Ben the artist who gives power to words

Is this art or money?

As part of their conference series, the Monaco Press Club organized a live encounter at the Gallery 11 Columbia in Monte-Carlo, with Swiss-French artist Benjamin Vautier, born in Naples, Italy in 1935, and who is better known as Ben. The exhibition from this prolific artist is entitled “Is this art or money?” will be open till November 17, 2017.

It was indeed a privilege to meet the famous artist in the flesh, who is amusing, provocative, philosophical, has a sharp tongue, and has defined political convictions defending the rights of minorities in all countries, a true character.

Whoever gets the mike has the power

Ben took the lead and opened the interview by asking questions, before responding to the journalists queries, all the time making us laugh and reflect at the same time with his philosophical wit and irony, and a keen ability to use words in a clever and humorous way

The artist got hold of the microphone and did not relinquish it, affirming, “Whoever gets the mike has the power”, confirming his belief that words are singularly the most powerful force available to humanity. Ben questions the power of money over art, but he is certainly not timid about inviting art lovers to buy his artworks over other artists’! (Photo insert: Ben during interview @CelinaLafuentedeLavotha)

Ben gained notoriety in the 1960’s, through his writings, questioning non-stop the world that surrounds him, joining the Fluxus artistic movement that sought to change the history of the world, not just the history of art, by obliterating boundaries between art and life. He now lives and works in Nice, France, and is probably the last remaining artists from the Ecole de Nice that regrouped many who became internationally famous.

Art open for all 

Fluxus was a loosely organized group of artists that comprise the globe, with a strong presence in New York City. Lithuanian-born American artist George Maciunas is historically considered the primary founder and organizer of the movement, who described Fluxus as, “a fusion of Spike Jones, gags, games, Vaudeville, Cage and Duchamp.” Like the Futurists and Dadaists who preceded them, Fluxus artists disagreed with the authority of museums in determining the value of art, nor did they believe that one must be educated to view and understand a piece of art. Fluxus is an inclusive movement, as they wanted art to be available to the masses, but they also wished for everyone to produce art all the time. It is not easy to define Fluxus, as many Fluxus artists claim that the act of defining the movement is, in itself, too limiting and subtractive.

A look at the exhibition

Today’s Quote

That would translate to “Better late than never.” The popular proverb would translate to: “Better late than never.” Geoffery Chaucer appears to have been the first person to have put the proverb into print, in The Yeoman’s Prologue and Tale, Canterbury Tales, circa 1386: For bet than never is late. [Better than never is late.]


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