“Diego Rivera exposé au MoMA de New York”
dee-AY-go ree-BAY-rah ex-po-zay oh mo-MAH duh noo YORK. Click below to hear this.*
“Diego Rivera exhibit at New York’s MoMA.”
That’s in quotation marks because it’s a headline I saw today. No, I’m not actually writing about Diego Rivera, a fine Mexican painter who lived from 1896 to 1957. You can read about him at this link or look him up on Google or Wikipedia. It was the wording of the headline that caught my eye.
When you expose someone in English, it sounds a good deal as if that person did something scandalous. But in French, exposer means to exhibit, as in a museum. An art exhibition is une exposition d’art.
Exhiber (pronounced egg-zee-BAY), on the other hand, is French for exhibit when you are talking about symptoms, characteristics, and that sort of thing. It goes with people, not artwork. S’exhiber is what perverts do in city parks. In English, that’s to expose oneself.
You can still say Il s’est exposé aux critiques (He exposed himself to criticism), and you can still say Ce tableau exhibe quelques traits du surréalisme (This painting exhibits some characteristics of surrealism) .
Are you confused yet? Then forget all this. Just go read about Diego Rivera, and if you’re in the New York area between now and May, 2012, go see the exhibit (expo). I’m sure it will be wonderful.
*Some mobile phones, such as Blackberries, won’t display the audio player. If no player appears, here’s an alternative link to the audio file: