Acting Out: Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore – 04.05.2005

April 5, 2005

Berkeley, CA – Acting Out: Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore is the first exhibition to examine the work of Claude Cahun (born Lucy Schwob) in the context of her lifelong partnership and collaboration with Marcel Moore (born Suzanne Malherbe). The philosophical, political, and aesthetic implications of these artists’ partnership permeate everything produced by the couple. Born to a prominent Jewish publishing family in Nantes, niece of the symbolist poet Marcel Schwob, Cahun was well connected to the French literary world. Cahun and Moore fell in love when they were still schoolgirls in Nantes; when Cahun’s father married Moore’s mother, they became stepsisters. Moore studied at the Fine Arts Academy in Nantes and her fashion illustrations appeared regularly in the family newspaper. 

From 1920 to 1937 the couple lived and worked in Paris under the pseudonyms Cahun and Moore, subsequently moving to the Isle of Jersey, where they spent World War II. While in Paris, they participated in avant-garde theater (Cahun performed, Moore designed sets and costumes), volunteered at Sylvia Beach’s bookstore Shakespeare and Co., hosted cultural and political meetings in their Montparnasse studio, and became active participants in the Surrealist movement. 

On Sunday, April 17, the Magnes is co-sponsoring the Creative Partnership Conference at UC Berkeley with the Beatrice Bain Research Group on Gender, the Center for the Study of Sexual Culture, the Consortium for the Arts, and the Townsend Center for the Humanities. Titled Creative Partnerships in the Era of Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore, the conference will include the presentation “Entre Nous: Between Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore” by Acting Out guest curator Dr. Tirza True Latimer. 

This conference will provide a forum for exchanges across disciplinary boundaries on the ways in which experimental modes of cultural production intersect with non-dominant notions of partnership. Speakers include: Whitney Chadwick, professor of art history, SFSU; Tirza True Latimer, guest curator of Acting Out and Beatrice Bain Visiting Scholar, UC Berkeley; Bibiana Obler, Ph.D. candidate in history of art at UC Berkeley; Alla Efimova, chief curator, the Magnes; Whitney Davis, professor and chair of history of art, UC Berkeley; Elisabeth Lebovici, art critic, Liberation; Elisabeth Ladenson, associate professor of French, English, and comparative literature, University of Virginia; Christophe Wall-Romana, assistant professor, French and Italian department, University of Minnesota; Michael Lucey, professor of French and comparative literature, UC Berkeley, and director, Center for the Study of Sexual Culture. This event is held at 370 Dwinelle Hall, UC Berkeley and is free to the public. 

Keep Up-To-Date