Valérie Guillaume Appointed as Head of the Musée Carnavalet

13/10/13 - Appointment - Paris, Musée Carnavalet - The appointment of Valérie Guillaume as head of the Musée Carnavalet starting 1st December 2013 does not come as a surprise as we had known about it for several weeks, though the recruiting procedure was still in progress. However, the news might stun those persons who believe that a museum devoted to the history of Paris should be directed by a curator with acknowledged skills in that field.
The new director of the Musée Carnavalet, despite the fact that she passed the competitive exam for archeology and art history of Greco-Roman civilizations, is above all a specialist in contemporary design. She has been a curator at the Musée national d’art moderne since 2000, in charge of the department of Design & Prospective Industrielle... Before that, she spent twelve years at the Musée Galliéra, Musée de la mode de la ville de Paris, where she managed essentially the 20th century collections.
We would like to thank Valérie Guillaume for responding to our request for further information concerning her professional work as refers to the Musée Carnavalet. She forwarded a list of works and articles which we publish in this footnote [1]. We would venture to say that their connection to the history of Paris seems tenous indeed.

We have a hard time thinking there were no applicants with a more compatible background for this post. However, having said this, we will not judge Valérie Guillaume beforehand and will evaluate her on her actions since she has proven her commitments (including that of treasurer for ICOM-France), and appears to be particularly dynamic. She has her work cut out for her in restoring the museum’s luster ; despite the fact this is one of the French capital’s most important establishments, its buildings are in a sad state (the restoration of the façades in the Louis XIV courtyard are to begin soon), its rooms are often closed for the most part (see our articles in French here and here) and its acquisitions policy has been significantly reduced, as far as we know, to a minimum, due notably to the very low budgets allocated. In any case, Valérie Guillaume will have to keep in mind that she is no longer in a contemporary art museum.

Version française

Didier Rykner, dimanche 13 octobre 2013


[1] 1. Books :Patrick Jouin, Editions Centre Pompidou, 2010 Le Paris de Patrick Jouin, Instituto Tomie Ohtake, São Paulo, 2009, French-Portuguese Airs de Paris, codirected the work, Centre Pompidou, 2007 : wrote the essay « Air(e)s géographiques : paysage, architecture, design », et de notices ; the article « Geographical Airs and Areas » can be read online. Écrits sur Starck, directed the work, Centre Pompidou, 2003 and wrote the essay « Lire et dé-lire l’objet ». Europe, 1910-1939, Quand l’art habillait le vêtement, Paris-Musées, 1997. Benjamin Roubaud (1811-1847) et le Panthéon Charivarique, 1988

Articles :

« Natalia Gontcharova/Salon Myrbor, Paris », in the catalogue for the exhibition Natalia Gontcharova, Galerie Tretiakov, Moscou, 2014 « Eileen Gray à Paris : luxe et arts » in the catalogue for the exhibition Eileen Gray, Paris, Centre Pompidou, 2013 « Un certain état d’esprit moderne. Étude d’un siège en tube métallique », dans le catalogue Mallet-Stevens, Centre Pompidou, 2005 : this is a study on the chairs at the Exposition de 1931 in Paris « Industries, techniques et politiques industrielles en mutation », « La marche de la technologie, la poésie de la création, 1960-2000 » and the entries for the catalogue Mutations//Mode, 1960-2000, Paris-Musées, 2000 « Index des maisons de couture russes à Paris ; les artistes russes à Paris : Sonia Delaunay et Natalia Gontcharova » in the catalogue Souvenirs moscovites, Paris-Musées, 1999.

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