TABLE OF CONTENTS

PRINT September 1996

LETTER

Civic Art

JAN DIBBETS’ HOMMAGE À ARAGO (Homage to Arago, 1994) provides a striking corrective to the prevailing if outmoded assumption that public art is synonymous with statues, frescoes, fountains, and bad taste. One hundred thirty-five bronze medallions—identically stamped with the name Arago and the directional markers North and South—are embedded along the axis of Paris’ ten-kilometer meridian. Besides honoring the 19th-century French scientist and political reformer François Arago, the “longest sculpture in Paris,” as Dibbets calls it, offers those armed with the list of medallion locations a magnificent pretext for walking through six of the city’s arrondissements and centuries of its history.

Hommage à Arago is just one of over seventy works featured in two exhibitions on French public art recently held in Paris under the joint title of “Monument et modernité” (Monument and modernity): “État

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