Villa Albertine’s Annual Event ‘Night of Ideas’ to Take Over Fifth Ave on March 3rd




Villa Albertine, Night of Ideas. Photo credit: Elizabeth Leitzell

Villa Albertine today announced the 2023 Night of Ideas. The event is the cultural institution’s flagship annual nocturnal marathon of intellectual debates, performances, readings, and more, centered on the great questions and challenges of our time. Programming will take place at Villa Albertine, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Ukrainian Institute of America, and The Institute of Fine Arts, NYU. The Night of Ideas is coordinated worldwide by the Institut Français.

As part of Villa Albertine’s French/US Cultural Exchange for 2023, Night of Ideas, Night of Ideas will kick off in New York City on Friday, March 3rd at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Writers Rachel Kushner and Daniel Mendelsohn in conversation with the winners of the 2021 Albertine Prize, William Rodarmor and Nicolas Mathieu, and an English translator for the event panel

This year, Night of Ideas returns across an unprecedented 22 US cities and more than 100 countries worldwide. The nighttime gatherings will enable the public to engage with leading thinkers, novelists, activists, and artists around the theme More? to approach the challenge of building a sustainable and equitable society in a world of compounding overabundance, overstimulation, and information saturation.

In New York City, Night of Ideas kicks off Friday, March 3, 2023, at 4:30pm with teen programming and opens to the public at 6:00pm, running until 12 midnight. The evening’s multidisciplinary programming will include a collective live reading of Annie Ernaux’s Happening at Villa Albertine, a tour of The Met’s Afrofuturist Period Room with artist Fabiola Jean-Louis, performances at the Museum as part of Date Night, a talk about indigenous cultural geography with the Lenape Center at The Institute of Fine Arts, NYU, and an interview led by Columbia students of French author and media thought-leader Bruno Patino at the Ukrainian Institute. Throughout the programming, particular emphasis is placed on the voices of young New Yorkers as the generations on the front lines of conceiving and building a better future.

Compagnie XY at the 2017 edition of Night of Ideas at the Brooklyn Public Library.

The events will interrogate the over-stimulation and excess of our physical and digital realities, while questioning what aspects of our contemporary existence, conversely, are being neglected and require urgent attention. From the climate crisis to online content proliferation to rights in post-Roe America, local and international speakers, artists, and performers will examine where uniting our collective resources could generate more exactly where we need it.

Throughout the night, overlapping programming will be hosted at four historic buildings along Fifth Avenue between 78th and 82nd Streets: The Institute of Fine Arts, NYU, Villa Albertine, the Ukrainian Institute of America, and The Met. Programming was designed in further collaboration with Princeton University, Columbia University’s Maison Française, French department, and Alliance Program, and the Romanian Cultural Institute New York.

Villa Albertine, Night of Ideas. Photo credit: Elizabeth Leitzell

Program highlights

The Metropolitan Museum of Art: 4:30pm – 9:00pm                                         

  • 4:30-6:30pm: Youth-oriented programming with Afrofuturist Period Room artist Fabiola Jean-Louis. Teens will tour the exhibition with Fabiola and Ana Matisse Donefer-Hickie, Senior Research Associate of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts, followed by a conversation about the artist’s practice and an art-making demonstration and workshop led by the artist. No registration required.
  • 5:00-9:00pm: Date Night at The Met – Experience live music across the Museum, enjoy drink specials and light fares across the Museum at the American Wing Café, Petrie Court Café, and the Balcony Lounge.
  • Starting at 6:00pm: Drop-in Drawing with a focus on Rodin’s best-known public monument The Burghers of Calais. Experience The Met’s collection through this creative drawing challenge in the galleries with expert teaching artists. Materials are provided, but participants are welcome to bring their own sketchbook.
  • Starting at 7:00pm: a gallery walkthrough of the Afrofuturist Period Room.
Night of Ideas. Image courtesy Villa Albertine

The Institute of Fine Arts, NYU: 6:00pm – 8:30pm

  • “Manhattan is a Lenape cultural space” – a talk led by the co-founders of the Lenape Center in Manhattan, Joe Baker (Executive Director) and Hadrien Coumans (Co-Director).
  • Live reading of Pascal Rambert’s play Trois annonciations, performed by students in Princeton University’s L’Avant-Scène the French Theater Workshop. This hypnotic text spans the centuries in three monologues, asking the question: What is there to announce today? A beginning or an end?

Villa Albertine: 8:30pm – 12:00am  

  • Live reading, start to finish, of 2022 Nobel winner Annie Ernaux’s Happening, apowerful account of the author’s illegal abortion in 1963 France. More than 20 readers will participate in this collective literary marathon, including bestselling authors Judith Thurman, Margo Jefferson and Colm Tóibín, youth activist Niharika Rao, feminist journalist Mona Eltahawy, doctor and medical ethicist Laura Kolbe, and several students. Followed by a discussion.
  • Jazz performance by the award-winning Kim Clarke trio.
Ukrainian Institute, 2 East 79th Street, NYC

The Ukrainian Institute of America: 8:30pm – 12:00am 

  • Talks centered on image, media, new technology, and innovation – and their intersections with youth and young generations – led by French author and media thought-leader Bruno Patino, designer and technology Mindy Seu, filmmaker Cédric Ido, journalist Lauren Wolfe, media theorist McKenzie Wark, and more. College students will serve as moderators and interviewers.
  • Detox room with guided yoga and live music.
  • Intellectual one-on-one conversations with Night of Ideas speakers, including Mindy Seu, novelist Julie Girard, and more.

Mark your calendar for Night of Ideas New York City on March 3rd, 2023, and visit for the latest news and programming announcements.

Villa Albertine, Night of Ideas. Photo credit: Elizabeth Leitzell

Villa Albertine, launched in fall 2021, is a new kind of cultural institution across 10 U.S. cities, with the mission to deepen cultural connections between the United States and the French-speaking world through a shared exploration of arts and ideas. National programs like Night of Ideas are part of Villa Albertine’s public event programming that make up one of the organization’s core pillars. The other three pillars are: exploratory, bespoke artist residencies in multiple cities across the US, grants and professional programs, and magazine entitled States that launched its inaugural issue in January.

Night of Ideas 2023 is presented by Villa Albertine, in partnership with FACE Foundation and the institut français. The national program in the US is made possible with major philanthropic support from Presenting Partner the Judy and Peter Blum Kovler Foundation, Mellon Foundation, and Carnegie Corporation of New York.

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