Dave Kehr, Receives Insignia of Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters

June 12, 2017 | By French Culture

New York, June 8, 2017-Author, journalist, film historian, film critic and MoMA curator Dave Kehr will be awarded the insignia of Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters by Bénédicte de Montlaur, Cultural Counselor of the French Embassy, on June 15th, in New York.  Mr. Kehr is to receive this distinction in recognition of his achievements as a highly-acclaimed cinema critic and curator.

The Order of Arts and Letters (Ordre des Arts et des Lettres) was established in 1957 to recognize eminent artists and writers, as well as people who have contributed significantly to furthering the arts in France and throughout the world.

Mr. Kehr demonstrated his commitment to French cinema over the course of four decades as a critic and film journalist before joining the Museum of Modern Art in 2013.   Kehr’s passion for cinema, and the instrumental role that French cinema specifically has played in shaping the future of the art, has led him to support foreign cinematography and international artistic dialogue.

A native of Oklahoma City, Dave Kehr earned his undergraduate degree in English at the University of Chicago. He began learning French in order to read the influential French film critics of the “politique des auteurs” school as pioneered in the journals Les Cahiers du cinema and Positif. Kehr began writing film criticism from an author perspective for the student newspaper at the University of Chicago, while he was also the chairman of the student film society, Doc Films. He served as a film critic for the Chicago Reader (from 1974 until 1985), and then for the Chicago Tribune, before relocating to New York to become a critic and columnist for the Daily News and The New York Times. As a cinema critic, Dave Kehr gave particular attention to French movies of all genres.

In 2013, he joined The Museum of Modern Art team as Adjunct Curator in the Department of Film, before being appointed curator in 2017.  In this new position, Kehr curates programs for the museum’s extensive public exhibition program and works with the museum’s vast film archive on restorations and circulating programs. “Dave Kehr has a hard-earned and dedicated international following as a champion of the under-recognized and long-forgotten in cinema,” noted Rajendra Roy, The Celeste Bartos Chief Curator of Film at MoMA. “His writing has helped uncover numerous lost gems, provided support for their preservation, and inspired countless moviegoers and filmmakers alike. We are thrilled to have him dive into our collection and add his voice to the celebration of the art of the motion picture.”

The Order of Arts and Letters (Ordre des Arts et des Lettres) was established in 1957 to recognize eminent artists and writers, as well as people who have contributed significantly furthering the arts in France and throughout the world. The Order of Arts and Letters is given out three times annually under the jurisdiction of the minister of Culture and Communication. American recipients of the award include Paul Auster, Ornette Coleman, Agnes Gund, Marilyn Horne, Jim Jarmusch, Richard Meier, Robert Paxton, Robert Redford, Meryl Streep, and Uma Thurman.

 The Cultural Services of the French Embassy promotes the best of French arts, literature, cinema, language, and higher education across the US. Based in New York City, Washington D.C and eight other cities across the country, the Cultural Services brings artists, authors, educational and university programs to cities nationwide. It also builds partnership between French and American artists, institutions and universities on both sides of the Atlantic. In New York, through its bookshop, Albertine, it fosters French American exchange around literature and the arts.

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Media Contact: Camille Desprez, Cultural Services of the French Embassy, camille.desprez@diplomatie.gouv.fr, +1.212.439.1417
 

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