An "Experimental Museum" For Artists by Artists: The Société Anonyme Collection



ms², Ogrodowa 19, audiovisual room


April 4, 2018, 6 p.m.

The lecture is a part of the cycle Museum of the Avant-garde or The Avant-Garde Museum? Collecting the Radical - the conference.

In 1920, Katherine Dreier, Marcel Duchamp, and Man Ray founded the Société Anonyme, Inc. Collection, with the goal of presenting modern art to an American public that had little or no exposure to avant-garde art. Ambitious in its goals, the Société Anonyme put on exhibitions with works by the international avant-garde, including Duchamp, Max Ernst, Juan Gris, Wassily Kandinsky, Kasimir Malevitch, Kurt Schwitters, Joseph Stella, and many others, as well as organized artist lectures and talks. Various European artists had their first exhibition in the United States thanks to the Société Anonyme. Next to many of the seminal artists of the 20th century, Dreier also included numerous little-known artists, and notably various female artists such as Marthe Donas, Ragnhild Keyser and Liubov Popova, thus fulfilling the mission of the Société Anonyme to display a wide array of modern art. The legacy of this avant-garde museum has transcended American culture ever since its founding, and when the collection was given to Yale University in 1941 its educational goals were reaffirmed. This lecture proposes to examine the founding of the Société Anonyme, Inc., the surrounding contemporary networks, and its impact through the decades until today.

Frauke V. Josenhans, the Horace W. Goldsmith Associate Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Yale University Art Gallery, holds a Ph.D. in art history from the Aix-Marseille Université and has graduate degrees in art history and museology from the Sorbonne and the École du Louvre. After working at the J. Paul Getty Museum, for the French Ministry of Culture, and for the French-German research project ArtTransForm, she worked at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. At LACMA, she helped organize the exhibition Hans Richter: Encounters (2013) and co-organized Expressionism in Germany and France: From Van Gogh to Kandinsky (2014), as well as curated collection-based exhibitions of modern art, notably Visions of the South (2014). At the Gallery, she curated the exhibitions Everything Is Dada (2016) and Artists in Exile: Expressions of Loss and Hope (2017), and co-curated Modern Art from the Middle East (2017). She has curated various installations, and exhibitions that included objects from the Société Anonyme Collection, and has published widely on many of the artists from that collection.

Lecture in English

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