Governor Northam Announces Free Admission for State Employees and Teachers to VMFA’s Exhibition Man Ray: The Paris Years

Man Ray’s Portrait Photography Captures Early 20th-Century Cultural Luminaries Abroad

Richmond, Virginia — Governor Ralph Northam announced today that Commonwealth of Virginia employees and preschool and K–12 teachers (public and private) can receive free admission to the groundbreaking exhibition Man Ray: The Paris Years on view at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) now through February 21, 2022. Active-duty military and their immediate families can also receive free admission through the museum’s year-round extension of the Blue Star Museums program. 

“We are fortunate to have in the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts such a treasure in our Commonwealth,” said Governor Northam. “VMFA has a long history of creating exceptional exhibitions, like Man Ray: The Paris Years, for all Virginians. I hope state employees and educators will take advantage of the cultural opportunities the museum offers.” 

Man Ray (1890–1976), who was raised in Brooklyn, New York, by Jewish immigrant parents, became most recognized as the American force behind the avant-garde Dada and Surrealist art movements, which helped define Modernism. He used photography to challenge artistic traditions and break boundaries, including fixed gender roles and racial barriers. Shortly after moving to France, Man Ray embarked on a sustained campaign to document the international avant-garde in a series of remarkable portraits that established his reputation as one of the leading photographers of his era.

Featuring more than 100 compelling portrait photographs taken by the artist in Paris between 1921 and 1940, Man Ray: The Paris Years offers a more complete account of Ray’s time in the city by focusing not just on his achievement as an innovative photographer but also on the friendships and exchange of ideas that took place between the artist and his subjects — cultural luminaries such as Barbette, André Breton, Jean Cocteau, Marcel Duchamp, Ernest Hemingway, Miriam Hopkins, James Joyce, Henri Matisse, Méret Oppenheim, Alice Prin (Kiki de Montparnasse), Elsa Schiaparelli, Erik Satie, Wallis Simpson and Gertrude Stein. The exhibition is curated by Dr. Michael Taylor, VMFA’s Chief Curator and Deputy Director for Art and Education.

“We welcome our peers from across Virginia to take advantage of free admission and come see this fascinating exhibition, particularly as they plan their upcoming holiday travel,” said Alex Nyerges, VMFA’s Director and CEO. “Timed to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the artist’s arrival in the French capital, Man Ray: The Paris Years is a visually provocative and especially relevant exhibition.” 

As a state art museum that has free general admission and is open 365 days a year, VMFA is committed to representing the cultural and linguistic diversity of our community. Dual-language labels are incorporated throughout the Man Ray: The Paris Years exhibition, as well as the audio tour and gallery guide. Recognizing that English is not the native language of everyone who visits the exhibition, VMFA is offering content in both Spanish and English to create a more accessible, inclusive and welcoming experience for all of our visitors.

For more information about Man Ray: The Paris Years and programs related to the exhibition, visit

Ticket Information

Tickets for the exhibition Man Ray: The Paris Years are available on the museum’s website: $16 for adults; $12 for seniors 65+, and $10 for youth 7-17 and college students with ID. The exhibition is free for VMFA members, children ages 6 and under, as well as Commonwealth of Virginia employees and preschool and K–12 teachers (public and private). The exhibition is also free to active-duty military and their immediate families.

About the Sponsors

Organized by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Man Ray: The Paris Years is sponsored by the Lettie Pate Whitehead Evans Exhibition Endowment, the Julia Louise Reynolds Fund, Mr. and Mrs. R. Augustus Edwards III, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas F. Garner, Jr., Dr. and Mrs. William V. Garner, Elisabeth Shelton Gottwald Fund, The Francena T. Harrison Foundation, Nancy and Peter Huber, Don and Mary Shockey, Birch Douglass, Christopher English and Meda Lane, Hamilton Beach Brands, Inc., Dr. John B. Herrington III and Mr. Keith Toth, Margaret and Thomas Mackell, Michael Schewel and Priscilla Burbank, Tom Williamson and Janet Brown, Ms. Virginia R. Edmunds, Hugh and Nancy Harrison, and Dr. and Mrs. Harry A. Wellons, Jr. Marketing support for this exhibition is provided by the Charles G. Thalhimer Fund.

About the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond, Virginia, is one of the largest comprehensive art museums in the United States. VMFA, which opened in 1936, is a state agency and privately endowed educational institution. Its purpose is to collect, preserve, exhibit, and interpret art, and to encourage the study of the arts. Through the Office of Statewide Partnerships program, the museum offers curated exhibitions, arts-related audiovisual programs, symposia, lectures, conferences, and workshops by visual and performing artists. In addition to presenting a wide array of special exhibitions, the museum provides visitors with the opportunity to experience a global collection of art that spans more than 6,000 years. VMFA’s permanent holdings encompass nearly 50,000 artworks, including the largest public collection of Fabergé outside of Russia, the finest collection of Art Nouveau outside of Paris, and one of the nation’s finest collections of American art. VMFA is also home to important collections of Chinese art, English silver, and French Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, British sporting, and modern and contemporary art, as well as renowned South Asian, Himalayan, and African art. In May 2010, VMFA opened its doors to the public after a transformative expansion, the largest in its history.

The museum has undertaken an exciting $190 million expansion and renovation, anticipated to be complete in late 2025. International firm SmithGroup is charged with designing a 105,000-square-foot wing for contemporary art, African art, photography, special exhibitions and events; a new 40,000-square-foot collections center to accommodate an expanded conservation department and collections storage; and 45,000 square feet of renovations to the museum’s 1936 building, 1970 building and Leslie Cheek Theater.

The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is the only art museum in the United States open 365 days a year with free general admission. For additional information, telephone 804.340.1400 or visit

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