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GALLIERA: Back in Fashion
AIR FRANCE: Flying High at 80
Pierre HUYGHE: Art Beyond Objects
Azzedine Alaïa with a bustier •dress from his Fall/Winter 2013 collection; the photo is featured in “ALAÏA” at the newly reopened Musée Galliera. Story page 40; photo ©Patrick Demarchelier.
features 28 Winged Victories Air France’s 80th birthday celebrations this fall mark a long and colorful history—much of it set in the United States. by Roland Flamini
40 Back in Fashion After four years of primping behind closed doors, Paris’s Musée Galliera is ready for its close-up. by Amy Serafin
50 Pierre Huyghe For this iconoclastic artist, it really is all about the process. by Sara Romano
departments 5 The f: section Culture, books, travel, shopping, food & wine edited by Melissa Omerberg
22 Art Nomads at Art by Sara Romano
56 Calendrier French Cultural Events in North America by Tracy Kendrick
62 Temps Modernes Our Secret Weapon by Michel Faure
We have reported on just about every kind of French museum in this magazine— large and small, public and private, Parisian and provincial. In this issue, we visit Paris’s newly renovated Musée Galliera but also a number of less conventional “museums without walls” scattered throughout the country. Called FRACs, these regional collections of contemporary art are warehoused until curators find a temporary venue to display them—a school or a church, perhaps, or even an open field or a prison. Coincidentally, we also stumbled upon another museum without walls, this one right in the heart of Paris: the Musée Air France. Never heard of it? Neither had I until our article on Air France’s 80th anniversary led me there for a meeting with its president, Jean Signoret. In truth, there really is no “there” there. Signage does take you behind the Air France offices at the Gare des Invalides to a shop that sells models of Air France planes, books, postcards, stewardess dolls, some really great posters and all sorts of other branded merchandise. It is, in effect, the museum boutique; the collection itself is stored a few miles away at Orly Airport. There is no venue for permanent exhibitions, but items are regularly loaned to publications and institutions in France and around the world; for example, the museum graciously lent all the historical images for our story. COVER Air France has earned •a reputation In all, there are more than 100,000 objects in the for artful posters, including this lyrical scene collection, from uniforms and boarding passes to composed by Jean Cocteau in magazines, works of art, menus, logbooks, toys…. But 1960—before the introduction more impressive than its size and scope is the fact that this of nonsmoking flights. Photo courtesy of Air France. collection was amassed and is managed almost entirely by volunteers. Like Signoret, whose 30-year career included stints as global advertising director and managerial postings throughout the world, most are former Air France employees who now belong to the Association Musée Air France. They continue to build the collection through donations and acquisitions, and in recent years have taken on the herculean task of digitizing their holdings. Their latest project is designing a virtual museum slated to open in November on their Web site, airfrancemusee.org. Much of this work is done at the Invalides location; while visiting, you may see association members laboring at computers just behind the displays of merchandise. One might be Bernard Pourchet, whose long career included directing Air France’s catering service and storied “Postale de Nuit” airmail department; now vice president of the museum, he will answer your questions with an enthusiasm and passion that are nothing short of remarkable—and charming. The two former flight attendants who run the documentation center and shop will likely chime in, eager to share their own stories along with company lore and history. One of the retired Air France employees interviewed for our article wistfully remarked, “The years I spent working for Air France were the best years of my life. Air France was a family.” For this museum’s little band of aviation buffs, it clearly still is. KAREN TAYLOR Editor 2
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Editor KAREN TAYLOR
Senior Editor/Web Editor MELISSA OMERBERG
Copy Editor LISA OLSON
Proofreader DEBORAH PARKER
Art Direction TODD ALBERTSON DESIGN
Production Manager Associate Art Director/Webmaster PATRICK NAZER
Social Media and Marketing Associate BENJAMIN SIGMAN
Contributors MICHEL FAURE, now
retired from L’Express, is pursuing a variety of journalistic ventures • ROLAND FLAMINI, a former TIME Magazine correspondent, now writes a foreign policy column for the Washington-based CQ Weekly and is a frequent contributor to France Magazine • DOROTHY J. GAITER is a New Yorkbased writer and the co-author of four books • TRACY KENDRICK is a freelance journalist who often writes about French culture • SARA ROMANO covers cultural topics for a number of international publications • JULIA SAMMUT is an author and food writer who contributes to a number of international publications including Les Echos, Côté Sud and Le Guide du Fooding • AMY SERAFIN, formerly editor of WHERE Paris, is a Paris-based freelance journalist who has contributed to The New York Times, NPR, Departures and other media • HEATHER STIMMLER-HALL is an author and a hotel and travel writer for Fodor’s, Hotelier International and easyJet inflight. EDITORIAL OFFICE
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PHOTO CREDITS Winged Victory pp. 28-29: collection musée air france, ©michael lindner ; pp. 30-31: ©vincent guerra /musée air france, collection musée air france ; pp. 32-35: collection musée air france ; pp. 36-37: collection musée air france, vehiclehi.com ; pp. 38-39: ©virginie valdois /air france, © patrick delapierre, © air france /brandimage. Back in Fashion pp. 40-41: © musei di strada nuova /genova , © patrick demarchelier, © stéphane lavoué /pasco ; pp. 42-43: © musei di strada nuova / genova , © christophe fouin , © claire pignol , © di messina , mbzt ; pp. 44-45: © ed alcock , © gary gershoff / getty images , mike marsland /wireimage, pete souza / the white house, zimbio, peter lindbergh, © robert kot; pp. 46-47: © olivier amsellem, consueloblog.com, © piero biasion /style.com, © pierre antoine, © jean-francois josé /comme des garçons ; pp. 48-49: photographs on this spread bear the galliera /roger-viollet copyright and were shot by l. degrâces and p. joffre, philippe ladet, c. pignol and p. ladet, henry clarke, p. joffre and d. lifermann. Pierre Huyghe pp. 50-51: courtesy pierre huyghe /marian goodman gallery, new york /the banff centre ; pp. 52-53: ari marcopoulos, courtesy of pierre huyghe / marian goodman gallery, new york / esther schipper ; pp. 54-55: michael vahrenwald, melissa dubbin , guillaume ziccarelli ; pp. 56-57: courtesy pierre huyghe, © nils klinger.
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“Le Pierrot absurde” •(2013) by the young Berlinbased artist Matthias Bitzer is one of the works featured at Paris’s International Contemporary Art Fair (FIAC), which marks its 40th anniversary this year.
C O U R T E S Y K A D E L W I L L B O R N D Ü S S E L D O R F, G E R M A N Y
Edited by MELISSA OMERBERG
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Paris & the provinces
Naked Guys Surprising as it may seem, until last year no museum had ever mounted a large-scale exhibit devoted to the male nude (Vienna’s Leopold Museum was the first to take the plunge). The Musée d’Orsay’s Masculin / Masculin – L’homme nu dans l’art de 1800 à nos
takes the project a step further with a look at the male nude’s origin in 18th-century Classicism and the various dogmas and aesthetic considerations that have emerged since then. Through Jan. 2, 2014; musee-orsay.fr. jours
Allegro Barbaro In the early 20th century, Hungarian musicians and artists were at the forefront of the European avant garde. Allegro Barbaro – Béla Bartók et la modernité hongroise 1905-1920,
at the Musée d’Orsay, examines that fertile
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period through about 100 paintings drawn from public and private collections as well as documents, films and recordings. All relate to the young Bartók and the musicians, composers, writers, poets, philosophers and psychoanalysts who were part of his circle. Oct. 15, 2013, through Jan. 5, 2014; musee-orsay.fr. Subliming Vessel In partnership with New York’s Morgan Library and Museum, the Bibliothèque Nationale de France presents La Chambre de Sublimation: Dessins de Matthew Barney. Featuring some 80 works on paper spanning the artist’s career, the exhibition includes Barney’s earliest drawings, dating back to the late 1980s, and a selection of storyboards—sketches, photographs, clippings and books—used to map out the narrative structure of his Cremaster film cycle and his current project, River of Fundament. Oct. 8, 2013, through Jan. 5, 2014; bnf.fr.
Pierre Huyghe The Centre Pompidou’s Pierre Huyghe is the first major retrospective devoted to the French artist. Combining films, sculptures, installations and other projects, the show illuminates the organic and poetic aspects of the artist’s work. (See story, page 50.) Through Jan. 6, 2014; centrepompidou.fr. Georges Braque A painter, engraver and sculptor, Georges Braque was a key member of the early 20thcentury avant garde. The Grand Palais is presenting an ambitious retrospective of his work that includes his groundbreaking experiments with Cubism and the invention of the collage; his collaborations with musicians and poets, as well as the leading intellectuals of the day; and depictions of his creations by such renowned photographers as Man Ray, Doisneau and Cartier-Bresson. Through Jan. 6, 2014; grandpalais.fr.
COLLECTION PÉREZ SIMÓN, ME XICO /©STUDIO SÉBERT PHOTOGR APHE
• Frederic Leighton’s “Greek Girls Picking up Pebbles by the Sea” (1871), one of the Victorian masterpieces on view at the Jacquemart-André.
Lock Down Nearly 50 works from the prestigious Pinault collection are on view at Paris’s Conciergerie, a former prison where Marie Antoinette was once jailed. A Triple Tour features 22 contemporary artists, including Michelangelo Pistoletto, Bill Viola, Mona Hatoum, Damien Hirst and Chen Zhen. In keeping with its historic setting, the show explores the theme of imprisonment, both physical and psychological. Most of the items on display have never before been exhibited. Oct. 21, 2013, through Jan. 6, 2014; monuments-nationaux.fr. Angkor Wat probes the legend of Angkor Wat as it took shape in Europe (and especially France) in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The Musée Guimet’s fall exhibit traces the rediscovery of the Khmer heritage and the presentation of Angkor Wat to enthusiastic audiences at the Universal and Colonial Expositions. Some 250 pieces are on view, including sculptures, plaster casts, photographs, paintings and drawings that chronicle France’s first contact with the art of ancient Cambodia. Oct. 16, 2013, through Jan. 13, 2014; guimet.fr.
© 2 0 13 B A N C O D E M É X I C O D I E G O R I V E R A F R I D A K A H L O M U S E U M S T R U S T, M E X I C O , D . F. / A D A G P, PA R I S ; © M A U R I C E A E S C H I M A N N / S U C C E S S I O N P I C A S S O 2 0 13
Angkor: L’Invention d’un mythe
Diego and Frida The Musée de l’Orangerie’s L’Art en fusion looks at the ultimate artistic power couple: Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo. The show presents their work together, establishing a dialogue between paintings that are highly different yet complementary, and concerned with quintessentially Mexican themes—the cycle of life and death, revolution and religion, realism and mysticism, workers and peasants…. Oct. 9, 2013, through Jan. 13, 2014; musee-orangerie.fr. Astérix at the BnF In 2011, Albert Uderzo presented the Bibliothèque Nationale de France with the original plates of several Astérix albums. That donation lies at the heart of Astérix à la BnF, dedicated to the beloved bande dessinée Picasso’s 1957 “sun” plate, •shown at Sèvres – Cité de la Céramique.
that has been translated into 107 languages and sold 350 million copies worldwide. The retrospective examines the sources of Uderzo and Goscinny’s classic comics and looks at what makes them so universally funny. Oct. 16, 2013, through Jan. 19, 2014; bnf.fr. The Beauty Myth The Musée Jacquemart-André’s Désirs et volupté à l’époque victorienne explores the creativity of the British Aesthetic Movement, which came into being during a time of great economic and social upheaval. Heirs to the Pre-Raphaelites, its practitioners—Lawrence Alma-Tadema, Frederic Leighton, Edward Burne-Jones, Albert Moore—particularly delighted in painting women, whom they often portrayed as classic or medieval heroines. The exhibit contains some 50 works celebrating the “cult of beauty.” Through Jan. 20, 2014; musee-jacquemart-andre.com. Félix Vallotton Félix Vallotton’s woodcuts earned him an international reputation by the time he was 30, but the artist went on to become a painter, leaving behind more than 1,700 canvases at his death at age 60. The Grand Palais’s Félix Vallotton: Le feu sous la glace —the largest retrospective devoted to the artist in decades— explores 10 different themes, including Vallotton’s idealism and purity of line, flattened perspectives, photographic approach and cool eroticism as well as “the tragic violence of a black spot.” Oct. 2, 2013, through Jan. 20, 2014; grandpalais.fr. Renaissance Dreams During the Renaissance, divination and dream interpretation were central to political life, literature, even medical and theological debates; the question of whether dreams represented an encounter with the divine or the demonic was widely discussed. La Renaissance et le Rêve – Greco,
at the Musée du Luxembourg look s at how painters and engravers dealt with the dream world in their work, although most artists of the era— with the notable exception of Dürer—refrained Bosch, Véronèse
“Still Life with Carafe” (1916), a relatively •unknown Cubist canvas by Diego Rivera, is presented at the Orangerie alongside works by Frida Kahlo.
from depicting their own nighttime imagery. Oct. 9, 2013, through Jan. 26, 2014; museeduluxembourg.fr. Azzedine Alaïa The newly renovated and reopened Palais Galliera is devoting its inaugural exhibition to award-winning designer Azzedine Alaïa. Encouraged by his friend Thierry Mugler, Alaïa presented his first signature collection in 1979; with his concern for making “garments that last” rather than those that disappear after a season, he remains highly influential in the fashion world. (See story, page 40). Through Jan. 26, 2014; galliera.paris.fr. The Weavers Both visual and tactile, aesthetic and utilitarian, textiles blur the boundaries between art and design. The Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris showcases this medium in DECORUM Tapis et tapisseries d’artistes, featuring nearly 100 rugs and tapestries by modern and contemporary artists as varied as Brassaï, Pablo Picasso, Francis Bacon, Louise Bourgeois and Mike Kelley. Alongside works by these pillars of modern art, the show examines new directions being taken by young contemporary artists whose pieces integrate tradition, non-Western influences and digital technologies. Oct. 11, 2013, through Feb. 9, 2014; mam.paris.fr.
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Culture the Loire Valley and as distant as Bolivia. This new work is gathered together in
the enduring relevance of the issues raised by Surrealism. Oct. 30, 2013, through March 3, 2014; centrepompidou.fr.
Raymond Depardon –
Un moment si doux,
Mediterranean Menu Marseille’s new Musée des Civilisations de l’Europe et de la Méditerranée (MuCEM) presents a pair of inaugural exhibits: Le Noir et le Bleu – Un Rêve Méditerranéen looks at 12 different aspects of culture and civilization around the Mediterranean basin, from antiquities and cosmopolitan exchanges to organized crime and war. Au Bazar du genre – Féminin-masculin en Méditerranée examines gender, sexuality and family life in the region through everyday objects, films and works of contemporary art. Through Jan. 6, 2014; mucem.org.
Art Deco With its sleek geometric lines, Art Deco, named for the 1925 Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Félix Vallotton’s monumental “La Blanche et la Noire” (1913), at the Grand •Palais, Modernes, enjoys subverts Manet’s once-shocking “Olympia.” enduring appeal. This The Etruscans fall the Cité de l’Architecture et du PatriThe Musée Maillol’s Etrusques – Un hymne à moine, itself housed in an Art Deco edifice, la vie examines the daily life of the Etruscans, presents 1925, quand l’Art déco séduit le monde. one of the Mediterranean’s major civiliza- The French contribution to this artistic movetions before the rise of Rome. While modern ment was huge and is examined through researchers are most familiar with their funer- architectural models, furnishings, sculptures, al practices, this exhibit focuses on the daily paintings and objects. Oct. 16, 2013, through life of this mysterious people through some Feb. 17, 2014; citechaillot.fr. 250 works of art, pieces of jewelry, religious objects, ancient writings and richly decorated Jewelry in the Spotlight bronze and ceramic vessels used for banquets. Dans la ligne de mire at the Musée des Arts Through Feb. 9, 2014; museemaillol.com. Décoratifs presents jewelry by some 55 contemporary designers, but the objects on display, Raymond Depardon while wearable, aren’t mere adornments— Around the middle of the last decade, photo- they are also unique handmade pieces of journalist Raymond Depardon began experi- conceptual art. Three haute joaillerie houses— menting with color photography. Unbound by Boucheron, Hermès and Dior—are also professional constraints—his project was per- represented in the show as a result of their sonal and secret—he shot roads and cities, out- collaborations with such iconoclastic designdoor cafés and hotel rooms, places as close by as ers as Shaun Leane, Pierre Hardy and Victoire de Castellane. Photographs, ads, videos, film clips and fashion shows round out the exhibit. Through March 2, 2014; lesartsdecoratifs.fr.
Night owls can stroll about the French capital admiring works of art until the wee hours during NUIT BLANCHE PARIS, when up-and-coming artists fill the city’s squares, parks, gardens, libraries, universities and even hospitals with their creations. On view: everything from sitespecific sculptures to video installations. Many museums and art galleries stay open late and admit visitors for free during the event. Oct. 5; nuitblanche.paris.fr.
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Object Lessons Featuring 100 sculptures and 40 photographs, Le Surréalisme et l’objet at the Centre Pompidou highlights such themes as the relationship between society and individual consciousness and the rejection of Western ethnocentrism. The show includes all the big-name Surrealists, from Man Ray and Marcel Duchamp to Salvador Dalí and Max Ernst; contemporary works by artists such as Mona Hatoum, Ed Ruscha and Cindy Sherman demonstrate
Step Right Up The Centre National du Costume de Scène et de la Scénographie presents En Piste!, featuring a veritable parade of magnificent costumes from the world’s greatest circuses. Outfits, accessories, trunks, paintings, photographs and posters share space with videos and interviews that illuminate the magic and illusions of life under the Big Top. Through Jan. 5, 2014; cncs.fr. SÈVRES
Picasso and Ceramics Shortly after WWII, Picasso moved to the southern French town of Vallauris, where he met ceramic artists Suzanne and Georges Ramié. He began working with the couple, and over the next 25 years produced some 4,000 pieces. Picasso céramiste et la Méditerranée at Sèvres-Cité de la Céramique focuses on this lesser known aspect of the Spaniard’s œuvre; the 150 pieces in the show reflect the artist’s strong attraction to Mediterranean colors, shapes and mythological creatures. Nov. 20, 2013, through May 19, 2014; sevresciteceramique.fr. VERSAILLES
Le Nôtre at 400 The Château de Versailles wraps up its yearlong look at gardener extraordinaire André Le Nôtre with Le Nôtre en perspectives. 1613 – 2013. The exhibit offers a new and surprising image of the man, his art and his influence; a landscape designer, architect, hydraulic
© F O N D AT I O N H A H N L O S E R / J A E G G L I , W I N T E R T H O U R
on view at the Grand Palais. Nov. 14, 2013, through Feb. 10, 2014; grandpalais.fr.
engineer and city planner, this close friend of the Sun King comes across as surprisingly modern. Oct. 22, 2013, through Feb. 23, 2014; chateauversailles.fr.
© PA S C A L F R A N Ç O I S / C N C S ; C O U R T E S Y G A L E R I E Z L O T O W S K I , PA R I S / © J E A N - L O U I S L O S I / A D A G P, PA R I S 2 0 13 ; C O U R T E S Y G A L E R I E N ATA L I E S E R O U S S I , PA R I S / © A D A G P, PA R I S 2 0 13
Picasso, Léger, Masson LaM, the Lille metropolitan area’s modern and contemporary art museum, honors eminent gallery owner Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler, who championed many of the most notable Cubists in the years before WWI. After the war, he opened a second gallery run by Louise Leiris that showcased the new generation of Surrealists; she took over the business from Kahnweiler when he was forced to leave Paris during WWII. Picasso, Léger, Masson: DanielHenry Kahnweiler et ses peintres features masterpieces by the many artists whose careers were boosted by Kahnweiler and Leiris. Through Jan. 12, 2014; musee-lam.fr. NATIONWIDE
FRAC Show Thirty years ago, then-culture minister Jack Lang created a constellation of regional organizations known as Fonds Régionaux d’Art Contemporain (FRAC). (See story, page 22.) Their mission: to collect works by living artists and make major movements in contemporary art more accessible to those living far from major cities. Les Pléiades – 30 ans des FRAC fêtes this anniversary with a nationwide series of shows in which artists were given free rein to conceive of new ways to exhibit the works in each collection. A pendant show, Les Gares, Portes des Arts, brings art from various FRACs to some 30 train stations around France. Through Dec. 31; frac-platform.com.
ART FESTIVALS Salon de la Photo The five-day Salon de la Photo offers events, presentations, workshops and discussions devoted to photography and photographic techniques and products. A highlight of this year’s event is Raymond Cauchetier, an homage to the humanist photographer renowned both for his photographs of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia and for his work on various Nouvelle Vague film sets. Nov. 7 through 11; lesalondelaphoto.com. Paris Photo Twenty-four new galleries and 100 returning galleries will take part in this year’s edition of Paris Photo, the French capital’s premier photography fair, held under the glass dome of the Grand Palais. A must for photo buffs, the event includes three exhibitions—“Recent Acquisitions,” “Private Collection” and “Open Book”—showcasing historical and contemporary photography. Nov. 14 through 17; parisphoto.com. Photoquai The Musée du Quai Branly houses the fourth edition of its biennial Photoquai festival. Devoted to non-Western photography, this show on the banks of the Seine presents nearly 400 works by contemporary photographers hailing from 28 countries in Africa, Asia, Oceania, Latin America and the Caribbean. Through Nov. 19; photoquai.fr.
A trunk housing a Punch costume, part of an •exhibit in Moulins showcasing circus life.
Biennale de Lyon This year’s Biennale de Lyon, titled “EntreTemps… Brusquement, Et ensuite” and focusing on various forms of narrative technique, brings together more than 50 artists from around the world (guest curator Gunnar B. Kvaran hails from Iceland). On the sidelines of the festival, nearly 100 galleries, cultural institutions and art collectives are participating in Résonances, the traditional “off ” festival, which offers a wealth of events throughout Greater Lyon and the Rhône-Alpes region. Through Jan. 5, 2014; labiennaledelyon.com.
fair at 40 Paris’s prestigious International Contemporary Art Fair, or FIAC, marks its 40th anniversary this fall. The four-day event has gained a reputation over the years for cultivating a savvy balance between early-modern and contemporary work. This latest edition features some 3,110 artists from more than 180 of the world’s leading galleries, with European exhibitors enjoying pride of place. The site itself—a vast space under the glass dome of the Grand Palais—gives FIAC a distinctive appeal. As in other years, outdoor works will be presented throughout the city; the Tuileries and the Jardin des Plantes, in particular, will host sculptures, installations, performance pieces and sound works. Oct. 24 through 27; fiac.com. Sophie Taeuber-Arp’s “Construction dynamique” (1942) and Niki de Saint •Phalle’s “Nana” (1970), both on view at this year’s FIAC.
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Dubuffet inspects his “Practicables” in his sprawling Vincennes studio (1977). • Jean Inset: A dancer dons one of the elaborate costumes featured in “Coucou Bazar.”
Jean Dubuffet (1901-1985) was inextricably linked to Art brut—it was he, in fact, who coined the term—but his work defied categorization. And what better way for a genre-bending artist to shake things up than to make an animated painting? COUCOU BAZAR was just such a work. Drawn from his “L’Hourloupe” cycle of paintings, created over a period of a dozen years, “Coucou” was a canvas come to life in an hour-long musical performance. The stage was set with objects that Dubuffet called “Practicables”: enlarged drawings of characters, animals and decorative elements that were painted and sculpted onto foam board. The larger, heavier ones were mounted on wheels or operated by machine while lighter pieces were carried by stagehands. They were joined by costumed performers resembling Dubuffet’s paintings and sculptures; these characters slowly came to life on stage, making small gestures that gradually changed the composition of the scene. This extraordinary performance piece premiered at New York’s
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Guggenheim Museum in May 1973, alongside a retrospective of Dubuffet’s work. It was staged just twice more, in Paris (1973) and in Turin (1978). This fall, Paris’s Musée des Arts Décoratifs marks the 40th anniversary of the work with “Jean Dubuffet - Coucou Bazar.” For five weeks, Dubuffet’s “Practicables” are taking over the museum’s grand nave, accompanied by videos of the Guggenheim performance and a recorded sound track that gives visitors a sense of what it was like to experience the show’s début. In the surrounding rooms, letters, photographs, posters, preparatory drawings and films connected with the creation of the piece are displayed, together with musical recordings and the instruments Dubuffet used to produce unusual sounds. Then there’s the dressing room, which promises to be the biggest draw: Museum-goers will be able to watch as dancers periodically don the newly restored costumes and file into the nave, among the “Practicables.” It’s about as close as you’ll ever come to experiencing Dubuffet’s unique tableau vivant. Oct. 24 through Dec. 1; lesartsdecoratifs.fr.
© F O N D AT I O N D U B U F F E T, PA R I S / © K U R T W Y S S / © A D A G P, PA R I S
spotlight on... Coucou Bazar
Beaux Livres BRAVE GENIUS
by Sean B. Carroll
Subtitled “A scientist, a philosopher, and their daring adventures from the French Resistance to the Nobel Prize,” this new book tells the story of two brilliant men who shared a remarkable camaraderie: writer/philosopher Albert Camus and evolutionary biologist Jacques Monod. Deeply influenced by their wartime experiences, both continued, after Liberation, to pursue their commitment to freedom and justice, and to explore existential questions. Crown Publishers, $28.
FROM MARIE ANTOINETTE’S GARDEN An Eighteenth-Century Horticultural Album by Elisabeth de Feydeau
Louis XVI gave the Petit Trianon to Marie Antoinette in 1774 with the words: “To you who love flowers so, I present this bouquet.” The plant-loving queen soon began remodeling the grounds of the estate, preferring a “natural” look at odds with the formal gardens in the rest of the palace park. Full of historical and botanical information as well as entertaining anecdotes about the royal court, this lovely herbarium includes illustrations by renowned botanist Pierre Joseph Redouté. Flammarion, $49.95.
CLAUDE MONET’S GARDENS AT GIVERNY
photos by Jean-Pierre Gilson, text by Dominique Lobstein
Monet’s gardens at Giverny were a perennial source of inspiration and renewal for the artist, who portrayed their water lilies, ponds, flower beds and Japanese bridge countless times in his work. Author Lobstein, head of the library at the Musée d’Orsay, examines the key role this luxuriant setting played in the Impressionist master’s life and work, while acclaimed landscape photographer Gilson offers a lush visual tour of these unforgettable gardens through all four seasons. Abrams, $35.
ANDRÉ KERTÉSZ Paris, Autumn 1963 text by Matthieu Rivallin The Hungarian-born Kertész spent more than a decade in Paris before moving to New York during WWII. Some 30 years later, he returned to the French capital for two months and photographed every aspect of the city and its denizens. Those photos were edited into book form, but the work was set aside and rediscovered only recently. Now, 25 years after his death, they are reproduced here as Kertész had originally intended, accompanied by archival documents and a critical essay. Flammarion, $23.95.
BRASSAÏ Paris Nocturne by Sylvie Aubenas and Quentin Bajac
One of the first photographers to chronicle Paris after dark, Brassaï remains the most famous. This striking new collection brings together some of the Hungarian artist’s best-known images of Parisian nightlife along with previously unpublished shots and archival materials. The authors— curators at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France and MoMA, respectively—explore Brassaï’s links to other major artistic figures including Picasso and Henry Miller. Thames & Hudson, $85.
BACCARAT 1764 Two Hundred and Fifty Years
by Murray Moss and Laurence Benaïm
This sumptuous tome marks the 250th anniversary of one of the world’s most prestigious crystal manufacturers. Established in 1764 by decree of Louis XV, Baccarat has seduced Russian tsars, Indian maharajas and discerning consumers worldwide; its history is synonymous with superb craftsmanship and technological prowess. Illustrations showcase more than 300 exquisite pieces—iconic glassware, sumptuous chandeliers, sparkling jewelry—including works by modern designers. Rizzoli, $85.
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Notes for the savvy traveler design is a hallmark •ofDramatic Paris’s newest hotels. Shown here, Les Plumes’ Rimbaud room; below, a room at Hôtel R. Kipling.
The lovely garden of the Ecole du Breuil is now open to the public, offering visitors nearly 15 acres of green space— and plenty of other colors too. A laboratory for students of horticulture and landscape design,
four-star Les Plumes Hôtel Paris features 35 rooms and suites inspired by great 19th-century literary love affairs: Victor Hugo and Juliette Drouet, George Sand and Alfred de Musset, Paul Verlaine and Arthur Rimbaud…. Its refined décor is punctuated by witty design details. From E159; lesplumeshotel.com. • Montmartre’s Hôtel R. Kipling is a four-star boutique hotel whose 40 rooms are decorated in pastel hues. Rich patterns and exotic details reference the establishment’s famous namesake. From E101.25; kipling-hotel.com. • Just next door to the Kipling, the Hôtel Josephine is a 41-room concept hotel bursting with personality; its cheerful rooms offer a mash-up of Gay Paree cabaret style and vintage chic. From E84.24; hotel-josephine.com. • The Sofitel Paris Arc de Triomphe just reopened its doors after a yearlong renovation. Rooms feature luxurious fabrics and soothing blue tones, the restaurant serves up modern French cuisine and the bar is a study in casual elegance. From E264; sofitel.com.
this picturesque park features a variety of environments: an aquatic plant habitat, an English garden, a rose collection, a rockery…. And don’t miss the nearby arboretum. Route de La Ferme, Paris 12e ; ecoledubreuil.fr.
• World Film Locations Marseilles edited by Marcelline Block. When it comes to film locations, there’s so much more to France’s famous port city than The French Connection. Movie buffs can scout out the city’s many claims to cinematic fame with the help of this new book. Intellect, $18. • The Paris Gourmet by Trish Deseine. A Paris resident and award-winning food writer, Deseine shares her favorite bistros, patisseries and food shops as well as tableware and kitchen stores in this attractively designed and photographed new guide. Flammarion, $34.95. • Paris by Bike with Vélib’ by Juliette de Lavaur. Seven itineraries help cyclists discover the French capital using the city’s public bike rental system. This little volume includes maps, eating and shopping suggestions, sightseeing tips and an interactive guide using QR codes. Les Guides du Chêne, $19.95.
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Notes for the savvy traveler Ladurée’s chic •teahouse on the Champs-Elysées.
Paris pastry picks A successful blogger, pastry chef and author of The Sweet Life Paris, David Lebovitz has cataloged more than 350 sweet shops in his Paris Pastry Guide app. We asked him to choose six of his favorite French pastries and the best Parisian pâtisseries to taste them. • Mille-feuille at Jacques Genin
Although Monsieur Genin went on pastry hiatus in 2013 to concentrate on his chocolates and caramels, clients in his café-boutique can still enjoy this buttery puff pastry filled with vanilla-rich cream. 133 rue de Turenne, 3e; jacquesgenin.fr. It’s hard to find a well-made version of this classic Breton pastry in Paris. Layers of pastry caramelized in sugar—and plenty of butter—make this a special treat, which you can enjoy in the bucolic park just across the street. 7 rue Antoine Vollon (Square Trousseau), 12e; blesucre.fr. • Arabesque Macarons at Pierre Hermé
Although macarons are almost a dime a dozen in Paris (if not in price!), Pierre Hermé’s collection still commands respect. The best is the Arabesque, a pistachio-dusted shell filled with pistachio cream and a praline nugget. There are five locations in Paris. 72 rue Bonaparte, 6e; pierreherme.com. • Apple Tarte Tatin with Maple
Syrup at Des Gâteaux et du Pain If you thought it was impossible to improve upon the original Tarte Tatin, an upside-down caramelized apple tart, think again. Claire Damon infuses her version with maple syrup and a cluster of toasted pecans. 63 Boulevard Pasteur, 15e; desgateauxetdupain.com.
• Opéra at Dalloyau The original and still the best, this classic pastry with layers of chocolate, coffee butter cream and almond genoise was created in 1955 by the venerable Dalloyau, whose history goes back to the court of Versailles. There are four locations in Paris. 101 rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, 8e; dalloyau.fr.
• Bostock at Ladurée
Bostock was originally a way for bakers to use up leftover bread, but Ladurée’s version is the perfect example of why this viennoiserie needn’t be relegated to the breakfast pastry section. A layer of buttery, brioche-like cake with a swipe of almond paste that’s baked to perfection, it makes a perfect snack any time of day. There are five locations in Paris. 16 rue Royale, 8e; laduree.fr.
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The newly updated Paris Pastry Guide is available as an iPhone app, Kindle book and eBook; parispastry.com.
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• Kouign Amann at Blé Sucré
• Beautifully decorated by India Mahdavi, the Café Français is the latest venture by trendsetting restaurateurs Gilbert and Thierry Costes. The menu is a real crowd-pleaser, from the deviled eggs to the Paris-Brest pastry. About E40; 3 Place de la Bastille, 4e; Tel. 33/ 1-40-29-04-02; beaumarly.com. • An attractive new eatery with white walls, globe lights and a rustic wood bar, Le Cette playfully alludes to both its street number (sept) and the proprietor’s home town (Sète). Try the marinated herring and fingerling The Café Français, a newcomer to the Bastille neighborhood. potatoes garnished with tarragon, onions and crunchy carrots, followed by a comforting hachis parmentier—France’s version of shepherd’s pie. Wrap it up with a rhubarb blancmange; made with a hint of amaretto, it’s sweet yet tangy. Lunch menus at E17 and E20; dinner from E34 to E52; 7 rue Campagne Première, 14e; Tel. 33/1-43-21-05-47; lecette.fr. • Food critic and radio host Bruno Verjus recently opened his own restaurant, Table, to rave reviews. He serves the kind of food he likes to eat, made with fresh, unprocessed ingredients that are subtly seasoned to bring out their natural flavors. The delectable results include saltroasted guinea hen; slices of raw line-caught pollock, prepared with Le Cette chef citron and kumquats; and a pineapple that revolves slowly on a roasting Katsunori Nakanishi. spit. Dishes are accompanied by high-quality organic wines. E40 to E65; 3 rue de Prague, 12e; Tel. 33/1-43-43-12-26; tablerestaurant.fr.
• With la rentrée, the Bristol resumes its famous Samedis de la mode: Saturday afternoon teas where models strut their stuff while guests enjoy finger sandwiches, pastries, Champagne and, well, tea. Each gathering highlights an established or rising designer, with fall featuring collections from Salvatore Ferragamo, Priscille Canivet and the trio of Albert Oiknine, Fouzia Naciri and Said Belhadfa. The hotel’s chef pâtissier, A 2012 creation by •Fani Xenophontos at the Laurent Jeannin, creates a unique dessert for each occasion, inspired by the designers’ work. E70; lebristolparis.com. Bristol. • Atelier Anonyme offers bespoke couture in the intimacy of a private apartment located in Paris’s stylish 16th arrondissement. Its collections, presented twice yearly, can be tailored to suit the client’s taste; fabric, color and cut can all be altered. Each order requires three appointments, and all items are made on site. atelier-anonyme.fr
Heather Stimmler-Hall and Julia Sammut contributed to this section.
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ROADS LESS TAKEN
Interested in visiting such curiosities as the dolomitic rock formations of Nîmesle-Vieux, the dwarf beech trees of Verzy or the troglodytic dwellings of Trôo (below)? Or perhaps your tastes run toward candy-making workshops, hot-air balloon rides or yoga retreats. These and many other attractions and activities are listed on France-Voyage, an online travel resource that allows you to customize and book your own itinerary, no matter how offbeat. france-voyage.com
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Notes for the savvy traveler
What’s in store
CRYSTAL LANDSCAPES Lalique’s stunning new PAYSAGE D’HIVER collection was inspired by a turn-of the-century jewelry design by René Lalique. Frosted leaves and berries, carved in crystal, evoke a winter wonderland; rich red and amber hues add undeniable drama. Shown here: Tanega vase ($16,500) and Compiègne bowl ($1,850). lalique.com
DISHING IT OUT
ONLY CONNECT When Jarre Technologies—the company founded by the composer of “Oxygène”—releases new products, they’re the design equivalent of a breath of fresh air. Their latest is the AÉROBLUETOOTH WIRELESS RECEIVER—a sleek, chic way of making sure you’re always connected. It boasts a range of up to 30 yards and is aptX® -enabled, guaranteeing high-quality streaming. Available in chrome, black or white. $149; jarre.com.
STAR POWER The new CONSTELLATION NECKLACE by French jewelry designer Mariane Olry—the latest of her creations to be sold at the MoMA store— is sure to leave more than a few shoppers starry-eyed. Indeed, her opalescent polyester resin jewelry enjoys near-universal appeal. $225; momastore.org.
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To celebrate its 150th anniversary, Bernardaud looked to today’s art world, commissioning TABLEWARE from artists ranging from Sophie Calle to Jeff Koons and David Lynch. Standouts include Sarkis’s “Kintsugi” collection (top), which pays homage to the Japanese technique of highlighting repairs to ceramics with gold lacquer, and Jean-Michel Albérola’s “Détails” (center, bottom), drawn from murals he created for the Palais de Tokyo. bernardaud150.com
FAVORITE THINGS Baccarat’s Fall/Winter JEWELRY COLLECTIONS infuse classic designs with a modern sensibility. Its “B Lovely” line (above) transforms the company’s signature Harcourt glasses into wearable art, while its “Favorite” collection (left) references the jewels worn by the beguiling Madame de Pompadour. From $310; baccarat.com.
LEATHER FETISH Longchamp may be best known for their convenient nylon Le Pliage line, but their LEATHER BAGS also offer purse aficionados a lot to like. Highlights of their Fall/Winter collection include the 3D Tote (in seven colors; $795), featuring contrasting lining and leather reinforcements, and the Roseau Box (in four colors; $695), which boasts an eye-catching frosted finish. us.longchamp.com
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Jean-Marie Massaud’s SILVER TIME COLLECTION for Christofle lends punch to brunch. Nineteen handcrafted pieces—some combining silver with linen fiber or borosilicate glass—include a breadbasket, a filter teapot, a tureen, and stackable plates, bowls and trays. $80 to $2,950; christofle.com.
on the avenue GRACE NOTES
PAULE KA is about to become the
Renowned for their toe shoes and ballet flats, Repetto has just released their very first PERFUME. Not surprisingly, the grace and femininity of ballet dancers inspired this floral fragrance, which features a top note of pear with a hint of cherry blossom, a heart of musky powdered rose and orange blossom, and base notes of vanilla and amber. $39 to $79; repetto.com.
latest French brand to open a Madison Avenue outpost. Drawing inspiration from such ’50s and ’60s style icons as Audrey Hepburn, Jackie Kennedy and Grace Kelly, this fashion label is admired for its elegant, sophisticated, urban style. The inauguration of its U.S. flagship is slated for November. 723 Madison Avenue; pauleka.com.
à la carte
French food & drink in America
MIXING GILT AND GOOD TIMES AT PARIS'S LEGENDARY GEORGE V HOTEL to approach each guest simply and with humility. The main thing is to read their mood, get a feel for what they want that evening—and to respect their wishes. You make it sound easy. But you probably start
THE CONGENIAL RESTAURANT DIRECTOR and award-winning sommelier at Paris’s George V Hotel is decamping to Washington, DC—but only for a night: On November 13, he will re-create at the Four Seasons Hotel a bit of the magic that diners have come to expect in the gilded salons of Le Cinq. And it’s for a good cause: The gala dinner (cultural-icons.org) will benefit the FrenchAmerican Cultural Foundation, the nonprofit organization that supports cultural exchanges and publishes this magazine. In anticipation of his visit, we asked this consummate professional the secret to creating unforgettable experiences for diners. You are known for deftly mixing gilt and grandeur, great food and fine wines … and good times. What is the key to ensuring that guests enjoy themselves? I think it’s important
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before they even enter the dining room. That’s true. Every day, we look at the reservation list to see who is coming in. Some are repeats, some are Parisians, some are from other countries. Our goal is to customize each guest’s experience. We ask ourselves, why are they dining here today? Is this an anniversary dinner? A business lunch? It’s important to understand expectations and to be able to read people. If it’s a dinner for two, for example, we’ll look for signs that the couple wants a romantic evening, to focus only on one another. If that’s the case, we’ll be at the table at the right times but will never hover. In other cases, guests are more open to interacting with wait staff, they like to talk and joke. We can do that, too. We pride ourselves on delivering an amazing, flawless level of perfection, yet we are never stuffy.
here is sometimes a once-in-a-lifetime event for people who live far away or have saved a long time for a special occasion. So we ask ourselves, how do we make their meal not only a great culinary experience but a Parisian culinary experience? Can we do something other than what’s on the menu? What are some of the gestures that have particularly delighted guests? Many really enjoy the unexpected wine pairings that we can suggest. Sometimes, I will take guests who are very interested in wine for a tour of our cellar. And if they are at the hotel for a few days, I will even organize a trip with them to visit some of my favorite vineyards. But basically, we just want to make people happy in the few hours that they are with us. There is nothing worse than feeling that you are not important. Every guest is important to us; whoever you are, however much money you have to spend, we deliver the same level of service. You are also, of course, one of the world’s best sommeliers, having won many of the top competitions. Do most guests defer to your advice? Yes, about 95 percent. Probably because the wine list is very thick, like a telephone book! Indeed, the George V is known for its excellent cellar, which I understand you built.
How do you keep the experience fresh for repeat guests? We work very hard to make each experience unique. For example, we’ve had people come back who are still raving about a dish they had two years before. In those instances, rather than encourage them to order the same thing, we might ask the chef to cook a mini portion of that dish, just to please them. So the trick is to surprise and delight? Yes, and that is true for all our guests. Dining
• The George V cellar.
P H O T O C O U R T E S Y O F G E O R G E V H O T E L , PA R I S
By DOROTHY J. GAITER
When I started, we had 80 bottles; now we have 50,000, representing 2,760 different wines. About 75 percent are French, including a lot of Champagne, which is a very big business for the entire hotel. You spend a lot of time visiting vineyards, getting to know winemakers. Any new discoveries? It’s always exciting to meet emerging talents, but that is much less common in France than in Napa, where they spring up like mushrooms. A recent discovery is 20-yearold Maxime Cheurlin, in Vosne-Romanée. He inherited his grandmother’s vineyards, Domaine Georges Noëllat, and is making a lot of changes. I often give him and other young winemakers advice, something I enjoy very much. In the U.S., sommeliers have suddenly become rock stars. What do you think of this trend, and is the same thing occurring in France? It’s happening much less here, and most of the celebrity sommeliers are consultants, not working in restaurants. Personally, that is not a choice that I would make. I can’t imagine not having the contact with restaurant guests. Another trend here is to replace wait staff and sommeliers with tablets…. Definitely one of the worst ideas I have ever heard! In today’s highly competitive world, what gives you the edge is personalized service. The smart money is investing in human relations. Even if that tablet gives you a sommelier’s pairing recommendation along with the items on the menu, you’re still missing out on just about everything. There is never a single optimum pairing. What works on a particular evening depends on so many things—the guests’ mood, the occasion, the season, even the room temperature. And people are thrilled when I can share with them a wine I discovered the day before or suggest something to go with a special dish the chef has prepared that evening. Guests who love food and wine want to talk with someone who shares their passion; f that human exchange is what it’s all about.
mille feuilles • A Scent of Champagne: 8,000 Champagnes Tasted and Rated by Richard Juhlin. Since 1998, Swedish Champagne expert and French Legion of Honor recipient Juhlin has held the world record for most Champagnes tasted: now more than 8,500. His “supergift” is his ability to identify them in blind tastings. At a competition in Paris in 2003, he correctly identified 43 out of 50 while his nearest challenger recognized four. This book, his seventh, would slake any Champagne enthusiast’s thirst for knowledge about the world’s most wondrous bubbly. Skyhorse Publishing, November, $75. • Le Petit Paris: French Finger Food by Nathalie Benezet. Born into a French family of restaurateurs, Benezet started Le Petit Paris as a London pop-up selling bite-size bits of bliss. Divided into savory and sweet yummies, this book includes such recipes as mini Croque Monsieur, crustless quichettes, ice cream profiteroles, caramel rice pudding and her signature: melting chocolate cake. Tiny never seemed so tasty. Hardie Grant, $19.95. • Mastering the Art of French Eating: Lessons in Food and Love From a Year in Paris by Ann Mah. The wife of an American diplomat, Mah was excited about her husband’s new posting in Paris. But before they could settle in, he was reassigned to Baghdad and she couldn’t go with him. So this freelance food writer channeled another “trailing spouse” of an American diplomat, Julia Child, and found a path forward with food. Her story of 10 French regions and their classic dishes is the delightful result. Pamela Dorman Books/Viking, $25.95. • Daniel: My French Cuisine by Daniel Boulud & Sylvie Bigar, essays by Bill Buford. Internationally renowned chef Boulud scores a culinary coup with this tantalizing tome of amazing recipes, including several daunting versions of French classics. While most Chartreuse recipes, for example, call for one bird, he and Bill Buford, who also contributes serious cooking skills, used “a cacophonous flock.” This sumptuous book also contains recipes from Boulud’s restaurant Daniel as well as from his home kitchen. Grand Central Life & Style, $60. • Entertaining in Grand Style: Savoir Faire of a Parisian Chef by James Viaene with Nadège Forestier. As a teenager, chef Viaene began working in some of the most influential restaurants and homes in Paris, feeding local and international celebs such as Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. In 1970, he was hired as the chef at the British Embassy, from which he retired in 2012. This charming account of a life well lived includes two dozen original recipes. Flammarion, $65.
• After 30 years of nomadic existence, a number of FRACs are now
building permanent structures to house their headquarters and other activities. One is Marseille’s FRAC PACA; designed by architect Kengo Kuma, it also hosts temporary exhibits and serves as a resource center where people can find out about its programming throughout the region.
• Each year,
“Monumenta” brings a leading artist to Paris’s Grand Palais. Anish Kapoor was featured in 2011, with his enormous, sitespecific sculpture “Leviathan.”
• Django and Duke Ellington share the stage at New York’s Aquarium during their 1946 tour.
Nomads at Art
for three decades, france’s regional “museums without walls” have taken art to unlikely places.
by SARA ROMANO
© N I C O L A S W A LT E FA U G L E
The next time you’re in Marseille, make your way down boulevard de Dunkerque, where you can admire one of the city’s newest architectural gems: a stunning concrete building with a rippling outer shell composed of countless glass panels. The eye-catching structure—designed by architect Kengo Kuma and inaugurated last March by French Culture Minister Aurélie Filippetti—is the headquarters of the region’s contemporary art reserves: FRAC PACA, short for the Fonds Régional d’Art Contemporain for Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur. FRAC PACA is but one of the 23 regional stockpiles of contemporary art that have been quietly built up during the past three decades. Together they boast 26,000 works by 4,200 artists, constituting France’s third-largest publicly owned collection. Represented artists are both famous—Daniel Buren, Xavier Veilhan, Christian Boltanski, Jeff Koons, Jeff Wall—and obscure, with roughly half hailing from France. The FRACs were launched in 1982 to correct a very Gallic imbalance: the over-concentration of culture in Paris. From the time of his election in May 1981, French President François Mitterrand made decentralization a key policy priority. His culture minister, Jack Lang, followed suit: He gave each of France’s regions the right to collect, lend and show contemporary art—with zero oversight from Paris. These self-governing associations would be financed by national,
regional and local governments. Their mission: to buy works by living artists and to make these works accessible to all by staging events throughout the region—in cities and towns but also in small villages and even rural venues. The FRACs came not a moment too soon, says Alain Quemin, deputy director of the Institut d’Etudes Européennes in Paris, who specializes in cultural policy and is the author of Les Stars de l’Art Contemporain, (CNRS Editions, 2013). “When I was growing up in Lyon, the supply of culture was very, very limited,” he recalls. “Though I lived in France’s second-largest city and not in some backwater, there was absolutely nothing to see. You had to go to Paris if you really wanted to experience art and culture. Even major exhibitions rarely toured outside the capital.” As for contemporary art, it had virtually no presence beyond Paris—a situation that is only marginally better today, says
Quemin. Private galleries that show and sell works by living artists are still extremely rare, and there are fewer than 10 contemporary art museums; more often than not, a city’s main museum just turns one of its wings over to contemporary art. Given this context, says Quemin, the FRACs are a vital component of France’s artistic ecosystem, bringing contemporary works not only to traditional venues but F R A N C E • FA L L 2 013
As with any novel concept, the FRACs have their share of critics. Their fiercest opponent is the far-right National Front party, whose officials have consistently sought to slash FRAC funding. Their complaint: that the FRACs are a waste of taxpayers’ money, subsidizing a big pile of worthless art. And even supporters of contemporary art have objected to the fact that the price paid for each work is never disclosed. Unlike in other Western countries, where museums and publicly funded institutions are open about their acquisitions and what they cost, French institutions shy away from money talk. “The FRACs say they keep quiet because they get the works at a special discount and don’t want to bring down an artist’s market value,” says Quemin. “Yet they could also be overpaying for works, without the taxpayer having the right to know.” Researchers and academics have also criticized the quality of the acquisitions, which they say has at times been uneven. Because the FRACs were (and still are) answerable to local and regional authorities, politicians unschooled in the ways of contemporary art suddenly found themselves in charge of building up collections. In the early days, some became directly involved in purchasing decisions; only later did they see the wisdom in delegating to acquisition committees consisting of academics, curators and connoisseurs.
“On the whole, FRACs have demonstrated true prescience in recognizing emerging artists who show promise, be they French or foreign.” • For “Les Pléiades – 30 ans des FRAC,” artists
were given free rein to use regional collections to create their own installations. Top to bottom: Vincent Lamouroux’s “A.R.07” (2008) at the Institut d’Art Contemporain, Villeurbanne/Rhône Alpes; Eric Hattan’s “Vous êtes chez moi” (2005) at FRAC Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur; Monika Grzymala’s “The River” (2012) at FRAC Lorraine.
also to schools, universities—even prisons, hospitals, factories, fortresses and chapels. Naturally, the FRACs’ biggest beneficiaries—France’s contemporary artists— are avid supporters. Paris-based Bertrand Lamarche, whose art often incorporates architectural models, describes the FRACs 24
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Lamarche notes that several Berlin artists he knows say they wish that Germany had FRACs too. Yet according to Quemin, there is no known equivalent to the FRACs anywhere in the world. Germany’s Kunstvereine, created in the 19th century, were set up to put on shows inside the local Kunsthallen, or exhibition halls, which lacked collections of their own. That makes them the opposite of the FRACs, which were set up specifically to be grassroots contemporary art collections.
The result is that some FRACs have haphazard collections. Others, however, have developed specialties—drawing, photography, conceptual art—that are now nationally and even internationally renowned. FRAC Centre, for example, boasts one of the world’s foremost collections of experimental architecture and frequently lends its holdings to foreign museums. And FRAC Franche-Comté, which is headquartered in Besançon and
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as “an important launch pad.” He got his first career break in the mid-1990s when his work was shown at a publicly funded art center in the southern port city of Sète. Almost immediately afterward, pieces were acquired by Languedoc-Roussillon’s FRAC. Today, his work is in the collections of several FRACs as well as in Paris’s Pompidou Center, and he has signed on with the Jérôme Poggi Gallery in Paris. Nearly two decades after that first FRAC acquisition, Lamarche still feels a debt of gratitude. “They are a remarkable channel for people to enter the art world,” he insists. “I was able to meet important players, be invited to take part in exhibitions and present installations without going through the museums, where you had to be a lot more famous to show your work.” Today, he finds it enriching to have his work in both public and private collections. “They’re two completely different worlds; the interest they have in an object is not the same. A public collection tends to be broad-based and put together on behalf of a local community by a jury of academics, curators, etc. Private individuals tend to build their collections according to specific themes or orientations.” Also, says Lamarche, public collections have the space and the means to acquire large-scale works and installations that a private collector is less able to accommodate.
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owns works by Marina Abramovic and Christian Boltanski, has staged 13 exhibitions outside France since 1985. On the whole, says Quemin, FRACs have “demonstrated true prescience in recognizing emerging artists who show promise, be they French or foreign.” As the FRACs head into their fourth decade, many have grown and matured enough to require a home base designed specifically for their needs, one with space for storage, conservation, exhibitions and public outreach. And many regions are obliging: Six new FRAC headquarters— in Bordeaux, Rennes, Orléans, Besançon, Dunkerque and Marseille—have either opened since last year or are slated to open by 2017. All were the focus of an exhibition at the Pompidou Center late last year, complete with scale models, sketches, 3D images and exclusive interviews with their high-profile architects. It was a level of recognition and prestige that was unthinkable even a decade ago. When they were first created, the FRACs were based in ad-hoc locations with no exhibition facilities. “They worked out of warehouses or historic buildings that local authorities didn’t know what to do with,” recalls Quemin. “Politicians would say, ‘Voilà, this would make a good place for the FRAC,’ and that would be that.” In 2000 , FRAC Pays de la Loire became the first to get a purpose-built structure. Now, in addition to the projects showcased at the Pompidou Center, four other FRACs—in Burgundy, ChampagneArdenne, Corsica and Basse-Normandie— are getting major additions or renovations to their current locations.
• Above: Provence’s Abbaye de Silvacane is among the many unconventional venues that host FRAC
exhibits; here it displays Cildo Meireles’s “Marulho” (2002), a life-size jetty jutting out over a “sea” of ocean photos. Below: Several FRACs work frequently with foreign museums; the first U.S. show devoted to FRAC collections, “Spatial City: An Architecture of Idealism,” traveled to Chicago’s Hyde Park Art Center and Detroit’s MOCAD in 2010.
The splashy FRAC PACA in Marseille cost €21.5 million and to date is the only one located in a city center. According to director Pascal Neveux, it grew out of the need—in a vast region incorporating six départements—to create a space to connect with its far-flung audiences. With 62,000 square feet—five-and-a-half times the size of its previous location—it is at once a venue for temporary exhibitions and a walk-in center where people can find out what the FRAC is up to throughout the region. “This is going to be our base camp,” says Neveux, “a platform that allows us to communicate about what we’ve been doing for the past 30
years. Many people are still unaware of the collection or know little about it, because so many of our events are staged in villages or rural or mountainous areas.” The building owes its dramatic design to Kengo Kuma, architect of the LVMH headquarters in Osaka and of the Victoria & Albert Museum branch in Dundee, Scotland. “It puts us on a completely different level in terms of visibility,” says Neveux. The shimmering façade is definitely a showstopper, composed of a lattice of 1,700 glass panels upon which 4 million drops of enamel have been applied by hand. The panels reflect sunlight, mirroring the infinite range
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art in the same way. The nomadic nature of our collections is very important.”
• In keeping with their mission to promote contemporary art,
FRACs typically opt for edgy architecture. Top to bottom: The new FRAC Centre in Orléans, designed by Jacob+MacFarlane; FRAC Aquitaine in Bordeaux, slated to open in 2017; FRAC Bretagne in Rennes by Odile Decq and Benoît Cornette, inaugurated last year.
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of Mediterranean colors. So far, FRAC PACA has attracted far more visitors than expected, with 2,000 filing through on opening day alone. Its collection is broad in scope, with 980 works by nearly 500 artists—Pierre Soulages, Joan Mitchell, Ugo Rondinone, Thomas Hirschhorn—in media ranging from painting to photography and video. Of a total annual budget of €3 million, only €180,000 to €220,000 is earmarked for acquisitions. So works acquired tend to be bought “at very, very low prices,” explains Neveux. “In most cases, we’re dealing with emerging, relatively unknown artists who are still making the work when we buy it. That way, we can acquire it at a much lower cost than if it were finished and already on the art market.” Some observers express concern that this and the other new high-profile buildings will lead the FRACs to become entrenched and bureaucratic, eventually losing their independence and flexibility. Artist Lamarche, who exhibited in FRAC PAC A’s o p e n i n g s h ow, describes the institution as “a big machine,” warning that it could now be turning into a “mini-museum.” Others voice similar worries, stressing that the FRACs mustn’t lose sight of their original vocation as “laboratories” for the public support of artistic creation.
As part of the FRACs’ 30th birthday celebrations, each has given carte blanche to one or more artists to use its collection to create their own exhibition or installation. FRAC PACA, for example, chose Eric Hattan, a Swiss sculptor, installation and conceptual artist. His project involves making impromptu one-hour videos of the storage spaces of all 23 FRACS, then projecting that footage amid “towers” and “grottoes” composed of the wooden crates the FRACs use to store their works of art. This fall, all of these projects will be displayed under a single roof in an “exhibition-of-exhibitions” at the Abattoirs in Toulouse (under the auspices of FRAC Midi-Pyrénées). Later, the show will travel to Holland and Singapore. In a final sidebar event planned for this anniversary year, 30 train stations throughout France are showing artworks acquired by the FRACs over the past decade or produced expressly for the site. Through December, “Les Gares, Portes des Arts” will treat rail passengers to outdoor sculptures, graffiti art, paintings, sculptures and video projections. It’s just one more way for the FRACs to fulfill their mission of knocking art off its Paris pedestal and making it available to your average Jean and Jeannette.
© G R A M A Z I O & K O H L E R E T R A F FA E L L O D ’A N D R E A / C O U R T E S Y F R A C C E N T R E ; © B I G - B J A R K E I N G E L S G R O U P ; © O D I L E D E C Q / L A B T O P
“We don’t have the same mission as museums, we don’t approach
Neveux waves away these fears, swearing that the last thing he wants is for FRAC PACA to become a museum. “We don’t have the same mission as museums, we don’t approach contemporary art in the same way,” he says. “The nomadic nature of our collections is very important; we’re not at all sedentary, au contraire.” FRAC PACA certainly programs many more events outside its walls than within them. This year, artist Françoise Petrovich is screening her animated movie inside Lambesc’s Lavoir Municipal (the former city wash-house); Marie Thebault is turning the wine cellars of Château Cavalon de Lambesc into an installation space full of half-human, half-plant creations; and Cildo Meireles is installing his “Marulho”—a life-size jetty jutting out over a “sea” composed of photos of the ocean—in the refectory of the Abbaye de Silvacane. That kind of outreach simply is not part of the brief of traditional museums.
France Magazine and the French-American Cultural Foundation are honored to receive the support of these distinguished foundations.
For more than 35 years, the Florence Gould Foundation has been actively involved in a variety of projects that further Mrs. Gould’s desire to promote FrenchAmerican amity. Recent efforts include a grant to World Monuments Fund for the planning and documentation of the cloister restoration at the Church of St Trophime in Arles; a grant to The Frick Collection in New York for “Renoir, Impressionism, and Full-Length Painting”; funding for several American Postdoctoral Fellows to study and work at Paris’s Institut Pasteur;
The Annenberg Foundation is a longtime supporter of L’Académie Américaine de Danse de Paris, which trains students from around the world.
and a partnership with the French Heritage Society to aid in repairing the Monumental Staircase of Auch, in Gascony. On a smaller scale, a gift was made to Boston’s Franklin Park Zoo for the acquisition of two Baudets de Poitou, an endangered variety of French donkey. At last report, Samuel and Balthazar had completely settled in and were enjoying their new surroundings as they help educate the public about rare breeds of farm animals.
The Annenberg Foundation is a family foundation that supports nonprofit organizations in the United States and globally. Its mission is to advance the public well-being through improved communication; as the principle means of achieving this goal, it encourages the development of more effective ways to share ideas and knowledge. Since 1989, it has generously funded programs in education and youth development; arts, culture and humanities; civic and community life; health and human services; animal services and the environment. The Foundation contributes to numerous programs that foster cultural exchange between the U.S. and France through its Paris-based initiative GRoW Annenberg. GRoW supports innovative projects in the arts, education and humanitarian efforts.
Samuel and Balthazar, two rare Baudet de Poitou donkeys donated to Boston’s Franklin Park Zoo by The Florence Gould Foundation.
The Foundation’s French grantees include the Institut Curie, which has created a research lab to further the understanding of the origin of neuroblastoma, one of the most common forms of childhood cancer. It is also supporting the development of educational tools at the Louvre and the operations of L’Académie Américaine de Danse de Paris, which offers American-style dance instruction to students from around the world. In the humanitarian sector, GRoW funds a wide range of programs by CARE France and Médecins du Monde, which work to improve the health and well-being of individuals worldwide. The Foundation continues to be a vital presence abroad and remains among the most generous American contributors to France. annenbergfoundation.org
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owes its original emblem to French aviator Maurice Noguès, who was once forced to ditch his plane in the Bay of Naples. Legend has it that while in the drink, he observed seahorses cavorting about. Then director of Air Orient airline, Noguès decided to commemorate his brush with the Mediterranean by having a winged seahorse with a curled tail painted on the company’s aircraft. A few years later, in 1933, Air France was formed by merging five airlines, one of which was Air Orient. Noguès became its first codirector, and the seahorse logo was adopted by the new company. The crevette, as it affectionately became known, would symbolize Air France the world over for the next 43 years. That historic marriage of convenience established a pattern of growth and market consolidation based on mergers and acquisitions that has spanned Air France’s 80-year existence. In 1993, for example, Air France gobbled up its long-haul competitor Union des Transports Aériens (UTA) and merged with domestic carrier Air Inter. A decade later, in the mother of all airline mergers, Air France joined forces with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines to form the leading European airline and the third-largest international carrier. Today, Air France-KLM has annual revenues of E25.6 billion and a fleet of 593 aircraft serving more than 250 destinations in 103 countries. Additional synergies are derived from their membership in the SkyTeam alliance, whose 19 members also include Alitalia, Delta Air Lines, China Airlines, Aerolineas Argentinas and Korean Air Lines. While its broad international reach is cause for celebration on this 80th anniversary, so are the latest financial reports: For the first time since 2010, Air France-KLM expects to show an operating profit. Asked by an aviation blog about the company’s future, Alexandre de Juniac, who took over as chairman and chief executive in July, said that while remaining “realistic,” his objective is not only to return to profitability but to make Air France-KLM “the airline on which it is impossible not to travel.” The narrative of commercial flight starts as the adventurous, exclusive
pleasure of a few romantic figures such as Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, who flew mail through swirling Sahara sandstorms by day and rhapsodized about it in poetry by night, and Adrienne Bolland, who crossed the Andes from Argentina to Chile in 1921 in a flimsy, preWorld War I Caudron observation plane with a shattered windshield. But those heady days of dramatic solo exploits were short-lived. By the time Air France debuted in 1933, it already boasted 259 aircraft that served Europe, the Mediterranean and French Indochina and provided mail deliveries to South America. The 6,000-mile voyage to Saigon was epic, departing Paris on Thursdays and arriving eight days later, with 16 stopovers en route. The plane flew over 30
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TOP, ABOVE Assisted by the flight’s barman, passengers
disembark at Le Bourget airport (1935); the departure terminal at Orly (1947). OPPOSITE In 1946, Air France became the first foreign
carrier to offer weekly service to New York. Top row: A young passenger enjoys a bedtime story aboard the Super Constellation, whose weekly “Golden Parisian” service between Paris and New York also featured lavish in-flight gourmet food service. Bottom row: Vincent Guerra’s classic Paris-New York travel poster (1951); the Super Constellation in flight.
eight major rivers, 11 seas, 13 mountain ranges and three deserts. Forced to suspend operations during World War II, Air France was nationalized after the conflict ended and immediately set about making up for lost time, quickly moving into new international markets. Hundreds of posters by the leading graphic artists of the day— Savignac, Mathieu Georges, Raymond Pagès—chronicle that expansion, beckoning travelers to discover far-flung destinations around the globe. Many celebrate U.S. attractions, from Mississippi steamboats and Indian reservations to Los Angeles highways. “The United States has always been and remains our biggest international market, accounting for about 23 percent of our longhaul passenger traffic,” says Patrick Roux, Air France senior vice president for the Americas. “It’s a focus market and is very dynamic.” Air France’s American adventure began in 1946, when it became the first foreign carrier to launch weekly service to New York. The July 1 inaugural flight from Paris Orly to New York’s LaGuardia Airport in the Douglas DC4 “Ciel Ile de France” took nearly 21 hours and 30 minutes, with refueling stops at Shannon, Ireland, and Gander, Newfoundland. Two days later, Flight Captain Robert Bonnet made the return flight in a record 15 hours and 44 minutes, thanks to good tail winds and to bypassing Shannon. Air France opened its New York office that same year. It was a
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THIS PAGE In the 1960s, Air
France’s image was bolstered by celebrity passengers such as Catherine Deneuve, Cary Grant, Elizabeth Taylor and Brigitte Bardot (far left). One of the many versions of the airline’s original seahorse logo (left). The state-ofthe-art Terminal 1 at the brand new Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport became Air France’s new home in 1974 (above). OPPOSITE The Boeing 707 took over the Paris-
New York run in 1960, cutting flight time by nearly half; the travel experience was further revolutionized by the advent of in–flight movies.
cramped space loaned, ironically enough, by Compagnie Générale Transatlantique, owner of the Normandie ocean liner. Within a year, the airline had moved into a street-level reservations office and departure station at 610 Fifth Avenue. Dorothy Hogan, one of the original New York Air France staffers, remembered that during those early days, “most people thought we were an air-conditioning company— also a new thing in 1946.” Marius Tremblay, Air France’s maintenance service manager in New York in the 1940s, once observed that initially, “each departure and arrival (to or from Paris) looked like a presidential flight, with all the executives from New York headquarters showing up at the airport.” The 1950s are sometimes called “the Golden Age of Flying,” with airlines lavishing luxury and comfort on wealthy passengers. Annik Klein, an Air France employee in New York for 22 years, recalls that “flying was still very exclusive then; you dressed up to travel—no jeans and T-shirts.” Klein started her Air France career in customer service at Idlewild (now JFK) Airport and rose through the ranks to become the first female manager of the Air France ticket office in Manhattan. “Friends and family could go out to the plane to say goodbye to departing passengers,” she says. “And the food on Air France! And the tableware! In first class, you were asked how well you wanted your lamb chops cooked, and they were cut in front of you and served on china plates. The food was also good in economy. Even back then, there was a luggage limit, but we often overlooked it.” Klein remembers being docked two days’ pay for doing just that 32
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once too often. But no one questioned the legendary Maurice Chevalier when he checked in for a Super Constellation flight to Paris with 335 pounds of baggage. Stars did have their privileges, but they could also cause problems, as when Greta Garbo arrived in the Air France VIP lounge with her lover—and his wife checked in for a different flight. To avoid a possible collision, the lounge staff diverted the wife to another room. The “Connie,” as the Lockheed Super Constellation was known, operated the weekly “Golden Parisian” service between New York and Paris. With its distinctive triple-tail design and sleek dolphin-shaped fuselage, it was the most sophisticated and elegant turboprop ever built. The first long-haul aircraft that could cross the Atlantic nonstop, it boasted a pressurization system that allowed it to fly at high altitudes to avoid bad weather. It also offered the utmost in luxury travel. “The plane’s capacity was 56 passengers, but for this service, it carried only 32,” explains Serge Loutchaninoff, also a retired Air France staffer. “They paid firstclass fare plus a premium.” Passengers were treated to free American cigarettes and Champagne, and menus featured gourmet fare such as lobster medallions, duckling à l’orange, foie gras with truffles in flaky pastry, fine wines and liqueurs. “There were 16 fully reclinable luxury seats, and eight private cabins with double seating convertible into double beds, about the size of a California king,” says Loutchaninoff. When Charles de Gaulle flew to Canada in a “Connie” in 1960, a larger bed was installed to accommodate his tall frame.
From DC4s to A380s // Shrinking the Atlantic one aircraft at a time 1946
June 24: Air France inaugurates the Paris Orly-New York LaGuardia route. The return flight is delayed because the DC4 Skymaster had a flat tire and a spare had to be borrowed from American Airlines. Another hold up: Passenger Clementine Puddleford, the New York Herald Tribune food writer, couldn’t be found. She had fallen asleep under a tree.
Ginger Rogers and Jacques Bergerac inaugurate Air France’s “Golden Comet” luxury service aboard Lockheed Constellations, with passengers sleeping on real beds after enjoying complimentary Champagne and haute cuisine dinners.
1948 hroughout its history, Air France has
maintained its competitive edge by being among the first to acquire every new type of aircraft. In the late ’50s, the airline became one of the first outside the U.S. to enter the jet age; in 1959-60, its fleet included 10 Boeing 707s and 12 Caravelles, the first French-made, short/ medium-range jet airliner from Sud Aviation. With its aft-mounted engine, the Caravelle was one of the most successful European first-generation jetliners. The B707 christened “Château de Versailles” took over the ParisNew York run in February 1960. It was larger, faster and smoother than the propeller airplanes it was replacing, and in one stroke cut the Paris-New York flight from about 14 hours to eight, quickly changing the face of long-distance air travel. Air France enlisted top Hollywood stars to advertise these new, faster flights in U.S. magazines. In one ad, a smiling John Wayne, looking a bit odd in a blue suit and raincoat but waving his trademark white cowboy hat, steps off a plane carrying an Air France bag. “The
Air France becomes the first international airline to fly into Idlewild Airport (now JFK); Hedy Lamarr is the first passenger to disembark. Regular Paris-Boston flights are launched.
Air France introduces Economy Class (then called Tourist).
Olivia Gone With the Wind de Havilland christens the new Paris Orly-Chicago Midway route, with a stopover in Montreal; Air France is the first European carrier to link these cities.
Air France operates the first international commercial flight out of Chicago’s O’Hare Airport.
Air France launches Boeing 707 nonstop New York-Paris service; flight time is nearly halved, to around eight hours. The luxury flight concept is maintained in the jet age by the introduction of “Epicurean of the Atlantic” service.
Air France introduces the world’s longest commercial flight: nonstop, turbofan jet service between Los Angeles and Paris. Too many stars onboard to count—Jane Fonda, Elizabeth Taylor, Kirk Douglas….
Boeing’s 387-passenger 747 jumbo jet is launched on the Paris-New York run, followed by service to Chicago, Montreal and, two years later, Anchorage and Los Angeles.
Air France introduces Business Class on flights to and from the U.S.
The Concorde whisks passengers between Paris and New York in three hours.
Air France launches its first non-smoking flight between Paris and JFK.
Concorde service ends when Air France retires the supersonic plane.
Air France’s new Airbus 380 becomes the first superjumbo jet to fly between Paris’s Charles de Gaulle and New York’s JFK.
2013 Air France unveils
Minneapolis as its 11th U.S. gateway city, raising its direct weekly flights between France and the U.S. to 143. FRAN C E • FALL 2 0 1 3
The Catwalk in the Sky // Eight decades of Air France uniforms 1963 Christian Dior
1951 Georgette de Trèze
In 1946, Air France advertised for its first hôtesses de l’air, or female flight attendants. Before then, only males had the job, serving hot drinks from Thermoses and, later, Champagne. About 600 women answered that first call— “primarily young girls from respectable families and former members of the [French] Resistance,” according to one account in an issue of Air France Magazine. Forty-four were chosen, and what to wear was the first problem. But not for long. These new ambassadors of French chic soon sported uniforms designed by the fashion house of Georgette Rénal. With Europe emerging from World War II, it’s not surprising that they had a military flavor, complete with berets. From then on, the cabin aisle became, as one writer put it, “a fashion catwalk in the sky.” A dozen great names in Paris haute couture successively created
uniforms that contributed to the fantasy of the flight attendant— the glamour, the excitement of travel, the prospect of romance…. Of course, high-flying fashion has its limits. “Fashion is fleeting, while uniforms are designed to last over time,” says Florence Müller, a professor at the Institut Français de la Mode in Paris and French fashion historian. “It isn’t feasible to constantly reinvent a new look.” So the emphasis has tended to be on functional elegance, hallmark French sophistication and looks that enhance the airline’s brand value. “Classicism is part of the Air France identity,” she adds. In 1951, Georgette de Trèze, inspired by Christian Dior’s New Look, created a very shapely silhouette, with cinched waistlines and skirts well below the knee— feminine but somewhat impractical for serving meals in confined areas. Next, the airline turned to Dior himself, and in 1962 his
DECADES OF DESIGNERS 1946: Georgette Rénal > 1951: Georgette de Trèze > 1963: Christian Dior by Marc Bohan > 1969: Cristóbal Balenciaga > 1976: Jean Patou for Air France’s Concorde > 1976: Rodier > 1978: Carven, Nina Ricci and Grès > 1986: Nina Ricci for Air France’s Concorde >1987: Georges Rech > 1987: Nina Ricci, Carven and Louis Féraud > 2005: Christian Lacroix 34
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designer, Marc Bohan, created a stylish yet functional new line. The waist-length box jacket and shorter straight skirt in navy blue—by now established as the Air France uniform color—defined the national carrier’s hôtesse look for years. Dior also introduced the familiar petit chapeau-tambourin, or pillbox hat, which replaced the beret. Seven years later, Cristóbal Balenciaga produced what many still consider Air France’s most iconic uniform. The winter version retained the short jacket, worn with a white shirt with a pointed collar. Knee-high leather boots were added to the ensemble. The lightweight, warm-weather
version was in pink or sky blue, and the pillbox acquired a short brim, like a kepi. Air France stewardess dolls outfitted in Balenciaga, once sold in tabacs, are now coveted by collectors. In 1976, the airline celebrated the introduction of Concorde service by commissioning Jean Patou and later Nina Ricci to design lightweight, flowing dresses for hostesses who crewed the supersonic jet. The Concorde fashions introduced greater variety, offering the flight attendants more options and a mixed palette of colors. In 1978, Carven took its turn dressing stewardesses, joined in 1986 by Nina Ricci and Louis Féraud. All three proposed
R H C
an entire wardrobe with pieces that female employees could mix and match. Then in 2005, Christian Lacroix took the Air France uniform to a whole new level. Declaring that he wanted “to invent a new universe, a cross between two worlds that are strongly associated with dreams, the world of flight and the world of fashion,” he launched a line of more than 100 items for the airline’s 36,000 staff members— including 25,000 women who by then included cockpit crew as well
as flight attendants and ground personnel. Lacroix’s variety of options in dresses, coats, slacks and accessories allows staffers to create a personal look—even if it stays within the familiar navy blue and light gray tones. His collection also offers Air France’s 11,000 male employees a few variations on the traditional double-breasted uniforms they have worn for years. It was the first time in the airline’s history that uniforms for both sexes were designed at the same time. So what happens to these chic wardrobes when Air France personnel retire? For security reasons, they are turned in and destroyed. –RF FRAN C E • FALL 2 0 1 3
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THIS PAGE The Concorde years were perhaps the most glamorous in Air France’s history. Clockwise from above: The plane’s instantly
recognizable silhouette; a gauge showing the plane reaching Mach 2; a flight attendant wearing the flowing dresses designed by Nina Ricci; Captain Henri-Gilles Fournier, who piloted the SST’s last flight in 2003. OPPOSITE The airline’s advertising posters, such as this Hidalgo photo-
graph of the Empire State Building (c. 1987), build on a long French graphic arts tradition encompassing both design and printing.
most exhilarating, most relaxing, most enjoyable way to fly anywhere in the world,” says the ad copy. In another, Leslie Caron, well known to U.S. moviegoers for her roles in An American in Paris (1952) and Gigi (1958), is shown on a Paris boulevard. “Au revoir New York – Bonjour Paris!” reads the headline. Other ads featured Gene Kelly, Gregory Peck and James Stewart. Then in 1966, movie stars took on a new role at Air France, appearing on screen with the advent of inflight movies. The first film shown was Viva Maria!, starring Brigitte Bardot and Jeanne Moreau. The 1960s also witnessed the beginning of a long association between Air France and the U.S. aircraft maker Boeing. The many Boeing airplanes operated by Air France include the B727, B737 and, as of 1970, the B747 wide-bodied jumbo jets with a capacity of 400 passengers. In 2010, Boeing delivered its 200th aircraft to Air France, a B777-300ER. In the 1970s, the European aviation industry began wooing Air France with its Airbus models, and in 1974, the French airline was the launch customer for its wide-bodied medium-haul aircraft. Its most recent acquisition was the Airbus 380, the world’s largest commercial plane with a capacity of up to 853 passengers. This year, it put in orders for 25 of Airbus’s new A350 XWB (extra-wide body), designed for medium/long-haul service. Of course for pure sex appeal, nothing has ever matched the supersonic Concorde. The plane was a joint venture by Sud Aviation
(later known as Aérospatiale), manufacturer of the Caravelle, and the British Aircraft Corporation. The former made the airframe, and the British company constructed the Rolls-Royce Olympus jet engine. In 1976, Air France and British Airways jointly inaugurated Concorde service to destinations around the globe. Flying at Mach 2, or 1,450 miles per hour, the Concorde made the Paris-New York run in just over three hours. The plane was without question a stunning technological achievement. To its developers, it seemed like the logical next step in commercial flight. And commercial was the operative word. The Concorde was ideal for people for whom time was money. Flying on the Concorde significantly reduced travel time—and hotel costs and days away from the office—making it possible, for example, to fly to New York for an important business lunch and be back in Paris by bedtime. But high operating costs (attributed in part to very high fuel burn), a disappointing lack of foreign buyers and a tragic crash in 2000 (it was not the Concorde’s fault but temporarily grounded the plane pending an investigation) all contributed to its retirement. On April 31, 2003, 79 passengers and one dog arrived in Paris on the last Air France Concorde commercial flight from New York. For Joëlle Cornet-Templet, the chief stewardess of the fleet, it was “the end of a dream. It’s a magical aircraft. The pleasure of flying in it is almost a carnal one.” FRAN C E • FALL 2 0 1 3
Air France prides itself on serving firstclass passengers meals that reflect the country’s culinary heritage. ABOVE Braised asparagus and fresh caviar from Aquitaine. FROM LEFT Joël Robuchon, a celebrity chef affiliated with the airline; Olivier Poussier, Air France’s wine steward; a grand cru Bordeaux from the airline’s wine cellar.
(Very) Haute Cuisine // Food and wine service at 35,000 feet If you fly Air France first class this fall, your in-flight meal will have been created by famed chef Michel Roth, who has long presided over the Michelin two-star L’Espadon at Paris’s legendary Ritz hotel. Menu choices include his veal simmered with verbena sauce and vegetable fricassee as well as his glazed duckling with rare peppercorns and citrus honey, caramelized mango and pineapple, and vegetable bâtonnets. All complemented with fine wines, boxes of Michel Cluizel’s artisanal chocolates and tea from Fauchon. With chefs now enjoying rock38
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star status, Roth is one of several celebrity toques tapped by Air France to dream up meals worthy of France’s culinary reputation. Each chef is featured for eight months; among the big names are Joël Robuchon, who has earned a total of 27 stars and is the owner of Atelier Robuchon restaurants worldwide, and Guy Martin of Le Grand Véfour, one of Paris’s great historical restaurants. “Air France embodies the image that people have of France, and I was proud to be asked to participate,” said Michel Roth in February, as he launched his own haute
cuisine menu, squeezed into the galley area on a flight from Paris to Montreal. His preparations, he said, were designed to add “a contemporary touch” to traditional French dishes. Since its earliest days, Air France has sought to reflect France’s towering reputation in the culinary arts. But before the advent of microwaves suitable for use in flight, sous-vide cooking and other technologies, airline meals consisted of cold dishes (pâtés, terrines, salads) generously supplemented with wines and Champagne. In those early
days, all airlines served hot meals to long-haul passengers on the ground at transit stops. That changed in the 1940s, and in the late ’50s, fold-down tray tables were introduced. Before that, passengers had to balance food trays on their laps. An ongoing challenge is pleasing taste buds dulled by cabin pressurization at 35,000 feet and a diminished sense of smell. In the 1970s, UTA, which merged with Air France in 1999, employed chef Raymond Olivier, then owner of Le Grand Véfour, to devise a basic in-flight menu. His three proposals became instant classics throughout the airline industry: coq au vin, veal in cream sauce and beef bourguignon. Thanks to their sauces, all retained their flavor at high altitudes. “There were many difficulties we didn’t anticipate,” says Robuchon, discussing his work devising onboard menus for business class (his offerings included crayfish pasta with Nantua sauce and chicken thigh fricassee with sherry sauce, semolina and vegetables). “For example, all the seasonings needed to be adapted to the effects of altitude and pressure.” And the old issue of how well a wine travels acquires new meaning when served in an aircraft cabin. Old vintages that require decanting “are not compatible with the conditions of air travel,” Air France explains on one of its Web sites. So the wines chosen are “young yet full-bodied, best suited for the dry air and pressurized cabin environment.” Selecting the in-flight wines is the job of Olivier Poussier, Air France’s wine steward, and flight attendants are given basic sommelier training so that they can discuss variations in taste with passengers. Recently, the airline launched its own cellar, selling the wines it serves on board. But these days, Air France’s attention to culinary excellence is more than a matter of prestige and national pride. In the highly competitive international airline market, first- and business-class passengers account for a third of the total number of flyers— and bring in more than half the revenues. —RF
2013 ABOVE Ever concerned with aesthetics, Air France commissioned
Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance to design its new business class lounge at Charles de Gaulle’s Terminal 2. The award-winning space soothes travelers with organic shapes and colors.
he Concorde may have set new standards for
elegance in the sky, but Air France has always considered itself an ambassador of France’s cultural heritage and world-renowned art de vivre. From the earliest days, the airline’s carefully cultivated design aesthetic has been evident in everything from cabin interiors, flight attendants’ uniforms, posters and advertisements to on-board plates and cutlery. In the early ’60s, for example, Air France added to the excitement of the new B707s by installing tapestries designed by leading artists (Vasarely, Alechinsky, Hartung, Soulages) and produced by the country’s most prestigious weavers. They were so appealing that three were actually stolen right out of the aircraft. Even the menus have long been coveted collectors’ items, with their charming illustrations of French cities and châteaux, flora and fauna, historical scenes and other themes. Perhaps the most memorable were Christian Lacroix’s Concorde menus, with whimsical women representing the five continents served by Air France. Upholding France’s legendary culinary reputation has also been a priority, with the airline paying great attention to food and wine service. For an over-the-top airline experience, it was hard to beat first-class meals on the Boeing 707s, which were named after various French châteaux: Menus were painstakingly designed to integrate
dishes and wines that hailed from each château’s surrounding region. That tradition of luxury dining continues today, with firstclass and business travelers enjoying haute cuisine menus created by leading French chefs. And in a nod to contemporary lifestyles, first-class passengers now also enjoy the flexibility of ordering à la carte and dining whenever they like. In economy class, meanwhile, the airline has maintained its longstanding tradition of offering passengers complimentary Champagne, even in these difficult economic times. To kick off its ninth decade, Air France has announced that it will invest €550 million to upgrade all its B777s, the core of its longrange fleet. Slated to begin next year, the major overhaul will extend even to such details as better business-class blankets and bigger video screens in economy. Most ambitious are CEO Alexandre de Juniac’s plans to totally redefine first class. His inspiration, he says, is more Asian airlines than Constellation. “Service is the heart of our product,” he told the business daily Les Echos. “In first class, our staff must provide the kind of service à la française that, when done well, is unrivaled in terms of chic, refinement and elegance. My ambition is to infuse La Première with an haute couture spirit that will be felt in other cabins as well.” Such words are surely music to the ears of Annik Klein and others for whom the Golden Age of Flying is now a dim but dearly f cherished memory. FRAN C E • FALL 2 0 1 3
BACK in FASHION By Amy Serafin
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After four years of primping behind closed doors, the MusĂŠe Galliera stepped out again this fall, reclaiming its place as Parisâ€™s fashion epicenter. Meet the Duchess, the Designer and the Director behind the museum and its big reveal.
THE DUCHESS Maria Brignole-Sale
hen the City of Paris proudly inaugurated its fashion
museum in 1977, few guests were aware that it was a century and a half in the making. And when this distinctly French institution reopened after renovations this past September, fewer still would have guessed its distinctly Italian lineage. The Galliera saga in fact dates back to 1828, the year Maria Brignole-Sale, daughter of one of the most illustrious families in Genoa, married the Marquis Raffaele De Ferrari. The couple soon moved to Paris, where the Marquis founded Crédit Immobilier de France and financed construction projects such as the Suez Canal and the Paris-Lyon-Marseille rail line. In the late 1830s, he added Prince of Lucedio and Duke of Galliera to his titles. The Duke passed away in 1876, leaving his wife fabulously wealthy. Among other philanthropic gestures, she bequeathed a parcel of land along avenue Trocadéro to the city and decided to build a museum there to house her excellent art collection. The pretty little structure was designed to resemble a palace the Duchess owned in Genoa; Italian Renaissance in style, it would have a stone façade and a steel frame by Gustave Eiffel’s company. Mosaics would cover the floors and some of the domed ceilings. Construction began in 1879. At the time, the Duchess lived in the Hôtel de Matignon (now the Prime Minister’s residence), which her husband had acquired in 1852. Known for her great generosity, she occupied the second floor and invited the royal Orléans family, returned from exile, to inhabit the first floor. On May 14, 1886, the Count of Paris threw a party here to celebrate his eldest daughter’s engagement to the future king of Portugal; practically every aristocrat in France attended the 42
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In the 1870s, Maria Brignole-Sale, Duchess of Galliera, donated the Italianate building that in 1977 became Paris’s fashion museum. FAR LEFT: A portrait of the duchess and her son by Léon Cogniet (1856). LEFT AND ABOVE: Exhibits held prior to renovations spanned the history of fashion; shown here, 18th-century gowns in “Ouverture pour inventaire” (2004), which gave visitors an unprecedented overview of the museum’s reserves, and a rollicking 2007 retrospective of couturier Jean-Charles de Castelbajac. ABOVE RIGHT: The newly renovated Grande Galerie featuring Pompeii-red walls. RIGHT: The museum’s exterior, modeled after a palace the duchess owned in Genoa.
affair. The traffic was reportedly so bad that it blocked the car of a government member—perhaps the President, though it was not confirmed—giving the State a much-desired pretext to pass an exile law: All pretenders to the French throne had to leave the country. Infuriated by this anti-monarchist legislation, the Duchess decided to donate her art collection to Genoa instead of Paris. She died in 1888, six years before the Galliera building was finished. As there was no permanent collection, it was initially a space for temporary exhibitions, then in 1902 became a museum of industrial arts. In 1954, it was again turned over to temporary exhibitions as well as auctions, and in 1977 finally found its calling as a fashion museum. Strangely, it took Paris—the capital of couture—longer than New York and London to create a permanent fashion museum. (Today the city has two: the municipal collection at the Musée Galliera and a national collection at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs.) The Galliera owes its original holdings to artist Maurice Leloir, who founded the Société de l’Histoire du Costume. In 1920, he donated 2,000 fashion items and archival materials to Paris, under the care of the Musée Carnavalet.
But space was always a problem, and it was finally decided to move the collection to the Musée Galliera. Over the years the museum’s reserves have swelled to include some 100,000 pieces from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. Many are private donations, such as the wardrobe of Countess Greffulhe, who inspired Marcel Proust’s Duchesse de Guermantes. There are articles of clothing that belonged to Marie Antoinette, Empress Josephine, Napoleon, the Duchess of Windsor and Audrey Hepburn, as well as fashions by the great houses of the 19th and 20th centuries—Balenciaga, Pierre Balmain, Christian Dior, Paul Poiret, Yves Saint Laurent and so on. The museum boasts jewels, canes, hats, shoes, fans, undergarments, handbags and Sarah Bernhardt’s gloves, as well as a fine collection of graphic arts and fashion photography. And it continues to receive donations, such as a recent gift of Lanvin pieces from designer Alber Elbaz. Like any clotheshorse whose closet is getting full, the museum politely turns down items that are less than spectacular. In 2009, the Galliera shut its doors for renovations, mainly to bring its infrastructure up to safety codes and make it wheelchair-accessible. A year later, Olivier Saillard became the new director and decided to take advantage of the closing to restore the building’s interior to its original appearance. The aesthetic modifications are small but important, notably the Pompeii-red walls, which had been painted beige. Once hidden, the wooden baseboards are now exposed and painted black. The overall effect is rich and colorful, re-creating the drama of its early days. As Saillard explains, “I never understood why there were painted ceilings, mosaics on the floor and no communication between the two.”
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THE DESIGNER Azzedine Alaïa
friends with the designer (both she and Naomi Campbell refer to him as “Papa.”) More recently, he has been honored in less obvious locations, such as the Groninger Museum in the Netherlands (2011) and the NRW-Forum in Düsseldorf (2013). And this past spring, he designed the costumes for the L.A. Philharmonic’s “Marriage of Figaro.” Now, this seems to be Alaïa’s France moment. Along with the Galliera show, he has a new flagship store in the works off of avenue Montaigne. For Saillard, it was “une évidence” to honor him with the Galliera’s inaugural show. “He’s one of the great couturiers, and I found it unjust that nothing had been done. It’s a strong symbol to open with him. He loves the history of fashion, he loves museums, he loves creation.” Saillard also considers fashion akin to sculpture, and Alaïa’s style is particularly sculptural. In fact, in his early days he studied that art at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Tunis. Alaïa earned the nickname “King of Cling” for his ability to make clothing that flatters a woman’s body, often cut on the bias to hug and even lift female curves without ever tipping into vulgarity. Unlike other designers who sketch out ideas and hand them off to their assistants, he does it all: drafting patterns, cutting and draping fabric by hand, often through the night and into the early morning. The exhibition features 60 pieces from throughout his career, plus a few more across the street at
or the Galliera’s first exhibition in its new/old digs, the
museum is featuring Azzedine Alaïa, the Tunisian-born designer whose talents have earned him loyalty verging on addiction. His client list has ranged from Greta Garbo and Cher to Lady Gaga, Mathilde de Rothschild, even Michelle Obama. A fashion renegade, Alaïa has always done things his own way and usually outside the system. He presents collections when they are ready rather than when season dictates and holds runway shows only when the mood strikes, generally once a decade or so. He does no advertising and grants very few interviews (we were not able to reach him for this story). Surprisingly—or perhaps not, given his fierce individualism—the diminutive 74-year-old’s work has never been the subject of an exhibition in France. The last major show in the U.S. was in 2000, at the Guggenheim’s Soho branch. It was funded by billionaire Peter Brant, husband of Stephanie Seymour, one of several supermodels who are close
The Galliera’s reopening kicks off with an exhibit on Tunisian-born designer Azzedine Alaïa. LEFT TO RIGHT: Grace Jones being fitted by the couturier in the 1980s; fans of his curve-flattering fashions include Marion Cotillard, Nicole Kidman, Michelle Obama and Rihanna; a photograph from Alaïa’s personal archives featuring a long tiered dress from his Fall/Winter 2012 collection; one of the designer’s “fauve” dresses (Winter 2010), inspired by African patterns.
On the other side of the Square Brignole Galliera, the satellite show at the Modern Art Museum shows a half-dozen more of Alaïa’s creations. Saillard explained why: “Even when you’re a big museum, you always feel like you’re missing a room. It’s like a book that could use one more chapter or an apartment that could use another bedroom or an office.” It’s true that the Galliera museum is not huge—about 6,000 square feet. But as much as he liked adding physical space, the director says he was even more excited about opening up this museum in the fullest sense of the word. And because this is Alaïa, a man known for his skill, generosity and sharp collector’s eye, several other incredible talents immediately accepted when he asked them to take part in this adventure. Exhibition design is by Martin Szekely, who pares his creations down to their absolute essence. His design for the space is so minimalist it is practically a nondécor: Each room has black “tectonic plates,” panels of wood placed low to the floor, upon which the mannequins stand at about the same height as the visitors. In the last room, the plate bends up like a stele, or totemic slab. “It will be very solemn,” promises Saillard. Another major design star, Australian Marc Newson, is behind the Alaïa display at the Modern Art Museum. Even the photographers involved in the project are big names, with Paolo Roversi and Peter Lindberg taking original photos for the catalogue. The text is written by Saillard, based on hours and hours of interviews with Alaïa.
the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris. Alaïa and Saillard made the selection together, though the designer had carte blanche. He has always kept very thorough archives, so most of the items come from his own collection and have never been worn, other than on the runway. The show mixes different decades together, and his designs are so timeless that it’s difficult to guess which dress comes from which period. Those in the first room are all black; those in the last room are all white. Another section features “fauves,” with African wild-thing patterns and leathers. According to Saillard, there are some 40 iconic dresses that have to be part of any Alaïa retrospective, such as the hooded bandage dress Grace Jones wore in 1985, and the “zip” dress from 2003 with its zipper coiling sexily around the body like a snake.
THE DIRECTOR Olivier Saillard
he fact that Alaïa said yes to the opening exhibition for the
Galliera undoubtedly owed much to the personality and reputation of the museum’s new director. Olivier Saillard’s leadership is certain to have as great an impact on this little museum as any renovation or exhibition. In fact, it already has. Since Saillard’s arrival, the Galliera has put on a handful of critically acclaimed exhibitions extramuros, including the 2011 Madame Grès show at the Musée Bourdelle, a wonderful dialogue between Bourdelle’s sculptures and the 20th-century couturière’s exquisitely draped dresses. “I felt like that was our real opening,” says Saillard. “It was the first time that so many people in the fashion world were moved enough to send me a note.” Last year, Saillard curated “White Drama,” 33 all-white looks from Comme des Garçons’ Spring/Summer 2012 collection displayed in clear “bubbles” at Les Docks in Paris. The show was remarkable because the house’s founder, Rei Kawakubo, is famously elusive, turning down practically every proposal to exhibit her work. The same year, Saillard brought in Tilda Swinton and created “The Impossible Wardrobe,” a 40-minute performance piece at the Palais de Tokyo during which the actress walked a runway while interacting with history-charged clothing and accessories such as Napoleon’s military coat. As Swinton told The New York Times fashion editor Suzy Menkes, “Olivier’s knowledge of fashion and the evolution of costume is encyclopedic and nonpareil, yet he is constantly searching with meticulous glee into the ether for the 46
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invisible threads between the explicit and the knowable.” One of Saillard’s regular collaborators is the British-born photographer Katerina Jebb, who introduced him to Swinton. “I don’t think that Olivier is remotely ‘fashion,’ he’s completely outside of fashion, fashion being a consumable commodity now,” she says. “He and I share a kind of obsession with memory, with the past, with living slightly out of the realm of today.” That does not mean their work is any less cutting-edge. Saillard allowed Jebb to use a scanner to capture the image of two fragile Grès dresses (after ensuring they wouldn’t be damaged by
While the Galliera was closed for renovations, the museum’s new director, Olivier Saillard, mounted several critically acclaimed shows at partner institutions. CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: A gown from “Madame Grès” (Musée Bourdelle, 2011); “White Drama,” showcasing allwhite looks from Comme des Garçons’ Spring/Summer 2012 collection (Les Docks, 2012); Tilda Swinton in the performance piece “The Impossible Wardrobe” holding a jacket worn around 1900 by the glamorous dancer Cléo de Mérode (Palais de Tokyo, 2012).
the light) when she made the poster for the Musée Bourdelle show. She claims it’s the first time an artist has ever scanned a museum piece in France, possible only because Saillard offers the people he works with “the gift of trust.” Nothing predestined him for this field. The son of taxi drivers, he grew up in a small, cold, eastern French city called Pontarlier. He has fond memories of playing in the attic as a child, breathing in the scent of old clothes. When his brother traveled to Paris for work, he took young Olivier along, leaving him to while away the time in the Louvre or the Musée d’Orsay. At school he studied archaeology and contemporary art, though
fashion was what appealed to him the most. “I wanted to design,” he recalled last spring, sitting in his temporary office in a prefab structure while construction workers paved the museum courtyard outside. “But I think that because I grew up in the provinces, I didn’t allow myself to go to fashion school. I thought it was important to have an art history education before creating anything.” He reconciled the two by pursuing a career in fashion museums; prior to the Musée Galliera, he worked at the Musée de la Mode in Marseille and Les Arts Décoratifs in Paris. He has programmed the Musée Galliera schedule until 2015, FRAN C E • FALL 2 0 1 3
THE DIRECTOR || Olivier Saillard
with two to three temporary shows per year (the museum is too small to display a permanent collection, and the fabrics are too delicate to withstand constant exposure). After Alaïa, there will be an exhibition of early pictures by Condé Nast’s great fashion photographers, and next summer will highlight the 1950s, with fashions from the museum’s reserves. Tilda Swinton will also be back, performing along with the clothing that belonged to Countess Greffulhe. “We have her whole wardrobe and are imagining something very mysterious,” hints Saillard. Given that the museum’s Jeanne Lanvin collection is so strong, Saillard would like to do something on her work as well. That said, Saillard believes that dedicating a museum show to an individual couturier should be the exception rather than the rule, and that there are far too many of those exhibitions today. “Only extraordinary talents should receive such an honor,” he says. As for the others, “there exists a very beautiful exercise called a fashion show.” Asked about the museum’s limited budget— especially in these times of austerity—he says that he refuses to let such issues occupy his time and energy. “When I arrived at Galliera, I decided that I wouldn’t go looking for sponsorships every morning but would make do with what I have.” Not that this will prevent him from taking on highly Galliera’s holdings boast some 100,000 items—clothing and accessories as well as graphic arts, photography, drawings and other articles. LEFT: An issue of Vogue featuring a Coco Chanel suit (Fall/Winter 1955); a Lucien Lelong design with fabric samples (c. 1925); a 1941 issue of Mode du Jour showcasing wartime fashions. ABOVE: A Camille di Mauro sandal (c. 1930) and a trio of gowns: A Charles Worth design for Countess Greffulhe, the inspiration for Proust’s Duchesse de Guermantes (c. 1896); a turn-of-the-20th-century suit; an Yves Saint Laurent evening gown (c. 1984-85). OPPOSITE: A Christian Lacroix evening gown adorned with chenille and beading (Fall/Winter 1987-88).
ambitious projects. He mentions “Madame Grès,” which he produced for only about €150,000, or performances he has managed to put together for as little as €400. “Curiously,” he says, “those are the shows that people remember the most.” There’s one audacious project he would love to do, and it’s the polar opposite of the moneymaking blockbusters so many museums now aim to produce. “I’m dreaming of an exhibition that you can visit alone. You’ll be able to reserve ahead of time, arrive at noon, and the security guards won’t ask you to leave until the museum closes. We’ll make it last a year. When I’m at the Louvre and can’t even back up because of the crowds, I think we’ve lost something. It’s important to provide a real artistic encounter. Otherwise people consume, f consume, consume, and they don’t ever really see anything.” “Alaïa” runs through January 26, 2014, at the Palais Galliera, Musée de la Mode de la Ville de Paris, and the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris. parismusees.paris.fr
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A Journey that Wasn’t, El Diario del Fin del Mundo February-March 2005 This visually enthralling work mixes footage shot in Antarctica with images of an opera inspired by Huyghe’s polar expedition and staged in Central Park. Featuring a live orchestra, fog machines and robotic penguins, it is ultimately baffling, blending the borders between what is real and what isn’t.
The Artist that Isn’t
By Sara Romano
N A SUNNY OCTOBER DAY IN 2003, THE
newly built residential development of Streamside Knolls in New York’s Hudson Valley became the scene of a peculiar experiment: Teams of people pretending to be locals took part in a “neighborhood celebration” dreamed up by a total stranger. Children paraded through the streets in baggy costumes and animal heads. Bands blared, fireworks crackled, the mayor spoke and a giant balloon soared skyward. This odd spectacle was, believe it or not, a work of contemporary art. It was conceived entirely—the mayor’s speech, the parade, the celebratory cake—by French artist Pierre Huyghe as part of a commission by New York’s Dia Art Foundation. The ceremony would later become the climax of a 26-minute Huyghe film entitled Streamside Day that also features two little girls moving into their faux-New England home and a herd of live deer migrating in a reenactment of Bambi. Here’s the advertisement that Huyghe and the Dia Foundation drafted to recruit people for the project: Dia Art Foundation invites the public to celebrate the new community called Streamside Knolls, in Fishkill, New York, and be part of artist Pierre Huyghe’s film project ... A parade, animal costumes, music, and a barbeque dinner with hot dogs and hamburgers, corn on the cob, pumpkin pies, ice cream, lemonade, and green cotton candy are some of the highlights of this celebration at Streamside Knolls ... “Streamside Day Celebration” will begin with the planting of a tree. Children will be offered animal costumes to wear for the event. At 3:30 p.m., a parade with a fire engine, police car, mail truck, school bus, two pick-up truck floats, and an ice-cream truck will travel through Streamside Knolls. People can enjoy ice cream while listening to welcoming remarks. Around 5:30 p.m., dinner will be served, followed by a Streamside Day Cake. The public is welcome to take pictures throughout the event. It was quintessential Huyghe. The artist likes nothing more than to orchestrate happenings that then take on a life of their own: situations where insects crawl across the floor, people are hypnotized and hallucinogens proliferate in a thick, dark forest. Since the Hudson Valley episode, his reputation has grown exponentially. In 2006, Huyghe had solo shows at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris and at the Tate Modern in London; last year, he starred in the prestigious Documenta exhibition in Germany; and this year, he won the Roswitha Haftmann Prize (Europe’s most generous art award with a purse of 150,000 Swiss francs). Now comes the ultimate accolade: a solo exhibition that débuts at Paris’s Pompidou Center this fall (running through January 6, 2014), then travels to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in November 2014. “Pierre Huyghe is certainly one of the most important artists on the French and international scene, and he’s never had a retrospective at the Pompidou Center,” says contemporary art curator Emma Lavigne, who masterminded the exhibition. “The idea is to look back on his work and show how much it has evolved.” 52
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Another aim is to correct the common misperception that Huyghe is essentially a film artist. “Pierre Huyghe invents situations, situations that integrate human, organic, temporal and even climatic conditions,” explains Lavigne. “We’re not in a staged environment where everything is perfectly controlled. We’re in a place where things can drift in any number of directions—poetic, physical, experimental. What interests Huyghe is to create situations and let them evolve.” Over at LACMA, Assistant Curator Jarrett Gregory defines Huyghe as one of the most important contemporary artists working today. “He is able to address issues around environment, narrative and culture in consistently new ways, and he breaks down the boundaries between mediums that we would normally segregate and categorize as installation, performance or film,” he says. “His works are both conceptual and visceral, and he continues to push himself to discover new strategies for making art.” The LACMA show will feature the U.S. premiere of the artist’s latest film as well as a new work created especially for Los Angeles. FOR SUCH AN ICONOCLAST, HUYGHE HAS A PRETTY ORDINARY
background. Born in Paris in September 1962, he attended the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs, where he studied set design and printmaking as well as photography, video and performance. There, he was also required to attend life-drawing classes. Yet Huyghe was, from the outset, determined to find his own way. He was no fan of art history and avoided it in his studies, preferring to focus on music instead. Even as a young student, he produced very few objects that could actually be displayed in an art gallery. “Many of his early projects were guerrilla-style urban events produced largely illegally on the streets of Paris using readily available cheap and recycled materials,” writes Amelia Barikin in Parallel Presents: The Art of Pierre Huyghe. During his first year at art school, Huyghe banded together with a few other artists—including punk-band singer Nina Childress— to form a group of what Huyghe labels “very bad painters” known as Les Frères Ripoulin (a pun on Ripolin, a French brand of household paints, and ripou, slang for rotten or corrupt). Operating by night, the group slapped huge rolls of painted craft paper over Paris’s billboards; most survived barely a day or two before they were torn
Huyghe likes nothing more than to orchestrate happenings that then take on a life of their own.
L’Expédition Scintillante: A Musical; Acts I and III, Kunsthaus Bregenz, 2002 Huyghe described this exhibition as “a pre-vision of what might happen on an expedition … in this case, a collective journey in Antarctica.” The artist staged it on different floors of the contemporary art museum in Bregenz, Austria, creating three different environments that mirrored three acts in a musical. Act I, set to John Cage’s “Radio Music,” was a “weather room” based on Edgar Allan Poe’s The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym; it contained a melting boat made of ice, a radio broadcasting a ship’s logbook, and some of the climatic conditions—fog, rain, snow—mentioned in Poe’s novel. Act III, set to Brian Eno’s “Music for Airports,” featured a skater on a black ice rink.
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This is not a time for dreaming Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, Harvard University, Cambridge, 2004 Blending the historical and the fantastical, this 24-minute film has two components: It explores the creative process and architectural choices involved in the construction of Harvard’s Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, the only U.S. building designed by Le Corbusier, as well as Huyghe’s own projet to commemorate the building’s anniversary. The artist (right), the architect and other key figures are represented by marionettes.
down or covered up by city employees. (Twenty years earlier, a young artist named Daniel Buren had staged similar stealth actions, painting his signature stripes over Parisian billboards in the wee hours.) Despite those nocturnal acts of vandalism, Les Frères Ripoulin were embraced by the establishment—graffiti and street art were welcomed in those early years of François Mitterrand’s presidency. The group got a gallery show at the Galerie du Jour Agnès B. in 1984, and their work was put on public exhibition in such hallowed venues as the Paris Opera and the Bourse. By 1986, Les Frères Ripoulin were showing at the New York gallery of Tony Shafrazi (who also represented Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat). For the gallery’s exhibition poster, Huyghe and his cohorts dressed in fluorescent outfits and struck outlandish poses. Les Frères Ripoulin began disbanding in 1987. Huyghe was the first to leave; he was much more interested in the actions around the paintings than in the paintings themselves. By his own reckoning, his artistic career didn’t officially start until 1990. His first art dealer was the late Roger Pailhas, who put on Huyghe’s initial solo show at his Marseille gallery in 1994. In the eight years spent with Pailhas (whose portfolio also included such art-world giants as Buren, Jeff 54
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Wall and Laurence Weiner), Huyghe created some 50 works. The first was “Paris Boum Boum” (1990), a clothbound compendium of every issue of the free Paris advertising paper. In 1998, Huyghe signed with the prestigious Marian Goodman Gallery in New York (which also represents Christian Boltanski, Gerhard Richter and Maurizio Cattelan, among others). Museum shows quickly followed with solo exhibitions at Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art (2000), Berlin’s Neue Nationalgalerie (2002) and New York’s Guggenheim (2003). Barikin, Huyghe’s biographer, describes his art as “elegant, open, reflexive, nebulous yet crystalline, temporally expansive and philosophically generous.” In a recent interview, she noted that “all of Huyghe’s projects involve some kind of journey that takes place over time. I would describe his process as a form of world-building. One might say that Huyghe is an artist who creates worlds rather than making works. Huyghe’s projects transport you to an ‘elsewhere’ while intensifying the conditions of the present moment. They can’t be consumed instantly. This is one reason why they are so politically and emotionally effective.” “Elsewhere” is right. In 2005, Huyghe’s thirst for exploration led
Zoodrama 2, 2010 Zoodrama 5 (After “Sleeping Muse” by Constantin Brancusi), 2011 Huyghe’s “Zoodramas” reflect his fascination with creating environments and seeing what develops. His live marine ecosystems feature specifically selected creatures that interact “naturally” with their carefully designed surroundings and with each other (in one tank, a hermit crab makes its home in a resin mask of Brancusi’s “Sleeping Muse”). The artist refers to them as “biosemiotic” environments that allow viewers to explore the equivalence between what exists inside and outside of the aquarium.
ERE IS HOW THE ELUSIVE HUYGHE—NOT
him, quite literally, to the other end of the Earth. He and a small crew boarded a 100-foot boat off the southernmost tip of Argentina and set sail for Antarctica. The artist’s mission: to search for an unexplored island, home to a rare species of albino penguin. The trip was not without hazards; the boat had to negotiate rough seas and hit powerful storms before reaching its final destination. All the while, Huyghe was shooting hours of video. Later, he mixed the footage with images of an opera that was inspired by his expedition and staged in Central Park. The opera was accompanied by a live orchestra and featured fog machines and robotic penguins that helped re-create the atmosphere of the South Pole. He gave the resulting film the enigmatic title A Journey that Wasn’t. Initially, viewers are intrigued by Huyghe’s adventure, moved by his quest for the polar birds and enchanted by the special effects and orchestral music. Yet they’re soon flummoxed by Huyghe’s inconclusive search for the mystery creatures—did he find them or not? They can’t tell what’s real and what’s not, and they realize there’s a reason he called his work A Journey that Wasn’t. As always, the artist is less interested in giving people answers than in having them experience a range of emotions.
a fan of interviews—described his process when contacted for this story. “What I’m interested in,” he said, “is producing a set of parameters, defining the conditions of a system and watching forms emerge within that system—without pre-determining what happens between the individual entities or components. Inside that complex framework, haphazard, accidental or tangential elements crop up, and the system becomes self-generating.” In other words, he sets the stage, then steps back and watches what happens next. In his 2011 exhibition “Influants” at Berlin’s Esther Schipper gallery, for example, visitors had their names called out as they entered an empty white room. It was full of moving black dots that, on closer examination, turned out to be insects: ants and spiders crawling across the floor. The visitors’ random reactions—shock, horror, fascination, delight—were very much a part of the artwork. “I’m interested in seeing a creative language, style or form spill out into the realm of the tangential, the mineral, the biological,” the artist continued. “I like to intensify the present and to place a number of elements en situation. Obviously a lot of these elements happen to be fauna or flora.” There was certainly no shortage of fauna and flora in Huyghe’s landmark 2012 contribution to the prestigious Documenta contemporary art exhibition (which takes place in Kassel, Germany, every five years). The way the artist tells it, he took over a section of Karlsaue Park where Documenta takes place—not the Baroque garden familiar to visitors but a hidden area where dead or discarded vegetation is tossed away and composted, producing fertile soil. Drawing intellectual parallels, Huyghe looked for creative concepts whose time had likewise lapsed. “I thought to myself, ‘What are some historical markers and ideas that at one time were quite strong and are now destroyed or useless?’” Digging through Documenta’s past, Huyghe came up with elements that had featured prominently in past editions. He uprooted one of the 7,000 oaks that legendary art provocateur Joseph Beuys had ordered planted in Kassel between 1982 and 1987; that oak became the centerpiece of Huyghe’s display. He also borrowed a bench that French contemporary artist Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster had exhibited in her work “Park—A Plan for Escape” during the 2002 Documenta. Huyghe then had botanical species with psychotropic and aphrodisiac properties planted on site, and introduced animals and insects as well. A statue of a reclining nude was given a beehive FRAN C E • FALL 2 0 1 3
for a head, and Human, a white dog with a bright-pink leg, wandered about the place. Huyghe’s artistic bestiary also included an ant colony and a turtle (a tribute to the novel A Rebours by the 19th-century novelist Joris-Karl Huysmans). The artist then stepped back and watched his creation flourish and fester. In his hands, a composting area became a surreal biotope, a metaphor for breaking down preconceived notions and creating fertile ground to see what new ideas could take root. For Huyghe, Documenta was a dream come true, offering the chance to operate outside the usual space-and-time limitations of traditional exhibitions. In fact, the work lives on to this day, and the artist speaks of it in the present tense. Kassel “is not something that’s addressed to a particular audience,” he explains. “It’s a place in and of itself, a place where you can see something important happen. The show goes on—or, in any event, the work continues to grow outside of the time frame of the exhibition.” Huyghe’s extravaganza-in-the-forest unquestionably helped him clinch the Roswitha Haftmann Prize. The trophy is given to artists in mid-career, and prior winners include Cindy Sherman (2012), Carl Andre (2011), Sigmar Polke (2010) and Mona Hatoum (2004). The prize’s board chairman, Christoph Becker (who also runs the Kunsthaus Zurich), was stunned by Huyghe’s Kassel work, which he experienced firsthand. “It was very disturbing because it was not a performance in the classical sense,” Becker remembers. “You couldn’t come and see it and go. You had to come and go, and come back, and see what had changed. Or you simply stayed for half an hour and just watched through the fence what was going on. It was not much. But something happened there. People talked about it a lot.” Becker describes Huyghe as a “very playful and humorous” artist and a “very intellectual” one, who “puts objects and people on a stage. We spectators, the visitors to these installations, become part of these installations.” The Documenta exhibition will be a key focus of the Pompidou show, says curator Lavigne, noting that it will be a challenge to bring it to life in a museum that usually deals with painting, sculpture, installation and video. She is determined to somehow show the statue with the beehive head and the dog with the pink leg.
“Huyghe is an explorer, actually, an explorer who goes completely beyond the very idea of a work’s permanent physicality.” Untilled Kassel, 2011-2012 Huyghe’s sketch for “Untilled,” presented at the prestigious Documenta contemporary art show in Kassel, Germany. Hidden in a composting area at the end of the city’s Karlsaue Park, the installation—an ever-evolving biotope—functions as a metaphor for the breakdown of preconceived notions and the creation of fertile soil for the development of new ideas. Left: One of the installation’s most surreal elements is a sculpture of a female body whose head consists of an enormous swarming beehive.
HE OTHER KEY FOCUS OF THE POMPIDOU SHOW
will be a 2010 work that Huyghe staged at the Musée des Arts et des Traditions Populaires, five years after it had permanently closed (its collections are now part of Marseille’s new MuCEM, or Musée des Civilisations de l’Europe et de la Méditerranée). “This former repository of everything having to do with French folklore, popular tradition and handicrafts had become a sort of phantom gallery, a drifting ghost ship; even empty, it still had the feel of a place that was important to the identity and culture of France,” recalls Lavigne. In the empty restaurant and storage areas, vacant galleries and other deserted spaces, Huyghe set the stage for spectacles and situations, throwing together a bunch of actors and performers—a hypnotist, a tap dancer, a singer, a magician—as if they were animals in an enclosure, then filming what happened next. The resulting The Host and the Cloud is a part-documentary, part-fictional film that blurs the boundaries between reality and unreality, a genre in and of itself. The project went on for a year, sometimes with 40 different situations going on at once throughout the building—a Michael Jackson impersonator dancing here, someone being hypnotized there, a re-enactment of a famous trial, a couple having sex…. Some performances were scripted, others not. “You never know which,” Huyghe told his friend and fellow artist Rirkrit Tiravanija in Interview magazine. “The whole project is like a garden, where each plant is a situation, a fragment of our culture or recent history. You can’t follow every growing element.” FOR POMPIDOU CURATOR LAVIGNE, HUYGHE IS IN A CATEGORY OF
his own. “Pierre often says that he doesn’t want to be described as an artist,” she says. “His objective is not to produce and reproduce art objects but to create situations that will intensify the notion of the physical presence and life of a work of art. He’s an explorer, actually, an explorer who goes completely beyond the very idea of a work’s permanent physicality.” Huyghe’s work is also peppered with literary, philosophical and artistic references, many of them French, that are surely lost on all but the highly cultured observer. That raises the question of whether one has to be an intellectual to fully appreciate his work. “I’m not looking to dumb down, I do what I have to do,” he replies. “Having said that, people can totally access the work. Some things are immediate: The statue with the beehive head doesn’t require intellectual baggage. These elements form a collage. They’re things that are instantly accessible. So anyone can take from them what they like.” What’s next for Huyghe? “I’d like to find a place where I could conduct a series of experiments on ethology, or animal behavior,” he says. “So I’m looking for a place north of New York where I can work long term.” Who knows? The residents of Streamside may well find Huyghe f popping up in their neck of the woods yet again…. “Pierre Huyghe” runs through January 6, 2014, at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris. centrepompidou.fr FRAN C E • FALL 2 0 1 3
Calendrier French Cultural Events in North America
• “Thérèse Dreaming” (1938) is one of the provocative canvases on view at the Met exhibit devoted to Balthus. October-December 2013 The controversial and resolutely secretive artist Balthus was born in 1908 to parents who moved in the highest artistic circles in Paris. In an early expression of his enduring fascination with felines, the 11-year-old artist depicted his adventures with a cat in a series of pen-and-ink drawings that so charmed the German poet Rilke that he arranged for their publication and contributed a preface. Long believed lost, these “Mitsou” drawings make their public debut in B althus : C ats and G irls —P aintings and P rovocations , the first U.S. museum exhibition of the artist’s work in nearly 30 years. As indicated by its title, the show explores his cat theme and its intersection with a subject whose treatment at his hand still raises eyebrows: girls on the cusp of adolescence. The canvas above is one of 11 featuring his young neighbor Thérèse Blanchard. Through Jan. 12, 2014, at The Metropolitan Museum of Art; metmuseum.org. 58
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© B A LT H U S
Haussmann. Through Jan. 5, 2014, at the National Gallery of Art; nga.gov.
Celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, the International Fine Art & Antique Dealers Show was New York’s first vetted fair—that is, the first to require that all objects be authenticated by a panel of experts, a process now de rigueur at such events in the U.S. From garden furniture to arms and armor, maps to marine artifacts, paintings to pottery, the items on display represent a wide range of styles, origins and eras, with price tags from the hundreds to the millions. The 67 top American and European dealers exhibiting include New York’s own Todd Merrill, London’s Wartski and, for the first time, Paris’s Galerie Mathivet, which specializes in French Art Deco. Oct. 25 through 31 at the Park Avenue Armory; haughton.com.
Possibly descended from the practice of decorating armor, etching involves piercing through a protective coating on a printing plate with a sharp tool and then incising the resulting image into the exposed metal with acid. Thanks to its accessibility and versatility, this relatively easy means of engraving has broad appeal as an artistic medium. Artists and Amateurs: Etching in EighteenthCentury France shows how Watteau, Boucher, Fragonard and their contemporaries experimented with the technique— some as students and others within the thriving Paris print market. Through Jan. 5, 2014, at The Metropolitan Museum of Art; metmuseum.org.
New York DAVID D’ANGERS
The 19th-century sculptor David d’Angers executed numerous monumental commissions, notably the reliefs on the pediment of the Panthéon in Paris, as well as hundreds of busts and portrait medallions of the leading literary, political and artistic figures of his time. Having studied in Italy after winning the Prix de Rome, he was well versed in Neoclassicism but invested his work with a forward-looking Romantic sensibility. David d’Angers (1788– 1856): Making the Modern Monument presents some 45 works on paper and sculptures in marble, bronze and other materials, many never before exhibited. Through Dec. 8 at The Frick Collection; thefrick.org.
Delacroix’s “Collision of Arab Horsemen” (1843-44), featured at •theEugène Santa Barbara Museum of Art’s “Delacroix and the Matter of Finish.”
Philadelphia FERNAND LÉGER
Returning to Paris after serving in World War I, Fernand Léger was invigorated by modern urban life and the proliferation of commercial art, as evidenced by his monumental post-Cubist painting “The City” (1919), the centerpiece of the multimedia exhibition Léger: Modern Art and the Metropolis. Best known as a painter, Léger was originally trained as an architect and also designed, produced and directed for both stage and screen. Through more than 120 paintings, film projections, set and costume designs, architectural models and other works by the artist and such contemporaries as Robert and Sonia Delaunay, Abel Gance, Le Corbusier and Man Ray, the show captures the dynamism with which the European avant garde engaged with their changing environment. Oct. 14, 2013, through Jan. 5, 2014, at the Philadelphia Museum of Art; philamuseum.org.
S A N TA B A R B A R A M U S E U M O F A R T; M U S E É D U L O U V R E , PA R I S
Charles Marville: Photographer of Paris is the first U.S. retrospective of the work of the esteemed and once enigmatic 19th-century artist. Recent archival discoveries—not least that the name Marville was a pseudonym—have opened a window onto the personal and professional life of this prolific talent, who began his career as an illustrator. Some 100 photographs spanning his career range from portraits to cloud studies to images of Paris both before and after its transformation under
Atlanta THE ART OF THE TUILERIES
Comprising 63 elegantly landscaped acres between the Louvre and the Place de la Concorde, the Jardin des Tuileries was one of Europe’s first public gardens. Through more than 100 works, many
Charles Antoine Coysevox’s “Hamadryade et enfant” (early 18th century) brings the Tuileries Gardens to Atlanta.
never before exhibited outside France, The Art of the Louvre’s Tuileries Garden traces the evolution of this celebrated green space and showcases its role both as an outdoor museum and as a source of artistic inspiration. Large-scale sculptures from the 17th through the 20th centuries join paintings by such masters as Manet and Pissarro and photographs by Atget, Cartier-Bresson and others. Nov. 3, 2013, through Jan. 19, 2014, at the High Museum of Art; high.org.
Santa Barbara DELACROIX
The centerpiece of Delacroix and the Matter of Finish is a previously unknown easel-sized variation of the artist’s monumental 1844 canvas The Last Words of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius, symbolizing the end of the Roman Empire. Examining his fascination with such Neoclassical themes and revealing his connections with Ingres, David and other seeming opposites, the show reassesses Delacroix’s reputation as the quintessential French Romantic painter. Oct. 27, 2013, through Jan. 26, 2014, at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art; sbmuseart.org.
Kansas City, MO IMPRESSIONIST FRANCE
In mid-19th-century France, the burgeoning art of photography helped usher in the Impressionist movement by freeing painters from the need to reproduce reality. Impressionist France: Visions of Nation from Le Gray to Monet juxtaposes the two mediums, using them as a lens through which to view the country’s rapid
modernization during that era. Some 125 works are grouped into seven different types of landscape: Paris and the Modern Cityscape, Forests and Rivers, Mountains, Marine Views…. Oct. 19, 2013, through Feb. 9, 2014, at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art; nelson-atkins.org.
Denver PASSPORT TO PARIS
A trio of shows devoted to French art from the late 1600s to the early 1900s, Passport to Paris offers an art historical survey that reflects the profound political, societal and cultural changes that took place in France during that period. The first of these exhibits, “Court to Café: Three Centuries of French Masterworks from the Wadsworth Atheneum” presents 50 highlights from the collection of the country’s oldest public art museum in a Who’s Who of Neoclassicism, Impressionism and other major movements: Poussin, Boucher, Cézanne, Degas, Toulouse-Lautrec…. The second, “Nature as Muse: French Impressionist Landscapes,” features some 36 pieces by Monet, Pissarro and other beloved masters who set up their easels outside to capture their direct experience of the natural world. Finally, “Drawing Room: An Intimate Look at French Drawings from the Esmond Bradley Martin Collection” takes its inspiration from connoisseur’s cabinets, allowing viewers up-close access to nearly 40 works on paper by many of the same big names included in the other shows. Adding an auditory layer, the Colorado Symphony will play related music on site every Saturday for the duration of F R A N C E • FA L L 2 013
The Salon: Art + Design returns to New York for its second edition this fall—hopefully under more fortunate circumstances than in its inaugural year, when it not only followed on the heels of Hurricane Sandy but also had to contend with a snowstorm. Although these challenges inevitably thinned attendance a bit, the show drew attention for its outstanding quality. The New York Times dubbed it a “museum in the making” because many pieces A ceremonial metate (300-700 A.D.) from displayed could have caught the eye Costa Rica, shown by of curators looking to add to their Galerie Mermoz. institutions’ holdings. Seeking to reflect the eclectic style of today’s interiors, the Salon combines works of modern art and design from 1890 to the present with older items that could be considered their forebears, as well as ethnographic pieces. Fifty-three leading international dealers will participate; half are members of France’s prestigious Syndicat National des Antiquaires, from the venerable Kraemer, specializing in the very finest 18th-century antiques and objets d’art, to the hip, forwardlooking Carpenters Workshop Gallery, which collaborates with both established and emerging talents. Nov. 14 through 18 at the Park Avenue Armory;
the exhibitions. Oct. 27, 2013, through Feb. 9, 2014, at the Denver Art Museum; denverartmuseum.org.
Brooklyn JEAN PAUL GAULTIER
Whether showcasing men’s skirts or sending plus-size models down the runway, Jean Paul Gaultier has consistently embraced an irreverent and fun-loving aesthetic that celebrates individuality. The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk presents some 140 haute couture and prêt-à porter ensembles dating from the 1970s to today, many displayed on high-tech mannequins with interactive projected faces. A wide assortment of other materials— from sketches to film clips to stage costumes—illustrate the designer’s fondness for collaborating with fellow artists as varied as Pedro Almodóvar, Maurice Béjart and of course Madonna. Oct. 25, 2013, through Feb. 23, 2014, at the Brooklyn Museum of Art; brooklynmuseum.org.
New Orleans CAMILLE HENROT
On the heels of winning a Silver Lion at the 2013 Venice Biennale, the Parisbased multimedia artist Camille Henrot
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has her first solo museum exhibition in the United States this fall. Combining a site-specific video installation with sculpture, Camille Henrot: Cities of Ys draws parallels between the disappearing Louisiana wetlands occupied by the historically French-speaking Houma Indians and the mythical city of Ys, said to have been built below sea level on the coast of Brittany. Oct. 11, 2013, through Feb. 24, 2014, at the New Orleans Museum of Art; noma.org.
Executed some 20,000 years ago and discovered by a group of teenagers in 1940, the Lascaux cave paintings in southwestern France are among the world’s finest examples of prehistoric art; after viewing them, Pablo Picasso reportedly said, “We have invented nothing.” Although the caves were closed to the public in 1963 for purposes of preservation, they have unfortunately been under assault by fungi for the past decade. Using the latest digital technology, the interactive multimedia exhibition Scenes from the Stone Age: The Cave Paintings of Lascaux offers a virtual tour of this fragile World Heritage Site, with highly accurate, full-size
Martinican writer Aimé Césaire’s epic 1938 poem “Return to My Native Land” and a concert of avant-garde French and American works played by the Orchestre National de Lorraine and Sonic Generator, Georgia Tech’s cuttingedge contemporary music ensemble. Oct. 23 through Nov. 10 at various venues; france-atlanta.org.
Minneapolis, Ann Arbor and New York BALLET PRELJOCAJ
The acclaimed contemporary dance troupe Ballet Preljocaj performs its epic And Then, One Thousand Years of Peace, which takes its inspiration from the Apocalypse. Emphasizing revelation—the original sense of the word—rather than impending catastrophe, this impressionistic piece seeks to “evoke what is nestled in the innermost recesses of our being.” First created in collaboration with the Bolshoi Ballet, it blends the avant garde with the classical, both choreographically and musically; an electronic score by DJ Laurent Garnier gives way to samples of Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata.” With sets by Indian artist Subodh Gupta and costumes by Russian fashion designer Igor Chapurin. Oct. 30 at the University of Minnesota’s Northrop Auditorium, Nov. 1 and 2 at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor’s Power Center, Nov. 7 through 9 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music; preljocaj.org.
FRENCH WEEKS MIAMI
New York WALLS AND BRIDGES
Now in its fifth season, Walls and Bridges is a series of events joining prominent American thinkers and creative talents with peers from other countries, primarily France. The diverse lineup includes French ethicist Corine Pelluchon and American journalist David Rieff discussing “Famine and the World Food System. Food in Regard to Justice”; circus artist Jeanne Mordoj exploring aspects of femininity in “La Poème,” followed by a Q&A with American writer A.M. Homes and NYU humanities professor Avital Ronell; and “Please Mind the Door: An Evening of Storytelling, Music and Performances” featuring participants as varied as a beat boxer, a geographer and a historian. Oct. 9 through 20 at various venues; wallsandbridges.net.
France-Atlanta 2013 is a series of cultural, scientific, humanitarian and business events promoting innovation and French-American ties in the southeastern U.S. Cultural highlights include the French stage, television and film actor Jacques Martial performing his theatrical interpretation of
The fourth edition of French Weeks Miami highlights ties between the Floridian metropolis and Nice. The agenda runs the gamut from social and economic networking events to a fashion show, a golf cup and the Miami Nice Jazz Festival. Oct. 24 through Nov. 15 at various venues; frenchweeksmiami.org.
U.S. Tour BEL X 3
The conceptual artist, dancer and choreographer Jérôme Bel is known for upending audiences’ preconceptions and minimizing artifice. This fall, he brings three very different creations to U.S. stages. In the provocative Disabled Theater, he teams up with Theater HORA, a professional Swiss company of actors with mental disabilities (most have Down Syndrome). The hour-long one-man show Cédric Andrieux was conceived and directed by Bel but is narrated and danced by the performer for which it is named. A series of snapshots from Andrieux’s career—his resume includes stints with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company and the Lyon Opera Ballet—the piece offers an intimate look at the everyday life of a contemporary dancer. Finally, in The Show Must Go On, Bel questions the very notion of choreography: The dancers perform moves specified by lyrics of popular songs. Nov. 12 through Dec. 6; jeromebel.fr.
Los Angeles AGNÈS VARDA
Credited with anticipating the French New Wave with her 1954 directorial debut, La Pointe-Courte, Agnès Varda has remained an innovative force of filmmaking in the intervening decades, not least by becoming an early adherent of digital cinematography. This fall, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art presents screenings of her recent work (Oct. 25 and 26), a restored version of her 1968 film-within-a-film Lions Love, and a twoweek retrospective of her career (Dec. 6 through 14). lacma.org —Tracy Kendrick For a regularly updated listing of cultural events, go to francemagazine.org.
C O U R T E S Y O F G A L E R I E M E R M O Z , PA R I S
The Salon: Art + Design
replicas of the ancient images. Oct.18, 2013, through March 23, 2014, at the Houston Museum of Natural Science; hmns.org.
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Our Secret Weapon
by MICHEL FAURE
a quintessentially French role, that of Edith Piaf—the “Little Sparhottest exports. Just look at Daft Punk. The group consists of two row” who wrung her hands and sang songs of love and fallen women very discreet Frenchmen—Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de and seductive legionnaires. How French Touch is that? I don’t know Homem-Christo—who sport Yves Saint Laurent suits and space about “good taste,” but it’s “very Gallic” for sure. Piaf was emblemathelmets that give them the appearance of super-chic robots. Every so ic of working-class, romantic France—an energetic, birdlike woman often, they come out with an album that immediately sells in the tens who embodied a country that was picking up the pieces after the war. of millions worldwide. What is the secret of their success? She regretted nothing, rien de rien, and with just a little love, saw la Their French Touch, of course, a term now synonymous with an vie en rose. Audrey Tautou, too, moved Americans with her charisentire musical genre. It’s distinguished from other forms of electronic matic depiction of Amélie. Starring in Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s fanciful music by its sampling of disco tunes and heavy use of filters and phaser tale of life in a postcard Montmartre, she seduced Hollywood as the effects, but also by a certain elegance. The most discerning critics laud symbolic heroine of an idealized France. the talent, lightness, originality, sophistication and refinement of the But nostalgia for a romanticized past is only one strain of French Parisian duo and their latest opus, “Random Access Memories.” (They Touch, which has kept pace with a country that is constantly evolvearn kudos for their marketing savvy, too, but that’s another story.) ing and reinventing itself. A perfect example is our luxury companies; Daft Punk “are nothing if not exemplars of a very Gallic kind of many go back centuries but don’t hesitate to team up with the edgiest good taste,” writes The Guardian; they talents on the market: Baccarat crys“are to the U.S. electronic dance music tal, founded by order of Louis XV in scene what the Velvet Underground 1763, has long collaborated with the were to punk, in so far as it’s hard to planet’s coolest designers, including imagine the genre existing as it does the legendary Philippe Starck; likewithout them.” wise for Christofle (est. 1880), which But French Touch is more than an has enlisted the talents of Andrée Putinfectious type of house music. More man, Christian Biecher and Martin broadly, it’s a vision of France that Szekely (who, incidentally, has even credits us with some mysterious je dreamed up graceful high-voltage ne sais quoi that’s responsible for our towers for our landscapes). And when creativity, elegance, good taste, fashLa Cornue wanted to give their classic ion, luxury, humor, fine wines, nice ranges a new look, they called on the things—in short, that irresistible, incomparable Jean-Michel Wilmotte. completely disarming charm that The new ovens are as beautiful as you’re already familiar with, right? ever but completely different. Yet you You’re not? Well, let me explain. recognize them instantly. • Daft Punk, the YSL-clad fathers of French Touch. Without going all the way And you certainly can’t talk about back to the days of bewigged dukes and flighty countesses, French French Touch without mentioning the fashion industry. Jean-Paul Touch has been around for ages. At least, let’s say, since the days Gaultier, the agent provocateur who transformed Madonna into a of Maurice Chevalier, the tuxedo-clad king of the music hall who fetishist icon in 1990 with his design for her conical bustier, exemplisang saucy chansonnettes on Broadway with a French accent so thick fies that undefinable quality with his style, boldness, humor and buzz you could cut it with a knife. The polar opposite of Daft Punk, cut. And those signature stripes. For the French, they evoke seaside although the idea of a French Touch version of “Prosper (Yop La vacations, children’s sailor suits and the elegance of the National Navy, boum)” is certainly intriguing. But while the latter may have invented associations that Gaultier slyly subverts with his utterly modern striped a new musical genre reflecting a “very Gallic kind of good taste,” décors. Fellow couturier Christian Lacroix, meanwhile, gave the TGV Chevalier’s French Touch also reflected the tastes of his era. Its cheerful Est a thoroughly French Touch when he designed its interior. tone evoked the cheeky humor of the “titi” parisien—the quintessential From cinema to house music, fashion to design, Champagne to Paris street kid—pretty women in feathers, and the allure of old- heavy industry, a French Touch adds pizzazz to every sector of the fashioned dance halls on the banks of the Marne. And your parents—or French economy. I see it as a secret weapon that bolsters both our perhaps your grandparents—found that utterly charming. trade balance and our soft power. It’s both our brand image and an That same French Touch can be seen on the big screen. Marion engine that just may return us to economic growth. If, as the Daft f Cotillard, for example, became famous in the United States for playing Punk song says, we “get lucky.” 64
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“French Touch” seems to be one of France’s
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