On my way out of the French embassy in DC a few weeks ago (I took part in an annual embassy tour), I picked up “France magazine No. 90″ from a gorgeous ($$$) breakfront in the marbled lobby. Just one of many marketing tools in Washington, one would think that a magazine such as this would focus on a country’s economic entrees. But no this one. The French embassy’s magazine focuses on “the best of culture, travel, and art de vivre.”
But now that I think about this, how better to push your economy by playing the hand that you are dealt… and France has been blessed with great art and great beauty over the centuries (rather than technical or commercial innovation). This is, after all, how everyone views France, so I agree, French embassy, show it off to the nth degree!
The magazine’s feature articles include:
- Arles Goes Gehry
- The Art of Christian Boltanski
- Artisanal Beer
Fabulous. The graphics-infused magazine is a tromp through high-end stores in Paris, all aflurry with radical new designs in furniture. And exposes on small towns in France feature, guess what? The art. This tiny town has X-number of theaters, X-number of galleries, X-number of artists-in-residence. And the article on artisanal beers — who would think art would come into play with beer? — is complete with an Art Nouveau poster of a drinking hall by Alphonse Mucha, created in 1897. The article on the tiny town of Arles makes the case that it could become the next Bilbao as Frank Gehry is “sketching its future.”
French embassy, I’m sold! I’m on the first plane to Arles. Or pretty much to ANY tiny town in France, for that matter, as I would surely be surrounded by art.