Artist Lecture (6:00 PM)

$20/$35

Opening and Francophonie Kickoff (7:00 PM)

Free

About this Exhibition

Bernar Venet has spent decades exploring painting, poetry, film, performance and sculpture, for which he is best known and admired around the world. This very intimate exhibit features a selection of previously unpublished photographs brought together for the first time in the United States. These images of icons of art in the 1960s' (Warhol, Rauschenberg, Indiana...), taken by Venet almost all by chance, are truly unique as a valuable mix of historical evidence and friendly instantaneous moments.

Venet began to take these portraits in the 1960s, first in Nice, then in Paris, and, after 1966, in New York where he has been based for the past fifty years. They rekindle the sense of adventure around an art movement that was created in solitude and friendship. Throughout the years, Bernar Venet has collected works by these artists who he knew and with whom he socialized, many of whom were his friends. These photos taken on a whim are another way to extend the collection and the community of friends that they embody.

About Bernar Venet

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Born in 1941 in the south of France, Venet’s attraction to art became evident at an early age. In 1966, he established himself in New York where, over the course of the next five decades, he explored painting, poetry, film, and performance, and was attracted to pure science as a subject for art. During the 1960s, Venet developed his Tar paintings, Cardboard Reliefs, and his iconic Pile of Coal, the first sculpture without a specific shape. Venet had his first retrospective at the New York Cultural Center in 1971. Contributions to major art events such as Kassel Documenta VI, and the Biennales of Paris, Venice and São Paulo, followed. 1979 marked a turning point in Venet’s career: he began a series of wood reliefs – Arcs, Angles, Straight Lines – and created the first of his Indeterminate Lines. That same year, he was awarded a grant by the National Endowment for the Arts.

In 1994, Jacques Chirac invited Venet to present his Indeterminate Line sculptures on the Champ de Mars, which developed into a world tour. To date, the number of Venet’s exhibitions amounts to no less than 250. In 2008, Sotheby’s invited Venet to present 25 large-scale sculptures on the grounds of Isleworth, near Orlando, their first venture to exhibit and support a single sculptor on this scale. In 2011, he became the 4th contemporary artist to be offered the world-renowned Château de Versailles for a solo exhibition, leading the French Postal Service to issue a commemorative stamp of his 22-meter vertical Arcs framing the iconic statue of Louis XIV at the entrance.

Monographs in multiple languages have been published on the artist’s oeuvre, with texts by noted art historians Barbara Rose, Donald Kuspit, Carter Ratcliff, Thomas McEvilley, Catherine Millet, Jan van der Marck and Achille Bonito Oliva, (and) among others. His work can be found in more than 70 museums worldwide, including the MoMA, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Centre Pompidou, and MOCA in Los Angeles. Venet has also received commissions for sculptures permanently installed in Auckland, Austin, Bergen, Berlin, Denver, Paris, Neu-Ulm, Nice, Norfolk, Seoul, Shenzhen, Tokyo, and Toulouse.

Venet has been the recipient of several distinguishing honors, including France’s Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur. Most recently, he received the 2013 Julio González International Prize, and the 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Sculpture Center (ISC). Inaugurated in July 2014, the Venet Foundation aims to preserve the site in Le Muy, France, conserve the collection, and ensure that Bernar Venet’s work lives on after him.

Gallery Hours

Monday, 5:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Tuesday through Thursday, 9:00 AM - 9:00 PM
Friday and Saturday, 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Through the Lens

Through the Lens: A Multilateral Perspective on Today's World is a series of events inviting artists, journalists, and experts in politics, economy and ethics from both sides of the Atlantic to share their analyses and participate in debates about some of today’s most pressing issues. Organized by the French Cultural Center in partnership with local and international partners, the series will take place from September 22nd, 2016 through May 2nd, 2017 in the Center’s historic brownstone. Through the Lens includes panel discussions, art exhibits, a film screening, workshops, and a stage reading on a variety of themes ranging from the upcoming presidential elections in France and the United States, to freedom of speech in the post-Charlie Hebdo era, to protection of journalists’ autonomy and security and some of the XXIst century’s most memorable trials.

Celebrating le Mois de la francophonie

La Francophonie is the vibrant community shared by the 274 million speakers of French across 5 continents. From Africa to the Americas, French is the 5th most spoken language in the world, and the second most learned language after English. With more than 60,000 words, it is a language of international communication used by 80 nations and governments. In the United States, it is estimated that up to 11 million people are Francophone, and 13 million Americans claim French, French-Canadian, or Acadian origin. The majority of Franco-Americans are concentrated in New England, as well as Louisiana. Clearly, French is a rich international language that connects people well beyond the borders of France!

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Upcoming Events

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From May 18, 2017 To Jul 5, 2017

On view at the Center until July 5

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Workshop

Special Parkour Workshop

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Tuesday, June 27, 2017 6:30 PM To 8:30 PM

Top Parkour French instructor leads a short presentation at the Center followed by a training on the Charles River Esplanade. Originating in Paris, Parkour is one of the world's fastest growing sports. This workshop is intended for ages 14+.

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Festival

Bastille Day Party 2017

A celebration of liberté, égalité and fraternité

Friday, July 14, 2017 6:00 PM To 11:00 PM

Bastille Day returns to Marlborough Street on Friday, July 14 for a celebration of Francophone cultures filled with live music, dancing, festive food and drinks. After a sold-out event in 2014, 2015, and 2016, you won't want to miss this signature Back Bay festival.

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