France honors world’s worst sculptor

Zurab Tsereteli, pretty much the raison d’être for our World’s Ugliest Statues photo essay, has just been awarded France’s highest decoration:  Zurab Tsereteli, 76, a controversial sculptor known for his grandiose work, was to receive the Legion of Honor from French ambassador Jean de Gliniasty at the Russian Academy of Arts in Moscow on Tuesday ...

By , a former associate editor at Foreign Policy.
569134_100405_statues52.jpg
569134_100405_statues52.jpg
BAYONNE, NJ - SEPTEMBER 11: The memorial "To the Struggle Against World Terrorism" is seen prior to its dedication at The Peninsula at Bayonne Harbor on September 11, 2006 in Bayonne, New Jersey. A monument with a teardrop in steel was created by a Russian artist Zurab Tsereteli to honor victims of 9/11. (Photo by Scott Gries/Getty Images)

Zurab Tsereteli, pretty much the raison d'être for our World's Ugliest Statues photo essay, has just been awarded France's highest decoration: 

Zurab Tsereteli, 76, a controversial sculptor known for his grandiose work, was to receive the Legion of Honor from French ambassador Jean de Gliniasty at the Russian Academy of Arts in Moscow on Tuesday evening, news agencies reported.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy said the award honored Tsereteli's “services to our country and the devotion to France that he exhibited,” as well as his contribution to strengthening ties between France and Russia.

Zurab Tsereteli, pretty much the raison d’être for our World’s Ugliest Statues photo essay, has just been awarded France’s highest decoration: 

Zurab Tsereteli, 76, a controversial sculptor known for his grandiose work, was to receive the Legion of Honor from French ambassador Jean de Gliniasty at the Russian Academy of Arts in Moscow on Tuesday evening, news agencies reported.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy said the award honored Tsereteli’s “services to our country and the devotion to France that he exhibited,” as well as his contribution to strengthening ties between France and Russia.

Yep, the homeland of Auguste Rodin just conferred its highest honor on the designer of the above 9/11 memorial, a structure so ugly that Jersey City officials changed their mind and rejected it after actually seeing the thing. 

At least from this Wikipedia article, it does seem like France has been going a little overboard with conferring the legion on foreigners during the Sarkozy years.  

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @joshuakeating

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