Remembering Forum 49: Works from the PAAM Collection

This exhibition will include works from PAAM’s permanent collection by artists who were featured in the original Forum 49, such as Adolph Gottlieb, Alexander Calder, and Morris Davidson, as well as many works created by artists in Provincetown in 1949. 

Forum 49 was a summer-long series of sophisticated programs held in 1949, beginning with the forum “What Is An Artist?” and ending with the controversial “French Art vs American Art Today.” Record crowds attended the exhibits of paintings and programs focused on the avant-garde in many areas (architecture, psychoanalysis, poetry, jazz) all held in a gallery at 200 Commercial Street. Presented in conjunction with Forum 24 (read more below).


Grace Hopkins is a Wellfleet artist, parent, and educator. She is also the steward of the estates of artist Budd Hopkins and art historian April Kingsley: her parents. She earned a BFA in photography from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and Tufts University and has guided the art world for two decades with positions in museums, academics, and galleries. Her innovative photography has been exhibited widely on the Cape and elsewhere. She is the director of the Berta Walker Gallery in Provincetown and a member of the steering committee for the Provincetown Art Gallery Association.

Forum 24

Forum 24 celebrates the 75th anniversary of the seminal Forum 49 presentation of emerging modern art – an event that changed the history of art in Provincetown and worldwide.

The Provincetown Art Gallery Association will mark the occasion with a summer of events designed to honor the original Forum and illuminate the connections between modern art and the cultural changes and artistic changes that still resonate in the world today. Learn more at


Wednesday, July 17, 6pm: “Surrealist Film Shorts: Beginnings.” A screening and discussion with Howard Karren.

Inspired by the surrealist and Dada movements in visual art, Luís Buñuel teamed up with his friend Salvador Dalí to produce this anti-clerical, deliberate assault on bourgeois values, “Un Chien Andalou” (An Andalusian Dog), which changed the face (and figure) of film forever. Maya Deren’s “Meshes of the

Afternoon” attempted to give dream imagery a voice and create a genuine independent cinema in the U.S. These two shorts are iconic examples of the birth of surrealist cinema.

The films:

  • Un Chien Andalou (1929), “An Andalusian Dog,” directed by Luís Buñuel, written by Buñuel and Salvador Dalí, B&W, 16 min.
  • Meshes of the Afternoon (1943), directed by and starring Maya Deren and Alexander Hammid, written by Deren, B&W, 14 min.

Wednesday, July 31, 6pm: “What is an artist?” Panel discussion led by Mike Carroll. 

A nod to the program opener for Forum 49 was a discussion “What is an artist?” lead by George Biddle, Hans Hofmann, Adolph Gottlieb, and Serge Chermayeff. 

Wednesday, August 21, 6pm: Surrealist Film Shorts: Beyond. A screening and discussion with Howard Karren.

Surrealist imagery soon entered the realm of mainstream filmmaking, appearing mostly as dreams and sometimes full features. Avant-garde artists began to move beyond. Here are two examples: in “Le Chant du Styrène” (“The Song of Styrene”), French New Wave master Alain Resnais turns plastic into poetry, and in “The Order,” a 31-minute excerpt of his three-hour epic Cremaster 3 (part of the nine-hour-long, five-part Cremaster Cycle), Barney looked to create form beyond biology, “cremaster” being the muscle that raises or lowers the testicles in response to temperature.

The films:

  • Le Chant du Styrène (1958), “The Song of Styrene,” directed by Alain Resnais, written by Raymond Queneau, color, 13 min.
  • Cremaster 3: The Order (2002), written, directed and starring Matthew Barney, color, 31 min.
Image: Adolph Gottlieb (1903-1974), Imaginary Landscape, oil on canvas, PAAM Collection, Gift from the Richmond Bequest, 1978.