Musician/performance artist Laurie Anderson & celebrated novelist Jay McInerney were awarded the insignia of Officer of the Order of Arts & Letters by Bénédicte de Montlaur, Cultural Counselor of the French Embassy recently during a short, but celebratory ceremony, in New York. Both Anderson & McInerney received this distinction in recognition of their contributions to the fields of art & literature.
The Order of Arts & Letters (Ordre des Arts et des Lettres) was established in 1957 to recognize eminent artists & writers, as well as people who have contributed significantly to furthering the arts in France & throughout the world.
Laurie Anderson, born in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, has spent over four decades active in the art world. A visual artist, composer, vocalist, writer, & director, she received a Masters in Fine Arts degree in sculpture from Columbia University in 1972.
Ms. Anderson has greatly contributed to the international art scene, as her visual art has been exhibited in major museums worldwide & her music has gained recognition across the world, especially after her 1981 hit single “O Superman” reached the number 2 spot on the UK Singles Charts. Additionally, she has composed numerous scores for ballets, collaborated with other vocalists, & even created a film, Heart of a Dog, which debuted in 2015. This is but a short list of Ms. Anderson’s seemingly countless list of cultural accomplishments.
Born in Hartford, Connecticut, world-renowned author Mr. McInerney started writing short stories & poetry during his childhood 7 received a Master of Arts degree at Syracuse University in English in 1986. His deep rooted connection to France & French culture was cemented through his work authoring three books on wine, as well as his work as an acclaimed wine columnist. His affinity for French wines is known the world over.
His literary breakthrough came in 1984 with the release of, Bright Lights, Big City, which was adapted by Mr. McInerney as a screenplay & later adapted for film in 1988. His position in the global stream of Pop Culture was assured with the box office success of this project. He went on to write seven other successful novels including Story of My Life (1987), Brightness Falls (1992), The Good Life(2006), and most recently, Bright, Precious Days (2016). He also penned the 1998 for the screenplay for the television film Gia starring Angelina Jolie. McInerney was named a Literary Lion by the New York Public Library in 1987 & began writing as a wine columnist for Conde Nast’s Home and Garden in 1996 & the Wall Street Journal in 2010, a column which he moved to Town & Country in 2014.
The Order of Arts and Letters (Ordre des Arts et des Lettres) is given out three times annually under the jurisdiction of the minister of Culture & Communication. American recipients of the award include Paul Auster, Ornette Coleman, Agnes Gund, Marilyn Horne, Jim Jarmusch, Richard Meier, Robert Paxton, Robert Redford, Meryl Streep, & Uma Thurman.
The Cultural Services of the French Embassy promotes the best of French arts, literature, cinema, language, & higher education across the US. Based in New York City, Washington D.C & eight other cities across the country, the Cultural Services brings artists, authors, educational & university programs to cities nationwide. It also builds partnership between French & American artists, institutions, & universities on both sides of the Atlantic. In New York, through its bookshop, Albertine, it fosters French American exchange around literature & the arts.
Media Contact: Camille Desprez, Cultural Services of the French Embassy, 1.212.439.1417
Pictured below (l to r): Laurie Anderson, Jay McInerney, & Bénédicte de Montlaur