Etant Donnés: French-American Fund for Contemporary Art

Etant donnés: The French-American Fund for Contemporary Art was founded in 1994 by the Cultural Services of the French Embassy, the former Association Française d’Action Artistique (AFAA) – now the Institut Français – and the Délégation aux Arts Plastiques (DAP) of the French Ministry of Culture and Communication.

Etant donnés aims to support significant and engaging artistic projects that speak to relevant questions in contemporary art across the world. It achieves this by fostering active collaboration and encouraging long-lasting partnerships between French visual artists, curators, or collectives and American curators and cultural institutions.


Over the past 20 years, the art world has profoundly evolved. In 2016, Etant donnés seeks to embrace new practices and enable different approaches to creation in contemporary art, understood in its broadest sense to include projects that draw on the visual arts, design, architecture, or performance. Etant donnés will support ambitious artistic projects, with high priority given to co-productions, new commissions, as well as projects that can be developed across several cities in the U.S.

Etant donnés will also fund a new curatorial fellowship to accompany American curators, either independent or affiliated with institutions, who wish to conduct research in France. Carefully review our guidelines before applying for an artistic grant or curatiorial fellowship.

Etant donnés was developed in partnership with the Florence Gould Foundation. Recent support has been generously provided by the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation.


Etant donnés takes its name from the famed artwork by Marcel Duchamp, the French-born artist who established himself in the United States and whose work has inspired contemporary artists for decades. By referencing Duchamp’s legacy, Etant donnés underscores the constant interaction between France and the United States in the history of art in the 20th century and beyond. It also fosters the belief formulated by Duchamp that “All in all, the creative act is not performed by the artist alone.”

Etant donnés has since its inception nurtured and supported the work of contemporary artists from France and the United States. It has facilitated the discovery of emerging talents, while also sustaining interest in established artists whose work inspires younger generations. The program has also been instrumental in creating a network of curators from both countries who work together and exchange ideas. It has developed an international reputation for helping realize a substantial number of projects. To date, the Fund has allocated over $3 million to support more than 300 projects and 16 curators.

The program seeks primarily to introduce French visual artists whose works have rarely, if ever, been shown in the United States to American audiences. The Fund offers financial support in the form of grants to American nonprofit institutions that organize exhibitions, installations, or research projects featuring French artists.

The Fund 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, and the Wexner Art Center in Ohio. Support has also been given to numerous projects at alternative spaces, including Artists Space, Artist’s Institute, and Art in General. In France, Etant donnés has also provided funding for organizations such as the Musée National d’Art Moderne Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, Le Consortium in Dijon, and several FRACs (Fonds Régional d’Art Contemporain). Visit our website for a list of artists, curatora and institutions supported by Etant donnés.


Application Session Opens: June 1, 2016

Applications Deadline: September 5, 2016

Projects must begin by October 2016, at the latest, and conclude by December 2017.

Notification of Committee Selection: Mid-October, 2016

Click here for more info or to apply for this application cycle!

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