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Laurie Anderson and Jay McInerney to Receive Insignia of Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters

New York, October 3rd, 2017—Multidisciplinary artist Laurie Anderson and novelist Jay McInerneywill be awarded the insignia of Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters byBénédicte de Montlaur, Cultural Counselor of the French Embassy on Tuesday, October 10th, in New York. Anderson and McInerneywill receive this distinction in recognition of their contributions to the fields of art and literature. 

The Order of Arts and Letters (Ordre des Arts et des Lettres) was established in 1957 to recognize eminent artists and writers, as well as people who have contributed significantly to furthering the arts in France and throughout the world.

Laurie Anderson, born in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, has spent over four decades active in the art world. A visual artist, composer, vocalist, writer, and director, she received a Masters in Fine Arts degree in sculpture from Columbia University in 1972. 

Ms. Anderson has greatly contributed to the international art scene, as her visual art has been exhibited in major museums worldwide and her music has gained recognitionacross the world, especially after her 1981 hit single “O Superman” reached the number 2 spot on the UK Singles Charts. In 2004, she composed the score for “O Zlozony/O Composite,” a ballet commissioned by the Opera Garnier à Paris and choreographed by Trisha Brown. She has also collaborated with French artist Jean-Michel Jarre, first as a featured vocalist in “Diva” (1984), and more recently in “Rely on Me” (2015). In January 2015, she screened her film Heart of a Dog and held a conversation at the Night of Philosophy and Ideas, an event co-sponsored by the Cultural Services of the French Embassy. In 1999, the Musée D’art Contemporain de Lyon acquired a major work from Anderson, The HandphoneTable, that it presented in a 2002 retrospective exhibition, The Record of the Time: Sound in the Work of Laurie Anderson, celebrating Ms. Anderson’s illustrious career. 

In 2007, Ms. Anderson received the prestigious Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize for her contribution to the arts. Anderson currently has several exhibitions on display at the MASS MoCA, including two virtual reality exhibits. She has published seven books and her next book, All the Things I Lost in the Flood, will be released in February 2018. 

Born in Hartford, Connecticut, world-renowned author Mr. McInerney started writing short stories and poetry during his childhood and received a Master of Arts degree at Syracuse University in English in 1986.Mr. McInerney’swork, authoringthree books on wine, as well as his work as an acclaimed wine columnist, has taken him to France on numerous occasions, and has led him to promote worldwide appreciation for French wines.He has been involved with the Cultural Services of the French Embassy, leading a discussion last January alongside French writer FrédéricBeigbeder, andhe has been honored in France on multiple occasions, receiving the Médaille de la Ville de Paris from the mayor of Paris in 2011 and being inducted into the Confrérie des Chevaliers du Tastevin. 

After writing his breakthrough novel, Bright Lights, Big Cityin 1984,Mr. McInerneywent on to write sevenother successful novels including Story of My Life (1987), Brightness Falls (1992), The Good Life (2006), and most recently,Bright,Precious Days (2016).  In addition to his novels, he has also found success in writing screenplays, once in 1988 for the film adaptation of his novel Bright Lights, Big City, and again in 1998 for the television film Gia starring Angelina Jolie. He was named a Literary Lion by the New York Public Library in 1987 and began writing as a wine columnist for Conde Nast’s Home and Gardenin1996 and the Wall Street Journal in 2010, a column which he moved to Town and Country in 2014.  

The Order of Arts and Letters (Ordre des Arts et des Lettres) is given out three times annually under the jurisdiction of the minister of Culture and Communication. American recipients of the award include Paul Auster, Ornette Coleman, Agnes Gund, Marilyn Horne, Jim Jarmusch, Richard Meier, Robert Paxton, Robert Redford, Meryl Streep, and Uma Thurman. 

The Cultural Services of the French Embassy promotes the best of French arts, literature, cinema, language, and higher education across the US. Based in New York City, Washington D.C and eight other cities across the country, the Cultural Services brings artists, authors, educational and university programs to cities nationwide. It also builds partnership between French and American artists, institutions, and universities on both sides of the Atlantic. In New York, through its bookshop, Albertine, it fosters French American exchange around literature and the arts.

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Media Contact: Camille Desprez, Cultural Services of the French Embassy, camille.desprez@diplomatie.gouv.fr, +1.212.439.1417