December 18, 2018

Petition Seeks to Block Jean de Loisy’s Appointment as ENSBA Director

PARIS, FRANCE—A petition seeking to remove Jean de Loisy from his appointment as director of the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris, has been sent to French Minister of Culture Franck Riester. The petition was signed by more than sixty arts professionals, including artists Dominque Gonzalez-Foerster, Lili Reynaud-Dewar, and Mai-Thu Perret, and Institut Kunst director Chus Martinez, Gareth Harris reports for The Art Newspaper. The petition was first published on the website Mediapart. Nearly four hundred people have added their names to the letter on

Riester announced De Loisy’s appointment as director December 12, and his tenure is expected to begin January 5, 2019. De Loisy currently serves as director of the Palais de Tokyo and curator of the 2019 Lyon Biennale. Jean-Marc Bustamante, ENSBA’s previous director, was removed from the position in July by former Minister of Culture Françoise Nyssen after students and arts professional protested his handling of sexual misconduct claims.

The petition notes that de Loisy’s appointment perpetuates leadership that does not reflect the demographics of the school or the French art community: “This hegemony is the result of a policy that is still struggling to grasp that it is not only a question of representing all those who belong to the world today, but of fully including them at all levels of responsibility, and at the heart of contemporary creation. This is a crucial issue: radically rethinking the nature of the hierarchies that still condition the artistic production of our time.”

“Like Jean-Marc Bustamante who preceded him, and who took this position saying it was only for the last two years of his career,” the petition continues, “Jean de Loisy is close to retirement age and this is last appointment. Can we really formulate a pedagogical project worthy of the name in two, three, or even four years? […] This school needs vitality and openness, a director for whom it will be a real collective project, for who this position will have profound meaning as it informs personal and professional life.”

Speaking to The Art Newspaper, de Loisy said, “Of course, everyone is concerned because the school is an essential part of the French landscape but this is all about democracy. The application and appointment process was totally transparent, involving an open call and board consultation.” The Ministry of Culture has not responded to the petition.

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