Published  01/06/2006

And in France …

The exhibition 'La Force de l'Art' is intended to demonstrate the continuing wealth of French artistic talent through 200 works by contemporary artists born or resident in France. It is the special project of the French Prime Minister, Dominique de Villepin, and is showing at the Grand Palais in Paris until 25 June. Actually, one might compare the 'Expo Villepin' with an exhibition that could have been mounted by, say, the British Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott, as a not-very-well-concealed effort to recover a damaged reputation. The £34 million state-backed show is intended to reposition French contemporary art back in the limelight, and to restore its languishing reputation. In Paris, this has been a field day for selected French curators and critics. But maybe it' s too little, too late. John Prescott would be best advised to stick with international croquet as a theme, and brownfield housing schemes in the plough.

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