Frédéric Mitterrand appointed Minister of Culture

Photo : MEDEF, Wikimedia Commons
licence Creative Commons

26/6/09 – Appointment – Ministry of Culture – The news was unexpected and, for once, rather encouraging. The President of the French Republic has appointed Frédéric Mitterrand as Minister of Culture, thus ending his presence in Rome as director of the Villa Medicis after one year. Although known mainly for a career in television, there is no doubt that Frédéric Mitterrand is a man of culture. His work in Rome has been very positive. He saved the 19th century plasters which his predecessor Richard Peduzzi had removed ; he took down the Richard Peduzzi tapestries installed by … Richard Peduzzi, and replaced them in the “grand salon” with hangings deposited by the Mobilier National ; he relaunched the project of a Villa museum which had disappeared under Balthus ; he was behind the organization of a major exhibition, Villa aperta, which is opening at the moment… In a word, in barely one year he has achieved some impressive results.
While benefiting from a positive image, the new Minister of Culture will have his work cut out for him in a particularly difficult position, especially as he is quite obviously not a politician (as demonstrated by the way in which he confirmed his appointment before the official announcement). We can only hope that he will know how to make the right decisions, and above all, that he will be able to apply them. As concerns notably heritage and museums, there are several difficult issues to deal with, foremost of which is the application of the RGPP (General Review of Public Policies) and which we have often talked about here (see our editorial, in French). Another serious matter concerns the parliament’s wish to eliminate the necessary approval of the Architectes des Bâtiments de France (Architects for French Historical Buildings) in Protected Zones of Architectural, Urban and Landscape Heritage (see news item of 16/6/09, in French). On this subject, the ABF organized a press conference last Thursday where they once again denounced the serious consequences of such a measure, emphasizing besides that in their opinion this measure, censored the first time by the Conseil Constitutionnel, was once again illegal since it was presented as an amendment on second reading to the law known as the Grenelle de l’environnement (environmental accords). The former Minister of Culture Christine Albanel had done absolutely nothing to prevent it. Assuredly, she will not be missed by anyone.

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Didier Rykner, vendredi 26 juin 2009

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