Nicolas Bourriaud Appointed as Director of the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts

A view of the Ecole nationale supérieure des beaux-arts
On the left, "temporary" buildings of the Ecole d’architecture
On the right, vestiges of the Hôtel de Torpanne
Photo : Didier Rykner

31/10/11 - Appointment - Paris, Ecole nationale supérieure des beaux-arts - The French Minister of Culture, Frédéric Mitterand, has proposed the name of Nicolas Bourriaud as Director of the Ecole nationale supérieure des beaux-arts to the President of the Republic. This appointment, although not yet official, can thus be considered certain and should be announced very shortly.

The choice of Nicolas Bourriaud is entirely legitimate, as opposed to certain recent appointments to cultural positions. He is in fact a specialist of contemporary art who, notably, ran the Palais de Tokyo after having served as a curator at the Tate Modern. [1]
On a more specific level, we would like to express our concern for the future of the school’s heritage as it is not only an educational institution but also an ensemble of historical monuments and also holds high ranking art collections (drawings, paintings, sculptures...).
The minister also expressed a tribute to Henry-Claude Cousseau, the previous director, now retiring, for his pedagogical contribution. But he would be hard put to do the same as concerns the patrimonial aspect (see our article in french). We have not been active enough in drawing attention to this question in the last few years and yet, the current state of the school, which is located in the heart of the capital, is a disgrace. The Minister of Culture, alone responsible for its management, is largely at fault for this situation.
We will therefore keep a close watch on the new director’s plans concerning this very precise problem. As nothing has been published so far, we have no idea what his intentions are but it would seem logical to surmise that Nicolas Bourriaud is perhaps not as keenly interested in Old Masters and 19th c. works held at the Ensba, including its architecture, as in contemporary art.

Version française

Didier Rykner, lundi 31 octobre 2011


[1] We should point out however that, according to Le Monde of 10/10/11, "the professors at the school have promised to go on general strike if he was appointed", which leads us to think that his legitimacy is not unanimously acknowledged.

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