From April 28 through September 10, 2023, the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Dole will stage Anthony Cudahy’s first exhibition in a French institution. On the occasion of this invitation, the New York artist has chosen to engage a dialogue between his own paintings and those of the museum’s collections, thus paying tribute to European painting that has so often inspired him. However, rather than taking the most acclaimed works from the Dole collections as a starting point, the artist has selected anonymous or unattributed canvases. This choice was made through his humility in the face of “great painting” and prestigious signatures, his taste for forgotten or lesser known artists and out of compassion for works that are rarely if ever seen.

This choice has been made with no particular preference for either period or style, but rather in terms of specific subject matter, related to his own painting. This painterly conversation, engaged from New York with the Jura collections, builds bridges across the ages.

In his paintings, Anthony Cudahy combines a wide variety of references: masterpieces of European art, queer archives, gay iconography and personal and family narratives. He incorporates these images into a chain of transformations, infusing them with affects and his own musings with each new iteration. His repertoire of flowers, the expression of love and intimacy or portraits, explores the registers of the romantic, the tender and the intimate. For his exhibition at the Dole museum, he has assembled around twenty of his recent works and associated them with oeuvres chosen in resonance from the institution’s collections: mainly narrative paintings, depicting idealized landscapes, nudes, scenes of violence and still lifes.

In return, these canvases will infuse a subsequent series of paintings, to be created specifically for the exhibition. The artist however, does not seek to extract the secrets of these abandoned paintings, shrouded in mystery. The conversation he engages with them is one of great sensitivity. By pairing them with his own works, he is reintegrating them into a historical narrative, and in the process, inventing for his painting an imaginary kinship on this side of the Atlantic.

Exhibition Catalogue
Anthony Cudahy, Conversation, a 208-page bilingual French/English catalogue, with essays by Marc Donnadieu, an independent exhibition curator and art critic based in Paris (France) and Samuel Monier, Head of Collections and Temporary Exhibitions at the Musée des beaux-arts, Dole (France) as well as interviews with Martin Bethenod, publisher, journalist, and exhibition curator independent art critic, and Jenna Gribbon, artist, accompanies the exhibition. Publication date: June 2023. ISBN 978-2-37739-068-7. 29€.