France will inaugurate the Villa Albertine in the fall, an artistic creation residency in the United States which is the counterpart of the prestigious Villa Medici in Rome, the Quai d’Orsay announced on Friday. Objective: to put young French artists in touch with American culture.
An American version of the Villa Medici, with residencies of artists outside the walls in ten major cities of the United States. Welcome to Villa Albertine, the future showcase of French culture at Uncle Sam’s, which will be inaugurated in the fall of 2021.
Unlike the Villa Medici, a prestigious palace in the 16e century in Rome, the Villa Albertine project aims above all to immerse French artists in the contemporary turmoil of American society.
“If there is one country which occupies the place that Italy occupied in the 17th century, it is the United States”, explains Gaëtan Bruel, the director of the Villa Albertine (his name refers to one of Proust’s “young girls in bloom”).
“The Villa Albertine is first and foremost the bet to bring the new transatlantic momentum to the field of culture and ideas” after the “misunderstandings” of the Trump era, declared French Foreign Minister Jean -Yves Le Drian, by unveiling the project, Friday July 2, at the Quai d’Orsay.
It will allow French creators “to explore American realities” but also to “influence the way in which our culture is perceived in the United States”, he explained, stressing how “cultural influence has become. a power lever “.
France will now have four artistic residencies in Rome, Madrid (Casa Velázquez, inaugurated in 1928), Kyoto (Villa Kujoyama, 1992) and the Villa Albertine in ten American cities simultaneously.
Ten places symbolizing American diversity and drawing on French cultural networks in the United States: New York, Washington, Boston, Miami, Atlanta, New Orleans, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
“We are part of the tradition of the Villa Medici, but in a deeply renewed pattern,” noted the French Ambassador to the United States, Philippe Etienne. “Residents will be more immersed in the places that welcome them,” he told AFP.
In Los Angeles, residents will be greeted by Hollywood producers and major art collectors. In New York, they will choose the neighborhood and the type of place (workshop, exhibition space, etc.) in which they wish to immerse themselves.
The writer Constance Debré, who will carry out an investigation into the American counter-culture, will thus reside in a New York apartment. Photographer Nicolas Floc’h, who focuses on the representation of water, will explore the Mississippi and its changing colors aboard a boat.
“A huge gift”
Quentin Zuttion, comic book author, has chosen a roaming by train from New York to Los Angeles to paint a portrait of the new American youth.
“It’s a huge gift, blessed bread,” said the designer, who will make his “road trip” in April-May 2022 around the figure of the “Prom Queen”, the prom queen, elected by his student peers at the end of their university cycle.
Three other artists, visual artist Josefa Njtam, double bass player Sélène Saint-Aimé and Franco-Senegalese director Alain Gomia, will sign this inaugural season of the Villa Albertine.
Sélène Saint-Aimé explained that she wanted to do “research, composition and creation” work in New Orleans to “strengthen the links” between jazz and Caribbean music, where she is from.
They will be 60 term residents, for stays of one to three months and at an average cost of 20,000 euros, i.e. a budget of 1.2 million per year, co-financed by private sponsorship, including the Bettencourt-Schueller Foundation. .
The Villa Albertine will also offer around fifteen support programs for museum curators, screenwriters, video game writing or the promotion of French digital creation in the United States.