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LETTER FROM PARIS

Pascaline Cuvelier

LET’S TALK MONEY—that’s always the stickiest subject. In France, after 15 years of smooth sailing, the art world greeted the new year with a distinct sense of foreboding. The problem isn’t the artists, but the State, which has recently emerged as “an enemy of contemporary culture.” By now everyone knows that the much-touted one percent of the national budget allocated each year to “the arts” has been withdrawn. Only theater, which is perhaps better at defending itself because, by nature, it doesn’t operate on the “every-man-for-himself” principle typical of players in the visual arts, will suffer fewer cuts. This situation is very threatening: a number of art centers will no doubt have to close their doors—not only the least viable, but also those that have successfully presented challenging or difficult work. To meet a budget cut by some $2.5 million, the state plans to decrease or even

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