A Republic of Art - French Regional Collections of Contemporary Art

A Republic of Art
Paul McCarthy, Colonial Tea Cup, 1983-1994. Installation view A Republic of Art. Photo Peter Cox
Carsten Höller, Komm Kleines Kriegst was Feines, 1991. Installation view A Republic of Art. Photo Peter Cox
Cindy Sherman, Untitled 67, 1980. Collection FRAC Aquitaine. Courtesy Cindy Sherman & Metro Pictures. Photo Frederic Delpech
Agnes Accorsi, L'ame hospitaliere, 2002. Collection FRAC Corse
Dennis Adams, Malraux’s shoes, 2012. Coll. CNAC. In bruikleen /on loan FRAC Aquitaine
Lili Reynaud Dewar, Some Objects Blackened, 2011. Collection du FRAC des Pays de la Loire © Lili Reynaud Dewar. Photo Stephen Robinson
Gerhard Richter, Merlin, 1982. Collection FRAC Bourgogne
Gabriel Orozco, Ventilator, 1997. Collection FRAC. © Gabriel Orozco Languedoc-Roussillon

A Republic of Art French Regional Collections of Contemporary Art

27/06/2015 - 04/10/2015
Opening: 27/06/2015 16:00
Curators: Annie Fletcher, Diana Franssen

Art from the French collections

Programme opening Saturday 27 June
16.00: Words of welcome by Charles Esche (director Van Abbemuseum), Bernard de Montferrand (president of FRAC Aquitaine and president of PLATFORM) and Laurent Pic (French ambassador in the Netherlands)
- 16.30: Opening speech by Annie Fletcher and Diana Franssen, curators
Galleries old building:
- 18.30: performance MMoS* (Olletsac) by Elodie Lesourd.

A Republic of Art is an exhibition about the world of visual art in the French Republic from the establishment of the FRAC system in 1982 right up to current developments in contemporary art today. These 23 FRACs were to span the entire country. Each was empowered to fund, collect and exhibit contemporary living artists from France and beyond, thus providing the whole country with a uniquely ambitious and robust support system for the production of visual art in its own time.

The large-scale exhibition tells the story of art and the ambitious plans of the French state in collecting, organising and dispersing contemporary art in radically new ways.

Exhibition in the Van Abbemuseum

This exhibition takes place in the ten classical galleries of the old building of the Van Abbemuseum. Rather than simply exhibiting these more than 100 art works, the Van Abbemuseum will apply much of its own experimental thinking developed in exhibiting its own collection, which brings both art history and lived history together in provocative and exciting ways.

By looking at the collections of the FRAC from the perspective of cultural history, visitors will be able to compare their own memories and emotions of the past thirty years with the works of art that were made in that time. For some, a feast of recognition, a new acquaintance to others and a retrieval of memories. For others a sense of the power of history. But for all, because of the wealth of images, a 'mer à boire' for everyone.


Absalon, Agnès Accorsi, Dennis Adams, Lara Almarcegui, Yto Barrada, Bibliothèque Fantastique, Ursula Biemann, Dara Birnbaum, Monica Bonvicini, Frédéric Bruly Bouabré, Daniel Buren, Sophie Calle, Marta Caradec, Alex Chan, Henri Coldeboeuf, documentation céline duval, Jimmie Durham, Latifa Echakhch, Harun Farocki, Mounir Fatmi, Cao Fei, Hans-Peter Feldmann, Michel François, Claire Fontaine, Meschac Gaba, General Idea, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Renée Green, Subodh Gupta, Hans Haacke, Raymond Hains, Thomas Hirschhorn, Carsten Höller, Douglas Huebler, Pierre Huyghe, Bouchra Khalili, Matthieu Laurette, Louise Lawler, Paul McCarthy, Gustav Metzger, Antoni Muntadas, N55, Jean-Christophe Norman, Boris Ondreicka, ORLAN, Gabriel Orozco, Sener Özmen/Cengiz Tekin, Philippe Parreno, Yan Pei-Ming, Lili Reynaud Dewar, Gerhard Richter, Jimmy Robert, Bruno Serralongue, Cindy Sherman, Simon Starling, Jessica Stockholder, The Atlas Group/Walid Raad, Joëlle Tuerlinckx, Luc Tuymans, Ben Vautier, Huang Yong Ping, Chen Zhen.

E-publication A Republic of Art

The exhibition is accompanied by an e-publication with contributions by Ami Barak, Charles Esche, Annie Fletcher, Diana Franssen,  Bernard de Montferrand,  Le Peuple qui Manque, Stephen Wright and an interview with FRAC directors Catherine Elkar,  Xavier Franceschi and Laurence Gateau.
Language: English and French. Publication date: June 2015. Managing editor: Lena Reisner. Design by 75b.

Assistent curator

Lena Reisner


A Republic of Art is organised in collaboration with PLATFORM, the umbrella organisation of the 23 FRACs in France.
FRAC advisory board: Catherine Elkar (director FRAC Bretagne), Xavier Franceschi (director FRAC Île de France), Laurence Gateau (director FRAC des Pays de la Loire), Anne-Claire Duprat (PLATFORM).

Visit our webshop to see some of our products related to the exhibition, like our cycling jersey and the book 30 Ans du FRAC Champagne-Ardenne.

A Republic of Art consists of :


Made possible in part by


  • Platform