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Marcel Duchamp sails for the U.S.
Marcel Duchamp gesturing from prow as he sails to the New World
(photo by André Gomès)

There have been to date two major exhibits on Varian Fry and his rescue mission to France.  Another one is currently being planned.

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Conseil Général des Bouches-du-Rhône / Chambon Foundation

Possible new U.S. Exhibit


Association Varian Fry-France

New exhibit in Marseille, curated by Jean-Michel Guiraud, to be inaugurated Nov. 23, 2011 (many photographs provided by the Varian Fry Institute)

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum's "Assignment: Rescue" exhibit, which later traveled to the Jewish Museum in New York and to Field Museum in Chicago, was the opening exhibit at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington in 1991. Originally curated by Susan E. Morgenstein, Elizabeth Kessin Berman, and Anita Kassof,  it was a remarkable achievement.

The Chambon Foundation was a major contributor to the exhibit, providing many photographs (notably from its unique Varian Fry Collection of his original negatives); Pierre Sauvage served as a consultant.

The U. S. Holocaust Memorial Museum also circulates a small, photographic Fry exhibit.

Neither the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, nor New York's Jewish Museum, nor Chicago's Field Museum--all of which hosted the major "Assignment: Rescue" exhibit--appear to have preserved any information on their websites about the exhibit or about Varian Fry and the rescue mission.

When are museums going to understand that the Internet is a wonderful place to preserve and communicate information on past exhibits?

Conseil Général des Bouches-du-Rhône / Chambon Foundation

A major historical exhibit, art exhibit, and conference on Varian Fry and the rescue mission, sponsored by the Conseil Général des Bouches-du-Rhône in association with the Chambon Foundation, was held in Marseille in 1999.  This was the first such exhibit held outside of the U.S.

Possible Future U.S. Exhibit

In conjunction with the release of Pierre Sauvage and the Chambon Foundation’s upcoming feature documentary on the Varian Fry rescue mission, the Chambon Foundation proposes a new exhibit, opening initially in Los Angeles, and consisting of some of the following:

·  the local premiere of Pierre Sauvage’s feature documentary And Crown Thy Good: Varian Fry in Marseille.
·  a historical exhibit (photographs, documents, memorabilia) drawing on the vast Fry-related holdings of the Chambon Foundation;
·  video clips of interviews with participants in the rescue effort and scholars (interviews conducted by Pierre Sauvage for the upcoming documentary);
·  a conference (or at least a panel discussion) on the rescue effort and on the American response to the Holocaust (including Fry colleagues, “clients,” and scholars);
·   an art exhibit of artists, many of them Surrealists, with ties to the rescue effort (such an exhibit was assembled in France and the organizers are interested in attempting to reconstitute it in the U.S.);
·   an exhibition catalogue (the Chambon Foundation has English-language rights to the catalogue for a major exhibit held in Marseille, and parts of a planned book could be adapted for the Los Angeles exhibit);
·   the special re-publication of Mary Jayne Gold’s memoir, “Crossroads Marseille 1940,” a vivid and colorful account of that time by the late Fry associate (Pierre Sauvage owns all rights to the book,  published in France in 2001 to unanimous acclaim);
·  “Varian Fry Photographer,” a sidebar exhibit assembled with his widow Annette Riley Fry, illustrating Fry’s significant talents as a photographer (the Chambon Foundation has his original negatives from 1940-41, some of them not directly related to the rescue effort);
·  a stage production (there are several remarkable possibilities, including staged readings in association with interested theatrical partners).

If you are interested, please advise.

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