Art History’s Rice and Silver Named to France’s Ordre des Arts et Des Lettres


Shelley Rice and Kenneth Silver, professors in New York University’s Department of Art History, have been awarded the rank of chevalier, or knight, in France’s Ordre des Arts et des Lettres for their contributions to furthering the arts in France and throughout the world.

Shelley Rice and Kenneth Silver, professors in New York University’s Department of Art History, have been awarded the rank of chevalier, or knight, in France’s Ordre des Arts et des Lettres for their contributions to furthering the arts in France and throughout the world.

The Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, awarded by France’s minister of state for cultural affairs, was established in 1957 to recognize eminent artists and writers. Laureates include both natives of France and non-natives. Recent American recipients include Paul Auster, Morgan Freeman, and Meryl Streep. 

Rice, who is also arts professor in the Department of Photography and Imaging at NYU’s Maurice Kanbar Institute of Film & Television in the Tisch School of the Arts, is the author of Parisian Views (which was shortlisted for the United Kingdom’s Kraszna-Krausz Award); the editor of Inverted Odysseys: Claude Cahun, Maya Deren, Cindy Sherman; and the co-author of numerous books, including: Paris et le Daguerreotype; Jacques-Henri Lartigue; The Book of 101 Books; and the Nouvelle Histoire de la Photographie (for which she was the American consultant.) 

She has served as guest curator of several important exhibitions, including “Inverted Odysseys” at NYU’s Grey Art Gallery (1999-2000; with Lynn Gumpert), which won the International Art Critics’ Association’s award for Best Photography Exhibition in the United States. A Guggenheim Fellow in 1992-93, Rice also is the recipient of Fulbright Senior Fellowships to France (1989-90) and Turkey (1999), a Bourse d’Etude from the French Minister of Culture (1991) and a Hasselblad Grant from Sweden (1988), the PEN/Jerard Award for Non-Fiction Essay (1989) and grants from the National Endowments of the Arts and Humanities. Her articles, essays, reviews, and columns have appeared in Art in America, Art Journal, Aperture, the New Republic, French Studies, Artforum, and other journals.

Silver’s published works include: Espirit de Corps: The Art of the Parisian Avant-Garde and the First World War, 1914-1925, awarded the Charles Rufus Morey Prize of the College Art Association of America; Making Paradise: Art, Modernity, and the Myth of the French Riviera; and Paris Portraits: Artists, Friends, and Lovers. He has curated several major museum exhibitions, including “The Circle of Montparnasse: Jewish Artists in Paris 1905-1945” (1985); “An Expressionist in Paris: The Paintings of Chaim Soutine” (1998; with Norman Kleeblatt); and “Sarah Bernhardt: The Art of High Drama” (2005; with Carol Ockman), which won the Victorian Society of America award for Best Exhibition and Catalogue in 2007.

Silver is the recipient of the Prix du Livre, Beaux Arts, Paris as well as grants and awards from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Getty Research Institute, and the ACLS. He is adjunct curator at the Bruce Museum in Greenwich, CT. His forthcoming exhibition, “Chaos and Classicism:  Art in France, Italy, and Germany, 1918-1936,” will open at New York’s Guggenheim Museum on October 1.

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