On 2 July 2015, French Minister of Culture and Communication Fleur Pellerin dismissed the Director of the National School of Fine Arts in Paris Nicolas Bourriaud.
Fleur Pellerin fired Bourriaud after a 45-minute-long meeting, where she justified the dismissal by saying that she had a “change of direction” in mind. After their meeting, Bourriaud posted a message on his Facebook page, stating that “not a single factual argument” was mentioned by the Minister during their exchange. According to certain sources — including the journalist Roxana Azimi —, and despite the launch of a call for applications by the school, Bourriaud is to be replaced by Éric de Chassey, current Director of Villa Médicis. These same sources claim that the potential nomination could be linked to the fact that Chassey is approaching the end of his contract at the Villa Médicis, and his close relationship with Julie Gayet, French President François Hollande’s alleged companion. Indeed, actress Anne Consigny, wife of Éric de Chassey, is one of Julie Gayet’s close friends. Some people in the art world, like Stéphane Corréard, have refuted the information, claiming it is defamatory and inexact.
Born in 1965, Nicolas Bourriaud is an art historian, critic and curator. From 2000 to 2006, he co-founded and co-directed the Palais de Tokyo in Paris with Jérôme Sans before being appointed as the Gulbenkian curator for contemporary art at the Tate Britain from 2008 to 2010. He ran the National School of Fine Arts in Paris since 2011.