Born in Algiers, I lived and worked in various cultures, holding positions at the Ecole Normale Supérieure, the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (Paris), the Université of Basse-Normandie (Caen), Tisch School of the Arts (NYU), the Freie Universität (Berlin) and the Hebrew University (Jerusalem). After Sartre : A Life (1987) was sold in 15 languages, I served as cultural counselor to the French Embassy in the United States. In New York, my encounter with Leo Castelli led me to shift my interest and academic tools to the art world. I published in turn Painting American (2001, Prix Bernier de l’Académie des beaux-arts) ; Leo Castelli & His Circle (2010, Prix ArtCurial) ; Mark Rothko (2013); New York Mid-Century (2014) with Paul Goldberger and Robert Gottlieb ; Magiciens de la terre : retour sur une exposition légendaire (2014) with Jean-Hubert Martin; Un Etranger nommé Picasso (2021, Prix Femina essai), all translated worldwide.
I am a global academic and writer. For ever, I have been tracking down the interactions between art, literature and society. I taught social and cultural history in various cities such as Paris, Jerusalem, Berlin, and New York. As a curator, I was in charge of the Nuit Sartre at the Ecole normale supérieure (2013), Magiciens de la terre 2014 at the Centre Pompidou and Picasso l’étranger at the Musée national de l’histoire de l’immigration in partnership with the Musée national Picasso-Paris (2021). On this occasion, I also edited a 290 pages-catalog, with the contribution of 25 scholars, mainly from the social sciences. It represents a new paradigm that I have been developing during the last 3 decades on the field of visual arts, at the crossroads of disciplinary fields (social history, art history, political science, history of immigration), in times of crisis and migrations. Such is also the topic of my current projects which focus on issues of exile, rootlessness and expatriation: Revisiting the Rothko Chapel (with Aaron Rosen); Metics and Meteors: On the Condition of the Expatriate Artist from Antonello da Messina (15th c.) to Christo (21 th c.)