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France’s Minister of Culture Warns that Marine Le Pen’s Far-Right Party Will Trample on Artists’ Rights

According to La Voix du Nord, France’s Minister of Culture, Fleur Pellerin, has raised concerns about what is at stake for artists, writers, and freedom of expression as the powerful, and conservative, National Front political party rises.

Criticizing Marine Le Pen (the National Front’s presidential candidate), Pellerin said, “She says will defend the creative freedoms, but at the same time she wants to control regional cultural institutions and their choices. This is called official art. When [Le Pen] says, ‘do not be afraid of losing creative freedom,’ we should be afraid.”

Referencing a law passed by the French government earlier this year protecting artistic freedom, Pellerin said, “I defend the freedom of artists. I’m not the minister of good taste or my own taste. I am the minister of culture and, in this capacity, I support all forms of expression, in compliance with the law. [The National Front] wants to decide what is beautiful and what is not, what people have the right to read in the media. It is a complete grip on people’s brains.”

Pellerin isn’t the only one issuing dire warnings about Le Pen’s party. Last week, over 650 artists—including Christian Boltanski, Annette Messager, and Céleste Boursier-Mougenot—signed a letter denouncing Le Pen’s politics, as reported here. They wrote, “We work and create in France as well as elsewhere, the liberty of creation is first of all an openness towards others—those who are not me, but who are equal to me, no matter what the color of their skin, their nationality, or their religion.”