Paris Comes to L.A. for the Launch of Franco-American Arts Initiative “Ceci N’est Pas…”

The Parisian contemporary art world descended upon Beverly Hills last night for a cocktail party hosted at the Residence of France to celebrate the launch of “Ceci n’est pas… Art Between France and Los Angeles. The contemporary arts initiative engages its L.A. audience with a five months-long series of Franco-American collaborations gathering over 30 cultural institutions and featuring over 100 French and American artists.

This ambitious project is the result of a partnership between the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States and the Institut Français, with the support of the Alliance Française of Los Angeles and the French Ministry of Culture and Communication.

The Gallic extravaganza opens to the public on December 1 with “Lost (in LA)” at the Barnsdall Art Park. The group exhibition, which investigates the theme of being lost inside this massive metropolis, is presented by the France Los Angeles Exchange (FLAX) and curated by Marc Oliver Wahler, previously the director of the Palais de Tokyo. Historical pieces by André Breton, René Magritte, and Man Ray will be displayed alongside work by French and American contemporary artists such as Michel Blazy, Mike Kelley, Vincent Lamouroux, and Marnie Weber.

The reception last night was an elegant but relaxed affair. Artists such as Lamouroux — who enjoyed a glass of champagne and a break from installing his work at Barnsdall Art Park — and Bettina Attala mingled with French cultural attaché Adéläide Barbier, Marc Olivier Wahler, and Jean-Christophe Harel of Paris Photo Los Angeles. L.A. art notables in attendance included Mary Leigh Cherry of Cherry & Martin, MOCA trustee Blake Byrne, and LACMA curator Leslie Jones — the museum just came on board as a partner.

— Yasmine Mohseni, ARTINFO Los Angeles

(Photos by Melissa Manning/thelookpartnership.com; Artwork: Philippe Mayaux, “Night City,” 2011-12, courtesy Galerie Loevenbruck.)