I Am back at the United States Ambassador’s Residence to celebrate Independence Day at a garden party with three thousand of my “closest” friends: an array of international diplomats, business executives, embassy personnel, and high-ranking military. A ragtime jazz band from New Orleans is playing , the colors are presented and Denyce Graves magnificently sings first “La Marsellaise” and then the “Star Spangled Banner”. Ambassador Craig Stapleton, accompanied by his wife, Debbie, gives a splendid speech in French expressing the long amity between France and the United States, some history of his family’s alliance fighting side by side in 1918. Two enormous flags—French and American—flank the north and south facades of the stately building but the focus for me, of course, is Arman’s recently installed “Small Liberties Born of Larger Ones”. I am overjoyed to see groups of people viewing and taking pictures of Arman’s accumulation of the statues of Liberty . Among the guests is Mrs. Chirac’s sister-in-law who is most happy to relay to me that this year’s national baccalaureate was based on Arman’s oeuvre. More particularly, her daughter wrote her term paper on Arman’s sculpture, “Long Term Parking” and she received a high score! She also tell me that Arman now has sculpture at the Elysee Palace and the Residence of the U.S. Embassy. “The next place should be definitely the White house!” Hmmmmm…….
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