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cubaaab1-smallThis afternoon on French public radio, a high school student said that if she could vote in next May’s presidential election, she’d choose the Front National, because at least Martine Le Pen’s party would close the borders and keep the foreigners out so they’d stop attacking France. (Never mind, as a classmate pointed out, that the majority of those who have massacred more than 236 French and other nationals over the past two years here have been French.) All the more reason to give thanks for associations that continue to champion crossing borders and frontiers like the Ateliers d’Artistes de Belleville and L’Un dans l’Autre, the former of which is hosting an exhibition of the fruits of the latter’s May residence and collaboration with the Cuban artists of the Espacio Altamira in Havana. The exhibition runs December 8 – 11 in the AAB’s gallery at 1 rue Picabia in Belleville, Paris, with an opening night vernissage from 7 p.m. on. Featured artists include: Guillaume Berga, Luis Blanco, Sigolène de Chassy, Jorge Braulio Rodríguez, Jean-Christophe Cibot, Edel Bordon, Sarah Dugrip, Pablo Victor Bordon Pardo, Nicolas Dupeyron, Ignacio Carballo, Laurence Geoffroy, Michel Deschapells, Patrizia Horvath, Inès Garrido, Hector D. Palacios, Raul Villullas, Yamilé Pardo, Aissa Santiso, and Catherine Olivier, an Arts Voyager featured artist who took the bottom copyrighted photo of the collective work “Trinidad.”  The top photo of the collective work “La Rampa” was taken by and is copyright Sarah Dugrip. — Paul Ben-Itzak

 

A la MEP, l’Amerique vu par Andres Serrano /At the Maison Européenne de la Photographie, America by Serrano

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Andres Serrano, “Blood on the Flag” (9/11), 2001-2004.  © Andres Serrano and courtesy Galerie Nathalie Obadia Paris/ Bruxelles.

By Paul Ben-Itzak
Text copyright 2016 Paul Ben-Itzak

In a jaundiced media climate in which too many journalists seem more interested in confirming stereotypes than confronting them, what artists can provide is a perspective guided not by fixed political, racial, national, or societal constructs but by their own inherent acute aesthetic antennae and geographic sensibility. Such is the frank portrait etched of the United States — not incidentally providing a much-needed antidote to the tired stereotypes the American presidential election has enabled much of the French media to regurgitate (we’re just a bunch of Puritan sexists, 60 million of us are in prison, ad nauseum) — by the photographs of Andres Serrano in a major exhibition opening November 9 at the City of Paris’s Maison Européenne de la Photographie, where it continues through January 29.

To access the rest of the article, including more images — among them by pioneering 19th century photographer Gustave Le Gray — subscribers please e-mail paulbenitzak@gmail.com . Not a subscriber? 1-year subscriptions are just $49 or Euros, or $25 or Euros for students and unemployed artists. Just designate your PayPal payment in that amount to paulbenitzak@gmail.com , or write us at that address for information on how to pay by check or in British pounds.

 

EXTRAIT DU JOUR: VICTOR HUGO SUR LES FRONTIERES, L’EUROPE, La GUERRE & LA PAIX

(Extrait de “Pendant l’Exil,” 1852 – 1870, de Victor Hugo, de le series “Actes et Parole,” editeur Nelson, Paris, London, Edinbourg et New York.) (If you are not already a subscriber, you can purchase my American English translation of this article by making a $2 payment through PayPal, designating your payment to paulbenitzak@gmail.com, then e-mailing me at that address.)

Bruxelles, le 4 septembre, 1869
Congrés de la Paix, Lausanne

“Concitoyens des Etats-Unis d’Europe,

“Permettez-moi de vous donner ce nom, car la république européene fédérale est fondée en droit, en attendant qu’elle soit fondée en fait. Vous existez, donc elle existe. Vous la constatez par votre union qui ébauche l’unité. Vous etes le commencement du grand avenir.

“Vous me conférez la présidence honoraire de votre congrès. J’en suis profondément touché.

“… La civilisation tend invinciblement à l’unité de monnaie, et à la fusion des nations dans l’humanité, qui est l’unité supreme. La concorde a un synonyme, simplifcation ; de meme que la richesse et la vie ont un synonyme, circulation. La première des servitudes, c’est la frontiére.

“Qui dit frontière, dit ligature. Coupez la ligature, effacez la frontière, otez le douanier, otez le soldat, en d’autres termes, soyez libres; la paix suit.

“Paix désormais profonde. Paix faite une fois pour toutes. Paix inviolable. Etat normal du travail, de l’échange, de l’offre et de la demande, de la production et de la consommation, du vaste effort en commun, de l’attraction des industries, du va-et-vient des idées, du flux et reflux humain.

“Qui a intérèt aux frontières? Les rois. Diviser pour régner. Une frontière implique une guérite, une guérite implique un soldat. On ne passe pas, mot de tous les priviléges, de toutes les prohibitions, de toutes les censures, de toutes les tyrannies. De cette frontiére, de cette guérite, de ce soldat, sort tout la calamité humaine.”

— Victor Hugo