Vincent Johnson:
17 Place Vendôme
May 4 - June 15, 2024

Upcoming Artist Talks

Thursday, May 23, 7:30 PM

Thursday, June 13, 7:30 PM

The Mike Kelley Gallery at Beyond Baroque presents 17 Place Vendôme: Les Frères Crozat et Cie by Vincent Johnson. In the exhibition and accompanying discussions, Johnson documents the foundations of the modern art world in the brutality of the slave trade.

The exhibition takes its name from the home of the leading gallery for 20th-century European Modernism when it opened in 1939, backed by Andre Malraux and Jean Paul Sartre with catalog essays by Andre Breton. Both the history of the physical address, and the arts ecosystem it housed, cannot be separated from the slave trade. 17 Place Vendôme had been the late 17th century palace of Antoine Crozat, the wealthiest slave owner in French history and the country’s first billionaire. His younger brother, Pierre Crozat, was a connoisseur and patron of art, and acquired the art collection that formed the core of the paintings collection in the Hermitage after being purchased by Catherine the Great. Meanwhile, the catalog raisonné was invented in the Pierre Crozat palatial dwelling in Paris, while conversations about art moved from the Palace of Versailles to Pierre’s.

Through wide-ranging scholarship and a series of collages, Johnson resituates the social, financial, intellectual, and physical architecture of Western Art in the profound violence enacted by European and North American slavers.