As reported by the N.Y. Times in mid-April, nightly political protests in the vein of Occupy Wall Street have been happening every night at Place de la Republique. The gatherings, mostly attended by Millenials and being called Nuit Debout, began as a pushback against proposed labor-law reforms, but several leftie causes and grievances were being aired when I dropped by last night around 9 pm. It felt like a huge, amiable community gathering — speeches, banners, placards and the usual pamphlets, T-shirts and buttons being sold. I was particularly impressed by the respect and sense of fraternity shown by a small crowd that was listening to one short speech after another by anyone who felt moved to pick up the mike and share. Each and every speaker was politely applauded. No way would that happen in Union Square.
This has to be one of the most striking artistic appropriations of the 1945 flag-raising on Iwo Jima I’ve ever seen, hands down. Sculpture was sitting in an art-gallery window.