Friday, 18 June
We have been asked to all go to the Museum at midday for a press conference and lunch, and to “make ourselves available” to the press after lunch. The press seem mainly interested in interviewing the curators and director of the museum, and understandably show no interest in talking to anglophones such as myself. The afternoon evolves into an impromptu portfolio viewing session between exhibitors while we wait for the dinner and grand opening event in the evening. Everyone has a book or a box of prints to show, which helps give some context to what can be seen in the show, which only has room for between 1 and 4 pieces from each person. Another opportunity for me to get signatures too.
As it gets dark a programme of films and slide presentations is projected on a giant screen that has been erected on the lawn, with Kathy Ryan, picture editor of the New York Times Magazine presenting highlights from her editorship, then live jazz improvisation to accompany slides of work from the Museum’s collection.
At around 10.30 the new Musée director, Sam Stourdzee announces the 12 nominees for the new prize that he has instigated with the Lacoste company – the Lacoste/Elysee prize, and I am one of the 12. It is to be an annual prize with the 12 nominees this year being chosen from the reGeneration2 group. Each nominee receives 3000 swiss francs (chf) and must produce 3 new works, which will then be exhibited at ParisPhoto and an independent jury selects a winner who will receive 20000chf.
After the announcement and shaking hands with Monsieur Lacoste the nominees are gathered together for a team photo.
As the evening fades out, we are encouraged to continue the celebrations at a local nightclub, where a room has been reserved for us by, as it turns out, the head of the local art school, ECAL. This seems a little foolhardy on his part, as the late night contributes to a shambolic start to the day of seminars scheduled at ECAL the next day.