Open Minded in Nice
Volume XX, Issue 3
Just about every day, Patty Sadauskas sends me a photo she has taken from her 5th floor Nice apartment that overlooks the the famous Tête Carrée, the Musée d’Art Moderne et d’Art Contemporain (MAMAC) and the Palais des Congrès—Nice Acropolis. From her three balconies, which have a 270° view of Nice, she has a glimpse of the sea in two different spots, the Cimetière du Château on the Colline du Château and even the Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur. Daily when the noonday canon strikes, Patty can see the puff of smoke that rises up.
The view is spectacular, changing by the minute depending on the sky, weather and time of day. The Tête Carrée is literally in her face…or so, it seems. Almost every photo taken of it for publicity reasons has her building and her apartment in the background. Mind you, the intersection on which it sits is one of the busiest in the city. If you exit the A8 Autoroute coming from the east, the roads all lead to this spot in order to enter Nice proper. So, she has plenty of noise when her double-paned windows are open, but it’s a small trade-off for the outstanding views.
Not everyone loves the Tête Carrée—it’s one of the strangest structures one might ever see—kitsch and curious, but I am personally a fan. I chuckle very time I see it. It’s considered a monumental sculpture, and is 30 meters high. It consists of a cubic part of 14 meters on each side with seven floors, supported by the bottom of a gigantic aluminum bust stretched on frames, composed of holes of four millimeters on each side, sandblasted to obtain a matte effect, pale gray in color to match the marble walls of the MAMAC. The bust is truncated at the level of the mouth.
Currently housing the offices of the Bibliothèque Louis Nucéra, but not for long. Beginning in September of this year, and for the next two years, the Tête Carrée will prepare to become a place open to the public.
The first phase of the extension of the green corridor will begin in September, announced the mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi, who unveiled the developments that will be carried out within two years. The administrative staff will have to leave the Tête Carrée as part of the plan. Estrosi wants to give this emblematic building of the city back to the public.
Designed by the Nice artist Sacha Sosno, the sculptor’s widow, Macha, as well as Thomas Aillagon, the former director of the Musée du quai Branly—Jacques Chirac (who has become Nice’s deputy director general in charge of culture), have been involved in the process of finding a new vocation for the Tête Carrée.
All this may be a bit premature as Estrosi told the press, “Nothing has been decided yet.” The mayor wants to dedicate it to culture, and why not make it “an educational place” for young people, or even “a temporary exhibition space” or even a showcase retracing “the genesis of the Nice school?”
It seems a lot has gone to his head, but is staying open minded!
The Adrian Leeds Group®
Adrian at a café near the Tête Carrée
P.S. Next week while I am visiting Los Angeles, I will be taking the week off from writing these Nouvellettres®, but we will reprint some memorable issues—from about the same time two years ago just before Covid-19 became our life. So, your inbox won’t be void of missives from me and the Adrian Leeds Group!