The Mayor of Lens Censures The Art Tribune

City Hall of Lens
Photo : Sofian/Wikimedia Commons

1/6/12 - Freedom of speech - Lens - We had already been boycotted by a Minister from the political right, Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres, who prevented us from participating in the press conferences at the French Ministry of Culture, and been censured by the president of a public television channel as requested by Henri Loyrette, president of the Louvre [1] (see here).

This time (a change resulting from the recent elections ?), an official from the political left, Guy Delcourt, deputy-mayor of Lens, has prohibited us from attending a debate in his city.
We had received an invitation for an event organized by a cultural association, with Harry Bellet, a journalist (and deputy editor-in-chief of Cultural news) from Le Monde, on the following subject : "Culture Patrimonial et Art Contemporain. Divorce à la Française". This debate was to take place at the Lens media center on 30 June. Alas. When Guy Delcourt found out that one of the guests was none other than a fervent opponent of the Louvre-Lens, his democratic blood boiled over. Although the debate has nothing to do with the project (which even if it did should not enter into the matter), this was not taken into consideration. When someone does not agree with Guy Delcourt, freedom of speech no longer applies.

However, we will not miss our appointment to attend the inauguration of the Louvre-Lens next December. Whether or not we are invited along with the rest of the press corps, the mayor can count on seeing us there. Let him try and stop us from entering !
In any case, we extend our sincere apologies to this association who had graciously invited us and now finds itself at the center of an unforeseen controversy. We also commend Harry Bellet who immediately informed us that, in these conditions, he himself was turning down the invitation to participate in the debate.

Version française

Didier Rykner, mercredi 6 juin 2012


[1] We would like to point out that since Christine Albanel left, and throughout Frédéric Mitterand’s entire term, we have not been boycotted again. To be fair, we would also like to add that the Louvre has changed its attitude over the last two years.

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