An Unofficial History of the Lacoste School of the Arts

[mag711card2]Bernard’s story is broader and longer than many of us students might have suspected. According to rumors, Bernard was in Mexico City with Diego Rivera and Orzoco in 1940, where the 26 y.o. Pfreim reportedly dropped the dime on Leon Trotsky when Stalin’s goons followed him to the DF.

No one can guess Bernard’s motives there, but by 1961, he was a WWII Vet living in Paris on a grant from the Copley Foundation. In Paris, Bernard was in a circle of expats that included Constantin Brâncuși and the Annabel’s (UK) heiress, Maxine Birley aka Maxime De La Falaise model and muse to Cecil Beaton, Elsa Schiaparelli and Andy Warhol.

Maxine had started out as a “Computer” at Bletchley Park during WWII but was let go due to her apparent kleptomania. By the time that the War had ended, she had participated in the French Resistance and was married to Count Alain Le Bailly de La Falaise. Before moving to Southern France with Bernard in 1961, Maxime had given the Count two children, Loulou and Alexis.

Image result for Maxime dela falaise

Maxime De La Falaise

It was Bernard’s interest in the Surrealists that drew him to Lacoste. It was well known –Paris, at least – that their patron saint, the Marquis De Sade hailed from Provence and Lacoste in particular – a tiny, rural village at the foot of the Luberon Mountains. To Bernard and Maxime, their first visit must have felt like a pilgrimage.
By the early 60s, Lacoste was a ruin. A village once prosperous for its silk production was then a ghost-town due to the Catipillar Plagues of the late 1870’s. Thereafter, the Chinese and Japanese silk manufacturers took over and beat the French and Italian sericulturers at the game. By 1962, Lacoste was a failed village and most of its natives had left for better prospects in Marseilles, Lyons and Paris.

Before the village had either plumbing or electricity, Bernard had traded two American-style refrigerators for the Boulangerie building at the center of town and a clutch of roofless buildings across the narrow street.

Already an acolyte of Cecil Beaton, Maxime’s initial idea had been to create an Artist colony for her entourage of Parisian Socialites and Artists. But the dream did not last.

Maxime and Bernard fell apart. Whether this was because of her dalliances or the fault of Bernard, no one can say. Perhaps it was just Maxime’s desire for a bigger sandbox. By 1967, she was in NYC and remarried to John McKendry, a curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. By 1974, Maxime was a fixture at The Factory and starred in Paul Morrisey’s “Blood for Dracula”.Together, Maxime and McKendry played an important role in launching Robert Mapplethorpe’s career.

Provençe and the Vaucluse was not a destination for les BCBGs until the ’80s, when the hippies who once summered there — John Malkovitch, Ridley Scott and Leonard Cohen — became wealthy and bought villas, turning the Valley into a refuge for celebrities trying to escape notoriety.

Upon Maxime’s departure, Bernard decided to turn the place into a School, via Sarah Lawrence College and his alma mater, the Cleveland Institute of Art.

As a staff assistant at the school in the late ’80s, I knew nothing of Maxime, Loulou, or that any of them had ever had anything to do with the place…

 

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Big trouble in little Lacoste as locals fight Pierre Cardin’s ‘St Tropez of culture’ plan

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/jun/07/france.fashion

Designer provokes ire of villagers after calling them unintelligent bumpkins

Perched on a hill overlooking a valley of cherry trees and vines, the tiny medieval village of Lacoste is a fantasy of tranquil, peasant life. Peter Mayle wrote his bestselling A Year in Provence from a ramshackle house nearby; Tom Stoppard settled in a cottage near the belfry; and John Malkovich likes to practise his French at local markets. Only the imposing, half-ruined castle that once belonged to the Marquis de Sade hints at a darker truth of the feudal rulers who for centuries lorded it over the villagers in this south-eastern corner of France. Continue reading

Pierre Cardin’s Lacoste Village, France

http://stylefrizz.com/200903/pierre-cardins-lacoste-village-france/

Fashion and art always went together like butter and toast. But imagine fashion and art marching hand in hand with le Marquis de Sade and Lacoste! And Pierre Cardin

One of the fashion world’s controversies involves Mr Pierre Cardin and his interest for a particular cultural patrimony – le village Lacoste from France.

The small village (under 500 people) was properly invaded by Mr Cardin: he bought Marquis De Sade’s castle ruins (remember the impressive Wind Pavilion we talked about months back?) and many from the village’s houses. (more information and pictures right after the jump!)

Lacoste Village France Marquis de Sade castle

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A Van Gogh First-Person Shooter

Via http://www.zappinternet.com,

Guardian:Big trouble in little Lacoste as locals fight Pierre Cardin’s ‘St Tropez of culture’ plan

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/jun/07/france.fashion

< Designer provokes ire of villagers after calling them unintelligent bumpkins

The Guardian, Saturday June 7 2008
Angelique Chrisafis in Lacoste

Perched on a hill overlooking a valley of cherry trees and vines, the tiny medieval village of Lacoste is a fantasy of tranquil, peasant life. Peter Mayle wrote his bestselling A Year in Provence from a ramshackle house nearby; Tom Stoppard settled in a cottage near the belfry; and John Malkovich likes to practise his French at local markets. Only the imposing, half-ruined castle that once belonged to the Marquis de Sade hints at a darker truth of the feudal rulers who for centuries lorded it over the villagers in this south-eastern corner of France.

But de Sade’s chateau, said to have inspired the gothic settings for his novels of sexual perversion, is at the centre of a different outrage: its new, rich owner is accused by villagers of trying to take over as a self-styled feudal lord.

Pierre Cardin, the millionaire Paris fashion designer and businessman who has spent millions restoring the castle, is trying to turn the village into a “St Tropez of culture”. After establishing his own music festival, he has started buying up scores of cottages and buildings in the village of 430 people. Continue reading

Bruce Biro — “My ‘Mal de Pierre'”

Bruce BiroIt was in 1995, the beginning of my 4th year at the Cleveland Institute of Art, when I learned that we had an internship program which sent a CIA student to Lacoste each year, which required that student to assist staff and faculty and develop a body of work.

After a brief presentation at school, our Foreign Study office informed us that it was the Drawing Department’s turn to send an intern to France. We students were informed that more information would be forthcoming as the semester proceeded.

After the second semester started, it almost seemed as though the Lacoste internship program had been permanently dismissed from the dry-erase board of my undergrad life, I decided that I wanted to pursue it, and tracked down the derelict Administrator responsible for administering the program. Once I located the culpable party, I was informed, “Ooops!’ I’m so sorry that we never got back to the Drawing Department, but it was too late to do anything!” Apparently, I asserted myself so well that they agreed me to let me apply. Continue reading