of Sydney and beyondWorking alongside co-hosts Sydney ideas and The University of New South Wales will ensure the event reaches out to the wider community.

Another important audience for Professor Timothy Clark's lecture is University alumni, and the Power Institute is fortunate to have a strong Alumni and Friends Association. Director Mark Ledbury recognises that although alumni go down different paths and into various careers, many maintain a deep fondness for the visual arts and for their time at the University of Sydney, "I really do want to make sure that alumni feel a sense of community and an attachment to the Power Institute as a space of ideas and a place of stimulating creative thinking about the visual arts."

He continues, "I have heard Timothy Clark speak and I can't emphasise enough: he's marvelous! It will be a great chance for alumni to hear someone really inspiring and thoughtful."

In addition to presentations such as Looking Again at Picasso's Guernica, the Power Institute plans to further develop their publishing program by both commissioning new work and engaging with the new digital universe - giving new e-life to the most important earlier Power publications. The latter, however, is not without challenges. The biggest question Mark Ledbury and the Power Institute are faced with is: "How do you publish an art history book online when the image rights are so problematic?" Ledbury plans to find a way, however, as part of his vision for the Power Institute is to embrace this new digital future and encourage innovation in all that they do.

"An institute such as ours should learn from the energy of contemporary art - it is a very energetic sphere. A lot of innovative, thoughtful, sometimes odd and eccentric creative thinking comes out of the visual arts. We need to be nimble, act quickly and not just stick to old formulas. I would like to have some of the innovation of contemporary art rub off on us," Ledbury explains.

Contact: Kate Mayor

Phone: 02 9351 2208

Email: 2235440f482b54205e01151216220a15350130543c18313b