France: Crusader for the Arts

Flamboyant Minister Jack Lang draws mixed reviews

There was nothing modest about the idea, and when the 350 cultural superstars finally left Paris last week after a glittering two-day conference on Creation and Development, it was clear that there had been nothing modest about their deliberations. Lodged in luxury hotels at the expense of François Mitterrand's Socialist government, the high-powered conventioneers gathered in the Sorbonne's venerable amphitheater to ponder their curious subject: cultural solutions to the world's economic crisis.

Under frescoed portraits of Diderot and Voltaire, luminaries ranging from Nobel Laureate Gabriel Garcia Márquez to Novelists Norman Mailer and William Styron and...

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