July 10, 2018

Jean-Marc Bustamante Steps Down as ENSBA Director Amid Controversy

PARIS, FRANCE—Jean-Marc Bustamante, director of the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts since 2015, has resigned from his post following students’ accusations of mishandling sexual harassment allegations and internal politics at the Paris art school, Anna Sansom reports for The Art Newspaper.

A petition on initiated by five ENSBA students demanding the ENSBA administration respond to allegations of sexual harassment against professor Daniel Dobbels and institute adequate listening structures to correct institutionalized sexism at the school has garnered more than one thousand signatures.

Bustamante had served as a lecturer at ENSBA since 2003 and assumed the directorship following Nicolas Bourriaud’s dismissal by former cultural minister Fleur Pellerin. As a public institution, ENSBA’s administration is overseen by the Ministry of Culture and leadership of the school is awarded on a three-year renewable contract.

Following a June 28 ENSBA awards ceremony where students pelted Bustamante with flour and distributed pamphlets arguing for his removal, Bustamante was informed a cabinet member at the Ministry of Culture that his contract would not be renewed. Speaking to Le Monde, Bustamante criticized the Ministry of Culture and minister Françoise Nyssen, saying that he was “shocked by this event and by the lack of responsibility by the minister, who did not receive me after the attack.”

“Jean-Marc Bustamante has been a teacher at ENSBA for fifteen years and, as his teaching contract ends next March, he thought it would be logical for his mandate as director to end at the same time in order to pave the way for a smooth transition,” said ENSBA professor Olivier Blanckart. A new director has not yet been named.

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