Monday, July 21, 2008

Paris: The New Cultural Backwater?

Catherine Field, of the ‘New Zealand Herald’, writes a fascinating article about how Paris is quickly becoming the newest creative backwater. One hundred years ago, Paris was the center of all that was culture: Picasso, Rodin, Matisse, Proust, Debussy, Ravel, Monet, Berson, Bernhardt, Diaghilev, Cocteau, Pound, Braque, Wharton and James. But now...

Today, to France's worry, Paris is no longer the place to be. To the rest of the world, the city - for all its beauty - has become a backwater in many cultural areas. Its temples to the arts - the Pompidou Centre, the Louvre, the Musee d'Orsay, the Opera, the Comedie Francaise and so on - are indeed filled. But the worshippers these days are consumers, not creators. They are mainly foreign tourists who come to see the eternal Mona Lisa, post-modern American artists, the French Impressionists and Moliere. The city chemistry that produced rawness, dynamism, change and challenge seems absent.”

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