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Acting Out: Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore

Frye Art Museum
Seattle WA Sep 24-Feb 12, 2006

Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore - Untitled [Cahun and mirror image

Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore, Untitled [Cahun and mirror image (1928), print from original black and white photograph [Frye Art Museum, Seattle WA, Sept 24-Feb 12]

Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore, Untitled [Don’t Kiss me I’m in Training] (1927), print from original black and white photograph [Frye Art Museum, Seattle WA, Sept 24-Feb 12]

Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore - Untitled [Don’t Kiss me I’m in Training]

Acting Out is the first museum exhibition that documents the photographic and performance work of French performer and artist Claude Cahun and her step-sister Marcel Moore, with whom she shared a life-long collaboration. Cahun, born Lucy Schwob, and Moore, born Suzanne Malherbe, lived in Paris from 1920-1937 where they hosted cultural and political meetings in their Montparnasse studio.

Both were active participants in the Surrealist movement and collaborated on artistic projects for the avant-garde theatre. Cahun, whose family was well connected to the French literary world, was the performer. She is best known for her self-portraits using costumes to explore identity. Moore, who trained at the Fine Arts Academy in Nantes, designed the sets and costumes. After 1937, the couple lived on the Isle of Jersey in the English Channel where they endured Nazi occupation and carried out resistance activities.

Their performances were constructed privately and intended only for the eye of the camera. The rare photographs in this exhibit reveal the curious relationship between their performance art and its documentation, and suggest the ambiguous nature of their undertakings through the lens of art history.

Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore, Launch of Aveux non avenue [window display] (1930), print from original black and white photograph [Frye Art Museum, Seattle WA, Sept 24-Feb 12]

Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore - Launch of Aveux non avenue [window display]
Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore - Untitled [Cahun in cupboard]

Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore, Untitled [Cahun in cupboard] (1930), print from original black and white photograph [Frye Art Museum, Seattle WA, Sept 24-Feb 12]


Allyn Cantor

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