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NAME GAME: Seafood stew served in a casserole with squid-ink pasta is hardly as American as apple pie. Yet a French chef anointed the dish “American lobster,” the first course of a sumptuous meal orchestrated by Alain Ducasse at a gala in Paris Tuesday night for the French-American Foundation France.
Alber Elbaz, Lancôme’s Youcef Nabi and Yves Saint Laurent honcho Paul Deneve were among fashion folk who came out for guest of honor Jeff Koons. Headhunter Floriane de Saint Pierre presented the American artist with the foundation’s inaugural Global Achievement Award, lauding his appreciation for French artists including Gustave Courbet.
Koons won mostly plaudits in 2008 when he installed his cartoonish sculptures at the Château de Versailles, and will be the subject of a retrospective exhibition at the Pompidou Center in 2014.
The artist was swarmed by well wishers at the entrance, but he offered his left hand to shake as his right one was sheathed in a black cast. “It broke in three places. The horse took off for the barn,” explained Koons, noting he recently collaborated with French tableware firm Bernardaud.
Later, Koons related that Édouard Manet’s “Olympia” sparked his interest in becoming an artist when he learned about the work at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore. “Suddenly I realized the vastness of this discipline. The whole world opened up and it was through Manet,” he marveled.