'' Setting the fire of the School of Nice's Christ Child's crib | A history of performance art on the Riviera from 1951 until now

Setting the fire of the School of Nice's Christ Child's crib

Jean Mas
Jean Mas
Theoretical background: 

Remember that the École de Nice is a movement that began in the 1960s, following the meeting of the artists of that time, Yves Klein, Arman, César, but also Frédéric Altman, Nivèse or Ben.

It’s under the artistic wand of the exhibition’s commissioner Alexandre de la Salle that a massive exhibition marking 50 years of existence for the École de Nice started at the Rétif Museum of Vence on June 8 (until December 18).

But as all things come to an end, the École de Nice was symbolically burned by the artist performer Jean Mas last Saturday, in the middle of a crowd of artists, friends, and amateur artists. The École de Nice no longer exists, it’s up to the young people who are going to rebuild the regional artistic landscape !

excerpted from Art Côte d’Azur, December 2010

By this symbolic action, the ignition of the École de Nice nursery, Jean Mas places the artistic movement towards the history’s horizon, “Thenceforth, the École de Nice, such a perfectly identified object, becomes forever a part of art history, the/an important movement of the second half of the 20th century.” Alexandre de la Salle, Commissioner of the exhibition 1960-2010, 50 ans de l’École de Nice.

During the exhibition 50 ans de l’École de Nice at the Rétif Museum, the commissioner, Alexandre de la Salle, wanted the École de Nice to disband. This (unilateral?) decision was accepted by some artists, rejected by others.


Jean Mas, in front of a large audience, sets the École de Nice “nursery”nursery on fire. A nursery made up of the cardboard silhouettes of all the artists of the “movement.” Firecrackers hidden behind the sculpture explode (“400 Blasts at the École de Nice”), a blue smoke escapes (“memory”).

The fire engulfs and destroys everything before the thrilled audience, “Who will be the last ?” Jean Mas concludes in front of a camera, saying, “It’s the end of primary school, let’s move on to junior high.”