- x, 239 p. : ill., map ; 24 cm.
- In 1990 Jacques Chirac, the future president of France and a passionate fan of non-European art, met Jacques Kerchache, a maverick art collector with the lifelong ambition of displaying African sculpture in the holy temple of French culture, the Louvre. Together they began laying plans, and ten years later African fetishes were on view under the same roof as the Mona Lisa. Then, in 2006, amidst a maelstrom of controversy and hype, Chirac presided over the opening of a new museum dedicated to primitive art in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower: the Musée du quai Branly. Recounts the massive reconfiguration of Paris's museum world that resulted from Chirac's dream, set against a backdrop of personal and national politics, intellectual life, and the role of culture in French society. Along with exposing the machinations that led to the MQB's creation, addresses the thorny questions it raises about the legacy of colonialism, the balance between aesthetic judgments and ethnographic context, and the role of institutions of art and culture in an increasingly diverse France.Includes bibliographical references.Jacques and Jacques -- The primal moment -- The president's secret garden -- The passionate connoisseur -- Good-bye, Columbus -- Museums in the city of light -- The state of culture -- The grandest museum in the world -- The move to the Louvre -- Down with hierarchy -- Getting started -- Cohabitation -- In-house rumblings -- A dream come true -- Artifactual question marks -- The organ donors -- Trouble at the Trocadero -- Resistance movement -- Colonies and crocodiles -- Musical chairs -- An anti-palace on the Seine -- The turn to concrete -- Preparing the transplants -- Behind the Hairy Wall -- Glass, gardens, and aborigines -- A river runs through it -- Art of darkness -- Epilogue : cultures in dialogue? -- Back matter -- An American in Paris.