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Étant Donnés Contemporary Art

Art & Design


Étant donnés Contemporary Art aims to strengthen ties between France and the US in the field of contemporary art by fostering active collaboration and encouraging long-lasting partnerships between French visual artists, curators and collectives, and American curators and cultural institutions.

The fund supports the discovery of emerging talents, while also sustaining interest in established artists. It has also been instrumental in creating a transatlantic network of curators from France and the US. Since its inception, Étant donnés has developed an international reputation by allocating over $3 million to fund over 300 projects and the work of 30 curators. 

Over the past 25 years, the art world has profoundly evolved. Étant donnés seeks to embrace new practices and enable different approaches to creation in contemporary art by including projects that draw on the visual arts, design, architecture and performance. Étant donnés aims to support ambitious projects, with high priority given to co-productions, new commissions, and projects that can be developed across several cities in the US. 

To this end, and with the aim of introducing French and France-based visual artists whose works have rarely, if ever, been shown in the United States, the fund supports projects at three levels: financial, curatorial, and in residency. 

Financial support is granted to American nonprofit institutions to organize exhibition or research projects, in physical space or online, featuring French artists or French Institutions; curatorial fellowship assists American curators, either independent or affiliated with institutions, who wish to conduct research in France; and a residency program supports French visual artists seeking to develop specific projects with American partners. 

Grants to American Institutions for physical exhibitions and online or hybrid projects 

This program seeks primarily to introduce French visual artists whose works have rarely, if ever, been shown in the United States. The fund offers financial support in the form of grants to American nonprofits that plan to organize physical exhibitions, installations or research projects featuring French or France-based visual artists. 

Curatorial Fellowships for American Curators 

Étant donnés Contemporary Art offers grants to American curators wishing to conduct or develop a research project about French or France-based artists. 

These grants are intended to expand the professional opportunities and networks of American curators, encourage in-depth explorations of French cultural resources, and provide a forum for the exchange of ideas and knowledge among artists, professionals, researchers and institutions. This grant is intended to support the curator’s travel costs and research abroad. 

Etant donnés Residencies For French & France based Artists 

These grants are intended for French or France-based artists seeking to spend a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 4 months in the United States, in order to develop specific research or projects in collaboration with an American organization. Etant Donnés Residencies aim to facilitate the integration of French artists into the American contemporary arts scene and to generate collaborative projects that may continue beyond the residency. 

Origins of the Fund 

Étant donnés was founded in 1994 by the Cultural Services of the French Embassy —now Villa Albertine— the Association Française d’Action Artistique (AFAA) —now Institut français— and the Délégation aux Arts Plastiques (DAP) of the French Ministry of Culture and Communication. Taking its name from the famous artwork by Marcel Duchamp, the France-born artist who established himself in the United States and whose work has inspired contemporary artists for decades, Étant donnés underscores the continuous exchange between France and the United States in the art world. It also supports the belief, formulated by Duchamp, that “All in all, the creative act is not performed by the artist alone.” 

Étant donnés Contemporary Art has supported exhibitions in most major American institutions, including the Guggenheim Museum, the Whitney Museum, the DIA Art Foundation, MoMA PS1, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, the MCA in Chicago, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, and the Wexner Art Center in Ohio. Support has also been given to numerous projects in alternative spaces, including Artists Space, Artist’s Institute, and Art in General. In previous years, it also provided funding for French organizations such as the Musée National d’Art Moderne Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, Villa Arson in Nice, and several FRACs (Fonds Régional d’Art Contemporain). 

Among the French artists first introduced to the U.S. thanks to the support of Étant donnés are Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Pierre Huyghe, Koo Jeong A, Isabelle Cornaro, Christine Rebet, and Céleste Boursier-Mougenot. In France, John Currin, Sterling Ruby, Roe Etheridge, and Diana Thater are just a few of the American artists to have benefited from Étant donnés support for early presentations of their works in solo shows. Some of the numerous curators whose work has been facilitated by the fund are Nicholas Baume, Tim Griffin, Fionn Meade, Lauri Firstenberg, and Silvia Karman Cubina. 

Discover the 2021 grantees

Contact: Olivier Le Falher, Program Officer, Visual Arts

In partnership with

Ministry of Culture

The French Ministry of Culture aims to make the major works of humanity— and especially those of France— accessible to the largest number of people possible. As such, it maintains a policy of conservation, of protection, and of development of all components of French cultural heritage. It promotes the creation of works of art and of the mind, and the development of art practices and education. It further contributes to cultural initiatives outside of France, and to initiatives relating to the establishment of French cultural programs throughout the world.


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Institut français

The Institut français is responsible for France’s international cultural program. Supervised by both the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs and by the Ministry of Culture, it promotes French culture abroad through cultural exchange initiatives. Operating in a space where the arts, intellectual exchange, cultural and social innovation, and linguistic partnerships interact and intersect, it is also responsible for promoting the French language and the sharing of works, artists, and ideas all over the world. The Institut français is one of Villa Albertine’s main French partners.

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Ford Foundation

The Ford Foundation is an independent organization working to address inequality and build a future grounded in justice. For more than 85 years, it has supported visionaries on the frontlines of social change worldwide, guided by its mission to strengthen democratic values, reduce poverty and injustice, promote international cooperation, and advance human achievement. Today, with an endowment of $16 billion, the foundation has headquarters in New York and 10 regional offices across Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East.


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Chanel is a private company and a world leader in creating, developing, manufacturing and distributing luxury products. Founded by Gabrielle Chanel at the beginning of the last century, Chanel offers a broad range of high-end creations, including Ready-to-Wear, Leather Goods, Fashion Accessories, Eyewear, Fragrances, Makeup, Skincare, Jewellery and Watches. Chanel is also renowned for its Haute Couture collections, presented twice yearly in Paris, and for having acquired a large number of specialized suppliers, collectively known as the Métiers d’Art. Chanel is dedicated to ultimate luxury and to the highest level of craftsmanship. It is a brand whose core values remain historically grounded on exceptional creation. As such, Chanel promotes culture, art, creativity and “savoir-faire” throughout the world, and invests significantly in people, R&D, sustainable development and innovation. At the end of 2021, Chanel employed close to 28,500 people worldwide. 


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Helen Frankenthaler Foundation

The Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, established and endowed by the artist during her lifetime (1928-2011), is dedicated to promoting greater public interest in and understanding of the visual arts. It supports the artist’s legacy through a variety of initiatives, including exhibitions, loans of artworks, research and publications, conservation, grants, and educational programs for the public and the scholarly community. As the principal beneficiary of Helen Frankenthaler’s estate, the Foundation maintains an archive of original papers and materials pertaining to her life and work and a collection of her artwork in a variety of media.


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Founded by artists in 1953, the ADAGP represents 170,000 authors worldwide, in all disciplines of visual art, including painting, sculpture, photography, design, graphic novels, street art, video art, digital art, architecture and more… At the heart of an international network of 50 partner organisations, the ADAGP collects and distributes royalties, protects artists and fights to improve authors’ rights. Today, it is the world’s top society of authors in the visual arts. Eager to place creativity at the heart of the world, the ADAGP encourages the creative scene by initiating and/or financially supporting projects to highlight visual arts and promote them on a national and international scale.


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FACE Foundation

FACE Foundation is an American nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting French-American relations through innovative cultural and educational projects. In partnership with the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States, FACE Foundation promotes artistic, literary, and educational exchange and collaboration between creative professionals from both countries. With additional corporate, foundation, and individual support, FACE Foundation administers grant programs in the performing and visual arts, cinema, translation, and secondary and higher education, while providing financial sponsorship to French-American festivals and other cultural initiatives. FACE Foundation focuses on new and recent work of living artists and the promotion of bilingualism and the French language. 

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