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Records of a bold historical moment

April 20, 2006

Marcel Duchamp and Katherine Dreier were acquainted around the time Duchamp caused a scandal by entering his ready-made urinal piece "Fountain" for a major exhibition in 1917. Although Dreier voted against showing the piece, the artists eventually cultivated a lifelong friendship and founded, along with Man Ray, the Societe Anonyme, a museum dedicated to modern art that preceded New York's Museum of Modern Art by almost a decade. The collection and, eventually, most of Dreier's personal holdings were donated to Yale, giving the university gallery bragging rights to one of the most impressive acquisitions of 1920-40 works. For the first time, a portion of the collection will travel to the West Coast in the exhibition "Societe Anonyme: Modernism for America," showcasing more than 200 paintings, sculptures, drawings and prints by Duchamp, Mondrian, Kandinsky and other 20th century heavy-hitters from the art world. The museum offers gallery talks from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, opening day.

"Societe Anonyme: Modernism for America," Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., L.A. Opens Sunday. Adults, $5; seniors, $3; students with ID and 17 and younger, free. (310) 443-7000.

* Hours: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, except 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursdays; 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays. Ends Aug. 20.

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