Mad About Paris, Much more than a guide
Former French president Jacques Chirac is fond of ancient Asian and African art. People say he is even a real expert when it comes to Chinese porcelain vases. But would you think he’s a friend of contemporary art?
Probably not. But he is. Today, Monsieur Chirac showed up at the press opening of the Jean-Michel Basquiat exhibition at the Musée d’art Moderne de la Ville de Paris.
Chirac took all his time to visit the exhibition displaying more than 150 works of the American artist. I’m pretty sure that he wasn’t doing a show and that he really is interested in Basquiat’s work that is full of allusions and quotations of other cultures.
When I saw Chirac today, tall, charming and apparently in perfect shape, I got a bit nostalgic: Of course he wasn’t the president the French were very proud of. He was playing more the likeable symphatic rascal trying to exploit the legal borders as far as possible. Sometimes too far. And that’s why he’s the first former president who has to stand trail on corruption charges. His opportunism and his policy U-turns had earned him the nickname “the Weathervane” but still: Chirac was always wearing the huge jacket and he was filling it out. People didn’t felt ashamed when it came to foreign affaires. On the contrary. Chirac was totally in balance with French society, when he refused to engage France in the Iraq war.
Chirac will soon turn 78 and he likes Basquiat and his ernergetic painting of a broken soul. He’s not pretending as Sarkozy often does. There is a short film circulating these days on the Internet showing Sarkozy discussing cinema with young people. After the private tuititon by his wife, he now pretends knowing cinema. He mentions Eisenstein, Bergman, Pasolini. But doesn’t say anything. He’s hopping from one to the other, he’s just dropping names.