The Cultural Services Of The French Embassy To Present A Sprawling Visual Arts Festival

The Cultural Services Of The French Embassy To Present A Sprawling Visual Arts Festival

Month-long festival will explore themes paramount to the international art world through exhibitions, performances, talks, workshops, conferences and publications

An International Platform on Contemporary ArtApril 1 – 28, 2014

ART² is presented in collaboration with the Institut français, the French Ministry of Culture and Communication and FACE (French American Cultural Exchange)

NEW YORK, February 5, 2014 — The Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States presents ART², a month-long visual arts festival exploring ideas and themes paramount to the international art world, which will be presented with more than 40 partner museums, galleries, universities, and non-profit spaces in New York during April 2014. The culmination of 18 months of cross-cultural research, ART² will consider seven main issues prevalent in today’s patently global art world through exhibitions, public lectures, workshops and conferences by French and American art experts, with the goal of encouraging intellectual discourse between institutions, artists, scholars, students and the public. The conversations and workshops aim to generate constructive debate and explore the differences among French and American culture. More than an event-driven project, ART² was conceived as a platform for generating “intellectual friction” between artists, arts professionals and those interested in contemporary art.

Antonin Baudry, Cultural Counselor of the French Embassy, explains, “We are delighted to organize this ambitious festival in New York City addressing fundamental issues of our time through the lens of the visual arts.” Baudry continues, “Though the starting point was France and the US—two countries that share many common interests—the themes and issues explored are fundamental questions facing the international art world.  While the value of art is often described in monetary values, we believe that its greatest value lies in its intrinsic capacity to inform our understanding of the world, and as such, we hope that this festival will generate international discourse using art as a point of departure for political, economic, and cultural issues.”

During April 2014, ART² will include more than 30 events (exhibitions, performances, talks, workshops, conferences) that will take place at 27 partner venues. On the occasion of this festival, 4 publications published by Les presses du réel – New York Series. ART² and its various components are organized around seven areas of investigation, curated by renowned art experts:


A History of Exhibitions by Artists. Curated by Florence Ostende (University of Art and Design Geneva)

The Exhibition Machine looks at artists who are using the exhibition as both a medium and source material to create various occupations of space, temporality, and organizing principles, in order to challenge the spectacularization of experience and conventions of the event. Considering the pioneering role artists have played in exhibition history, a series of exhibitions, symposiums and events will investigate four typologies (emergence, setting, material and archive) operating within the fields of history, philosophy, science and politics. This multifaceted project aims to focus on specific typologies that articulate the theoretical framework and structural mechanisms of exhibitions as potential artworks. The Exhibition Machine is curated in collaboration with Katherine Carl, Jenny Jaskey, Walter Benjamin, Johanna Burton and Alicia Ritson. Participants include Pierre Huyghe, Franz Erhard Walther, Tristan Garcia, Géraldine Courbe, Ilya and Emilie Kabakov, Vincent Normand, Nathalie Hope O’Donnell, Arseniy Zhilhyaev, The Museum of Jurassic Technology and The Museum of American Art.


Curated by Fionn Meade (curator and writer)

In 2014, it can be argued that reputational capital and visualized networks of consumable artistic identities precede, distort, and often surpass the reception of artworks and artists themselves, conditioning value in new ways and realizing new speculative assets.

By putting forward a series of provocations and re-castings of the space between materialism, idealism, and ways of working that are identifiable but not easily consumable, curator Fionn Meade has invited Paris-based castillo/corrales, a co-operatively run non-profit contemporary art venue, to organize a series of programs and events reflecting on The Issues of Our Time at Artists Space Books & Talks.

The platform also includes a separate exhibition, Bibliothèque tournante, exploring the life and work of Janette Laverrière (1909-2011), including her role in crucial shifts in design aesthetics and the politics of value within architecture and interior design. Laverrière’s exhibition will be complemented by a panel discussion. Organized in collaboration Silberkuppe and artist Nairy Baghramian.

The research focus area “Art & Value” concludes with a new performance From the Sky by London-based artist Laure Prouvost at Danspace Project.


 With Glenn Lowry (MoMA), Richard Armstrong (Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum), Adam Weinberg and his curatorial team (Whitney Museum of American Art), Thomas P. Campbell (Metropolitan Museum of Art), Michael Govan (LACMA), Martin Bethenod (Punta della Dogana–Palazzo Grassi–Fondation Pinault), Alain Seban (Centre Pompidou), Jean-Luc Martinez (Musée du Louvre), Xavier Douroux and Frank Gautherot (Le Consortium)Peter Reed (MoMA), Yasmil Raymond (Die Art Foundation), Sophie Claudel (Cultural Services of the French Embassy), Andras Szanto (writer, researcher and advisor) and The Judd Foundation.

This platform was conceived as a French-American exchange of perspectives centered on issues and themes that drive museums and private foundations alike. These places are guarantors of an encyclopedic knowledge essential for enriching our vision of the world, but what tactics do these cultural institutions use for transmitting knowledge to the public and building “le bien commun” essential for our society? Several topics of reflection will be studied over the course of these two days of discussion: exhibiting collections, presenting new perspectives on art history, offering an artistic yet pedagogic program, producing new works and supporting the creation of contemporary art, and opening international axis museums in an effort to globalize a museum’s presence.


“Protocol of Participation” curated by Alexander Nagel and Thomas Crow (New York University – Institute of Fine Art) – “Civic Society and New Patronage” curated by Tom Eccles (CCS Bard College) and Fionn Meade (Bard College and Columbia University)

The Nouveaux Commanditaires (in English, New Protocol) program is a socially engaged initiative created by the artist François Hers and supported by Fondation de France. It allows citizens plagued with societal unrest or the difficult conditions of a developing nation to pair with a contemporary artist who transforms their concern into a work of art. This singular program arranges collaborations between three key players: the artist, the civil society, and the cultural mediator, with the involvement of public and private partners. Doing so, this action attracts internationally acclaimed artists with a variety of differentart practices.Using the New Protocol as a model, Art & Society anaylizes similaire initiatives in the United States. Workshops will introduce the role of mediator within the New Protocol context and consider its significance to the larger curatorial and commissioning field.


Curated by Virginie Bobin(Independent Curator & Writer)

Within today’s “crisis of education”, driven by privatization, many artists, curators and art institutions attempt to reinvent the relations between art and research outside of the academic world, and to experiment, often in a collaborative manner, alternative models of knowledge production and exchange. Composing Differences brings together artists, curators, researchers and other arts professionals from France and the United States who establish new art platforms and experiment with art as an agent of social change. It also explores tactics of knowledge production that promote the circulation of knowledge and defend its essential value. A program conceived by Glass Bead (Fabien Giraud, Jeremy Lecomte, Vincent Normand, Ida Soulard, Inigo Wilkins), PAF, Council (Grégory Castera, Sandra Terdjman) and Open School East, with the participation of Annie Dorsen, Tristan Garcia, Guillaume Fayard, Jonathan Hoskins, Matthew de Kersaint Giraudeau, Jeffrey Mansfield, Guerino Mazzola, Reza Negarestani, Sarah Resnick and Noé Soulier.

Composing Differences is conceived in close collaboration with MoMA PS1 (Conference room, The VW room and The Print Shop) and The Museum of Modern Art (Recording Studios).


Curated by Tim Griffin. With the participation of Emily Apter, Patricia Falguières, Tristan Garcia, John Kelsey and Patricia Maniglier.(The Kitchen, New York)

During the past decade and a half, New York has seemed a unique laboratory for paradigmatic shifts in society, providing a locus for crises in financial and economic structure, political organization, and climatic patterns. And yet the circumstances unfolding in all these spheres have prompted a sense of insecurity that pervades not only the old centers of the occidental world but also territories beyond. In an effort to reframe (and de-privilege) humanity’s place in this radically altered world environment, a number of increasingly prominent voices in contemporary thought have sought to instigate a break with historical modes of intellectual engagement stemming from continental philosophy in order to find alternative models that might depart from referential practices, poststructuralism, and even sociological theory. At the same time, such an impulse is shared by an emerging generation of practitioners in art.

In two roundtables featuring French and American thinkers and artists, followed by a published volume, The New Existentialism will evoke recent philosophical proposals and link them with some related artistic practices. More specifically, emerging philosophical tendencies around the notion of objectivity, and of Speculative Realism, will be put in tension with similarly developing philosophical approaches that encourage subtle re-readings of structuralism, a new reception of Guattari’s legacy in the field of anthropology, and a political appropriation of the notion of anthropocene. An aspiration here is to underscore certain misunderstandings that oppose these different models and, in turn, to articulate and understand their disputes more clearly.


Curated by Arnaud Laporte and Sandrine Treiner (France Culture)

France Culture accepted an invitation from the Cultural Services of the French Embassy to participate in one of seven areas of investigation developed by the ART² initiative on art criticism. As part of ART², France Culture will present a week of special shows dedicated to New York’s current cultural events and orchestrated by Arnaud Laporte and several American critics. This in depth look at American cultural events will allow the French audiences to explore how cultural events are discussed in America, and ultimately, it will reveal the differences between French and American cultural critique itself.Five broadcasts will be recorded on visual arts, literature, music and cinema. The last recording will be dedicated to a comparison between a French radio art critic and an American radio art critic and will be open to the public. These programs will be broadcast on the week of April 28 on France Culture and as a podcast on


The satellite events of ART² further explore many of the issues within the main program. Although they are not directly tied to the program’s research themes, these events each demonstrate the strong connections between cultural production in France, Europe and the rest of the globe.


On the occasion of ART², 4 catalogues will be published by Les presses du réel – New York Series:– Composing Differences (Fall 2014)– The Skin of the Bear (Fall 2014)– The Exhibition Machine (Winter 2014)– The New Existentialism (Winter 2014)

For additional details and most up-dated program go to


MUSEUMS, FOUNDATIONS & ART INSTITUTIONS: MoMA, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Whitney Museum of American Art, Centre Pompidou, Musée du Louvre, Fondation de France, MoMA PS1, New Museum, LACMA, Punta della Dogana–Palazzo Grassi–Fondation Pinault, Judd Foundation

UNIVERSITIES: CUNY Graduate Center, CCS Bard Center for Curatorial Studies, Columbia University School of the Arts/Columbia Maison Française, New York University-Institute of Fine Arts

ART CENTERS & NON-PROFIT SPACES: The Artist’s Institute, The Kitchen, The Drawing Center, Danspace Project/Saint Marks Church, Artists Space, Le Consortium, castillo/corrales, Silberkuppe, The James Gallery, Open School East, The Council, Glass Bead, Performing Arts Forum, Forever & Today, Inc, The Museum of Jurassic Technology, The Museum of American Art

COMMERCIAL GALLERIES & PRIVATE ORGANIZATIONS: 303 Gallery, Josée Bienvenu Gallery with Hervé Bize Gallery, Andrew Kreps Gallery, TWAAS (Thea Westreich Art Advisory), Dominique Levy Gallery with Emmanuel Perrotin Gallery

PUBLISHERS, MEDIA & PRODUCTION COMPANIES : Les presses du réel, La Dispute/France Culture


ART2 is generously supported by Air France, the Florence Gould Foundation, Fondation de France, Pommery and Van Cleef & Arpels.


THE CULTURAL SERVICES OF THE FRENCH EMBASSY provides a platform for exchange and innovation between French and American artists, intellectuals, educators, students, the tech community, and the general public. Based in New York City, Washington D.C., and eight other cities across the US, the Cultural Services develops the cultural economy by focusing on six principal fields of action: the arts, literature, cinema, the digital sphere, French language and higher education.

INSTITUT FRANÇAIS is in charge of implementing France’s cultural action abroad. Under the supervision of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, its role is to act as the conduit for a new, more ambitious “diplomacy of influence”, within the framework of French governmental policies and priorities. It will help to promote French influence abroad through greater dialogue with foreign cultures, while responding to the needs of France via a policy of listening, partnership and openness to other cultures.

FRENCH MINISTRY OF CULTURE AND COMMUNICATION aims to make the major works of humanity – and especially those of France – accessible to the largest number of people possible. As such, it maintains a policy of protection and of development of all components of French cultural heritage. It supports the creation of works of art, the development of the artistic and cultural education of children and young adults, and the establishment of local and global cultural initiatives. The ministry focuses on bolstering culture-related governmental policy and it contributes to the evolution of new technologies for sharing cultural creation and heritage. It implements, in conjunction with other related ministries, the actions of the State destined to ensure the influence throughout the world of French culture and artistic creation. It contributes to cultural initiatives outside of France and to initiatives relating to the establishment of French cultural initiatives throughout the world.

FACE (French American Cultural Exchange) is an American nonprofit organization, chartered by the state of New York and dedicated to nurturing French-American relations through innovative international projects in the arts, education, and cultural exchange. In partnership with the Cultural Services of the French Embassy, FACE administers grant programs and projects in the performing and visual arts, cinema, publication and translation, secondary and higher education.


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