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Conversation featuring
Dr. Sarah Eckhardt, Associate Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, VA and
Shaina Larrivee,
Director of The Hedda Sterne Foundation in New York
Moderated by
Rachel Stern, Director of the Fritz Ascher Society in New York

Hedda Sterne (1910-2011) was born in Bucharest, Romania in 1910 and came of age as an artist in the midst of the Dada and Surrealist movements in Bucharest and Paris. In 1941 she narrowly escaped the Bucharest Pogrom and was one of the fortunate few who managed to leave Europe for the United States amid the refugee crisis. Settling in New York, she quickly became a part of the artistic community surrounding Peggy Guggenheim and Max Ernst, exhibiting her work alongside established European Surrealists as well as rising American artists, including Jackson Pollock, Barnet Newman, and Mark Rothko. Sterne frequently described the United States as “more surreal than Surrealism.” This conversation will explore Sterne’s shift in artistic practice, from the Surrealist collage techniques and dream imagery she utilized in Europe, to her experiments in New York visually expressing the temporal reality of American technology and urban landscapes.

Dr. Sarah Eckhardt, VMFA’s Associate Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, joined the museum in 2011. She received her BA from Valparaiso University and her MA and PhD from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she was awarded a Henry Luce Dissertation Fellowship for her dissertation, Hedda Sterne and the Abstract Expressionist Context. At VMFA the Modern & Contemporary department is responsible for the museum’s early 20th-century European holdings as well as the mid-to-late 20th-century and 21st-century collections, including photography and the sculpture garden. Her current exhibition, Working Together: Louis Draper and the Kamoinge Workshop, about a collective of fifteen African American photographers founded in New York in 1963, just opened on February 1. She is also working on an exhibition and database project that will digitally reunite VMFA’s Rosy and Ludwig Fischer Collection of German Expressionist art with other portions of the family’s collection that were dispersed or lost after Hitler seized power and the Fischers were forced to flee Germany. She recently participated in the German/American Provenance Research Exchange Program which focused on increasing Nazi-era restitution research networks between German and American museum professionals.

Shaina Larrivee is Director of The Hedda Sterne Foundation, New York, an organization established by the artist Hedda Sterne and dedicated to exploring her philosophy of art as a process of engagement and discovery. As its first Director, Larrivee has overseen the organization of the Foundation’s collections and the development of its programming. Previously she served as Managing Editor of the Isamu Noguchi Catalogue Raisonné projectand has written and lectured on various topics including research methodology and the stewardship of artists’ legacies.

Rachel Stern is the Director and CEO of The Fritz Ascher Society for Persecuted, Ostracized and Banned Art, Inc. in New York. Her book, The Expressionist Fritz Ascher, was co-edited with Ori Z. Soltes and published by Wienand in 2016. Raised in Germany and educated at Georg-August Universität Göttingen with an MA in Art History and Economics, she immigrated to the US in 1994. She worked at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and as an independent writer and curator. Rachel is a recipient of a 2002 NEA Grant and the 2017 Hans and Lea Grundig Prize.

The event is part of our monthly series
Flight or Fight. stories of artists under repression

Sponsored by Allianz Partners.

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