iOS app Android app

Frank Browning
GET UPDATES FROM Frank Browning
Frank Browning is based in Paris, France, and reports for NPR. He provides news coverage of France and the European Union as well as cultural reporting and essays.

In 1983, Browning joined NPR's National Desk covering everything from Neo-Nazis in the Midwest to ancient apple forests in Kazakhstan, the dilemmas facing small tobacco farmers in Kentucky to the cultural contradictions facing African musicians in France. Browning, along with long-time NPR reporter Brenda Wilson, coordinated and reported a special 16-part series on AIDS in black America. The series, which aired in 1990 won a DuPont-Columbia award and a Major Armstrong award the following year. The next year he was honored with another Armstrong award for a five-part series on AIDS and sexuality in Brazil.

Throughout his career, Browning has worked in radio, television and print journalism. Stories and reporting have taken him all over the world including Brazil, Britain, Canada, Denmark, France, Netherlands, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Kazakhstan, Sweden and Switzerland. Browning worked on three documentary projects for Italy's RAI 3 channel: "AIDS: The San Francisco Model" (1990), "War Comes to Twin Peaks: Perceptions of the Gulf War in the Pacific Northwest" (1991), and "American Politics After 9/11" (2002).

Before coming to NPR, Browning was an editor and writer for Ramparts, Inquiry andPacific News Service, all in San Francisco. He has worked as an independent journalist for publications including The Washington Post, National Geographic, Playboy, Health, California and Gourmet.

Browning earned a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors from the University of Michigan. He was a Knight Fellow at the University of Michigan in 1985-86. Browning moved to France in 2001, and is the author of seven books including The American Way of Crime,The Culture of Desire and Apples: Story of the Fruit of Temptation.

Entries by Frank Browning

The Art of Food and Rest Beneath the Northern Sun

(1) Comments | Posted April 3, 2014 | 10:02 AM

2014-04-03-lobby.JPG


When darkness fades in the North, those of us in the Middle Zones frequently twist our heads upward towards the 60th parallel: the ski slopes are still crisp and powdery while crocuses have popped up and the spring cod rush is...

Read Post

Paparazzi: Was It Rape?

(0) Comments | Posted March 12, 2014 | 10:13 AM

2014-03-10-462_pigozzi_jean_mick_jagger_et_arnold_schwarzenegger_caac_the_pigozzi_collection_9007619.jpg
Photo (c) Jean Pigozzi/Centre Pompidou-Metz


Was it rape?

Or was it art? And when?

A strange and strangely provocative spring exhibit on the century long history of Star Photography and photographers -- or Paparazzi as Frederico Fellinni named them --...

Read Post

Kitsch, Cons and Cameras: Rescuing Paris' Panthéon

(0) Comments | Posted March 3, 2014 | 3:02 PM

2014-03-03-PSCAFF.JPG


Outside it was raining, but down deep in the crypt it was merely chilly. The slightly fey, round-spectacled chief of historic monuments, and the kindly young hipster "artist" in shades and a plastic hat explained to the mostly docile klatch...

Read Post

Dreams of Our Living Ghosts

(0) Comments | Posted February 24, 2014 | 3:44 PM

2014-02-21-oliviera1.jpg
Photo: Palais de Tokyo


Travel agencies are cranking up for the summer season, and Paris as always is high on visitors' lists. The usual stuff will always be here: domes, towers, bridges, palaces. But those who dare to dance with their...

Read Post

James Reich: Bomblasting Through the Age of Nuclear Folly

(0) Comments | Posted February 5, 2014 | 11:26 AM

2014-02-04-BombshellJamesReich.jpg


Bombshell by James Reich, Softskull 2013; I, Judas by James Reich, Softskull 2011

Though I made my first visit to San Francisco's Tenderloin District about the same time that Valerie Solanas was drafting her famous uber-feminist SCUM Manifesto, we never crossed...

Read Post

Power Loses Its Erection & Horses Fly Free

(0) Comments | Posted January 24, 2014 | 8:29 AM

Why shouldn't Imperial Lions play like kittens as they make mischief with the world?

And what would happen if all the steel and stone horses that bore our hallowed soldiers, presidents and dictators bolted out from under their riders?

2014-01-23-Obelisk.JPG
--Photo by Frank...

Read Post

Art Saves A City III: Taking the Louvre into Mine

(0) Comments | Posted December 10, 2013 | 10:40 AM

2013-12-10-xWYApfpl1mVvY0nr6AqH4s38QUOL0418ALQvq3hiF0.jpg

Lens, France --

"Why would we print an article on an archaeological exhibit of 3000 year old vases in a museum in a dead mining town?" That's the reaction one of my fellow journalists got from a major weekly magazine concerning the...

Read Post

Henry Faulkner: Lost Artist of the Gothic South

(4) Comments | Posted November 29, 2013 | 10:29 AM

2013-11-29-frankgreenetop24343.jpg
Archways & Gables (1972)


Middling southern towns possessed of baroque and kinky histories suffered terrible dilemmas in the 1950s and 60s: how to grow and gain respect in the booming post-war era without flushing their rich heritage down the town branch. Lexington,...

Read Post

Identity and Dissemblance in an Art Hotel

(0) Comments | Posted November 19, 2013 | 4:30 PM

Hotels, etymologically speaking, are a French invention, sheltering structures whose function was to provide care and nurture--as in the famous and endangered Hotel Dieu in Paris beside the Seine. Next month, the 21c "art hotel" in downtown Cincinnati, celebrates its first anniversary, and the current exhibition show does anything but...

Read Post

Outside/Inside: All Around the Brutal Barn

(0) Comments | Posted September 24, 2013 | 5:26 PM

2013-09-24-AFFICHEBD.jpg
Photo: Halle St. Pierre


The more we intrude upon each other on our so-called smart phones, babbling to each other wherever we are, not knowing if the other is reposing on a temple throne or on the toilet, the more alone we...

Read Post

Crucified on a Sufi Nail

(0) Comments | Posted July 22, 2013 | 11:14 AM

2013-07-19-YazidNails.jpg

Sometimes a nail is just a nail. But what if a drill is really a pencil? And what is it that makes a pencil draw?

Yazid Oulab, who grew up in Algiers with family in Marseille was full of these musings when he was...

Read Post

Art-Ecstasy-Death-In the Sun

(0) Comments | Posted July 10, 2013 | 1:23 PM

2013-07-09-RenoirEstaque.jpg
Auguste Renoir, The Boulders at l'Estaque, 1882, Boston Museum of Fine Arts


I couldn't have been more than 10 or 12 when I first heard tales of the Midi, recounted by my fruit-growing father in Kentucky, about his sun-dappled, post-college dreamlife...

Read Post

Art Saves the City II: A Voyage to Seaside Nantes

(0) Comments | Posted July 3, 2013 | 3:30 PM

2013-07-03-telechargerleprogramme.jpg


What do you do with a dying town?

For two decades Nantes, once a major slave trading port and for most of the last century France's key Atlantic maritime center, saw its future in steep decline -- maritime and maritime-related industries disappearing....

Read Post

A French Shower in the Jungle of the American Beats

(3) Comments | Posted June 24, 2013 | 1:36 PM

2013-06-24-MetzPompi0878.JPG


It's three years since the world-famous Pompidou Center of Modern Art opened its branch in the old industrial city of Metz, a couple of train hours east of Paris. The six-story wood and glass tent is far smaller -- and some believe...

Read Post

Betel Nut Boxes, Golden Bracelets and Petrified Heads: Magic of the Ancient Philippines

(0) Comments | Posted April 22, 2013 | 3:52 PM

2013-04-22-affiche_philippines.jpeg
All images courtesy of Quai Branly Museum

If you're lucky enough to have spent a few months bouncing among the 7000 islands that make up the vast oceanic territory we call the Philippines, you'll have doubtless noticed something extraordinary about this civilization whose...

Read Post

Women Storm the Louvre (By Invitation)

(3) Comments | Posted March 26, 2013 | 4:34 PM

20130325louvrepyra
Photo by Frank Browning

Paris -- For tourists with college degrees visiting here there are two sites on the Must Do list: the Eiffel Tower that twinkles top to toe every hour after sundown and THE LOUVRE, the most visited, the most monumental, and very possibly...

Read Post

Broken Tea Sets & Neon Jungles: Anselm Reyle

(0) Comments | Posted March 5, 2013 | 2:36 PM

When I discovered that Anselm Reyle regarded Jeff Koons--he of the $33 million steel tulips in Las Vegas and the grotesque Puppy topiary at Bilbao--as one of the masters of contemporary realism, I thought about canceling the trip to Grenoble to see Reyle's latest installation of neon tube sculpture and...

Read Post

Mysteries of Art and Ancestors in Mali-by-the Seine

(0) Comments | Posted February 22, 2013 | 11:59 AM

2013-02-22-20130221P1020530EDIT


First Question: Who is the figure above and where does s/he come from?

Answer: S/he has no name but is sacred to thousands across Mali and West Africa.

Second Question: Tell yourself exactly where Mali is. If you can't put your thumb...

Read Post

Hey! Wow! American "Outsiders" Make It in Paris

(1) Comments | Posted February 7, 2013 | 2:23 PM

Outsider Art was born in London, at least officially, in 1972 when the critic Roger Cardinal characterized the movement labeled by French artist Jean Dubuffet as art brut: art generated "outside" traditional circles, often by self-trained artists and sculptors snubbed and snickered at by uptown galleries and museums. The problem...

Read Post

Marseille 2013, II: Can Art Save Your City?

(1) Comments | Posted January 22, 2013 | 4:12 PM

2013-01-22-P1020459.JPG
Photo: Christophe Sevault

That's the line: bring in one of Frank Gehry's (self-described) paper wads turned titanium, hire the Japanese wunderkind team Sanaa for $200 million to transform a dead mining pit (Lens, France, outside Little) or engage the brilliant naughty boy of...

Read Post