Symposium – Pierre Gaudibert : militant, critique, sociologue de l’art, expérimentateur de musée

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On February 24 to 26, the online symposium Pierre Gaudibert: militant, critique, sociologue de l’art, expérimentateur de musée will take place. It is co-organized by the Institut national d’histoire de l’art, the Musée d’art moderne de Paris, the Musée de Grenoble and the Laboratoire de recherche historique Rhone-Alpes (LARHRA) – Université Grenoble-Alpes (Organizing commitee: Paula Barreiro López (LARHRA – université Grenoble – Alpes, Sophie Bernard (musée de Grenoble), Elitza Dulguerova (université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne – INHA), Hélène Leroy (MAM)).

On the occasion of the opening to the public of Pierre Gaudibert’s archives and personal library at the Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris, this international symposium  proposes to revisit this key figure of the post-war French art scene and the intellectual and political contexts of which his career is revealing.
An activist involved in popular education movements (the “Work and Culture” association, the “People and Culture” network) or within the Socialist Party, art critic and sociologist, Pierre Gaudibert (1928-2006) left his mark on several cultural institutions. Curator at the Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris from 1966 to 1972, he founded the Animation-Recherche-Confrontation (A.R.C.) department there in 1967, whose museographic model, unheard of in France, favors direct relations between artists, works and visitors and welcomes the latest in the most experimental artistic research. From 1977 to 1985, Gaudibert directed the Musée de Grenoble and developed its collections, contributed to the creation of the CNAC de Grenoble (the National Center for Cultural Affairs) (the Magasin), and was involved in cultural action throughout the city, organizing, among other things, an African Festival in 1982. Affiliated with the Musée national des arts d’Afrique et d’Océanie (MNAAO) from 1985 to 1994, it contributed to introducing contemporary African art into collections and museum circles in France. Although he was close to artists such as Henri Cueco, Gaudibert’s artistic choices also embraced minor art forms (popular arts, naïve art) and practices then known as “Third World”. The author of several deliberately polemical works, Gaudibert never ceases to reflect on the place of art and culture in society, on the responsibility of artists and cultural actors in terms of the social division.
Taking into account Pierre Gaudibert’s theoretical and institutional heritage, his commitments but also his disenchantments, impasses and limits, this symposium aims to consider the possible avenues that his work has opened to the link between art and democracy, to a practice that opens up institutions, to a plurality of cultures and artistic practices.

Three members of MoDe(s) are participating in the symposium: Paula Barreiro López will participate with the lecture Action culturelle, révolution et tiers-mondisme dans l’axe La Havane-Paris-Grenoble : Pierre Gaudibert au carrefour des cultures tricontinentales. In addition, Juliane Debeusscher will intervene with the communication « De la contestation à la dissidence » – Situations, attitudes et productions visuelles dans l’orbite de Pierre Gaudibert and Anita Orzes with the communication Pierre Gaudibert between the Biennials of Venice and Havana (1977 – 1991).

Other speakers are Anne Bergeaud (MAM), Sophie Bernard (Musée de Grenoble), Odile Burluraux (MAM), Maëlle Coatleven (Fondation Cartier), Coline Desportes (INHA), Étienne Féau (conservateur en chef honoraire du patrimoine ), Hélène Lassalle (conservateur en chef honoraire du patrimoine), Jacques Leenhardt (EHESS), Hélène Leroy (MAM), Jean-Loup Pivin (Revue noire), Léa Sallenave (Université Grenoble – Alpes), Marine Schutz (Aix-Marseille Université), Julie Sissia (Agence nationale de la recherche), Zoé Stillpass (École cantonale d’Art de Lausanne), Annabelle Ténèze (les Abattoirs, Musée – FRAC Occitanie Toulouse), Léa Tichit (université Bordeaux Montaigne) and  Sarah Wilson (Institut Courtauld, Londres).