Avant-garde filmmaker, visual artist and author John Waters has been named an officer of the French Order of Arts and Letters (Ordre des Arts et des Lettres). The honor is awarded to international artists “who have contributed significantly to furthering the arts in France and throughout the world,” according to a news release from the French Embassy. Waters, who will turn 72 this Sunday (b. April 22, 1946), is a Baltimore native. An openly gay man, he is also a journalist, actor and stand-up comedian. Although he maintains apartments in NYC and San Francisco and a summer home in Provincetown, Waters still mainly resides in Baltimore, where all his films are set. He is recognizable by his trademark pencil moustache.
“I am a great admirer of Mr. John Waters,” said Mathieu Fournet, head of the film, TV and new media department at the French Embassy in New York.
After an appearance four years ago at Lincoln Center, where Waters spoke glowingly of such French cultural figures as Jean Genet, Marguerite Duras and Jean-Luc Godard, Mr. Fournet said he recommended the man responsible for such transgressive cult films as “Pink Flamingos” and more mainstream efforts such as “Polyester” and “Hairspray” for the honor, which is set to be awarded to Waters during a ceremony May 7 in New York City.
The Order of Arts and Letters was established in 1957 and is handed out three times annually. Previous American honorees have included Meryl Streep, Robert Redford, Uma Thurman, classical singer Marilyn Horne and director Jim Jarmusch.
From October 2018 through early 2019 the Baltimore Museum of Art will mount the first major retrospective of Waters’ art in his hometown. “John Waters: Indecent Exposure” will feature photographs, sculptures, soundworks and videos he has created since the early 1990s.
Sources: The Baltimore Sun, Wikipedia
Weekend with the frat boys: