The French Ministry of Culture announced the ousting of Nicolas Bourriaud Officer of the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Paris (ENSBA) on July 2nd , 2015. Since then, a feeling of disbelief has been expressed through multiple protests against the decision of Minister Fleur Pellerin, both internationally and in France.
The National Association of Directors of Art Schools (ANDEA) describes this measure as “outrageous, unjust and irresponsible” while on social networks, a petition set up by students of the ENSBA was circulated. Among Fleur Pellerin’s complaints against the former director, is the is the resistance to make the institution more “internationally influential”, with Nicolas Bourriaud defending himself in an interview given to Télérama, recalling collaborations with various schools in Tokyo, Beijing, Buenos Aires, and Reykjavik. ANDEA also supports the open door policy – as well within the international market – led by Nicolas Bourriaud. For its part, the Committee of Professional Galleries said in a statement: “All the players in the world of contemporary art today are disadvantaged by this decision.” As for the possibility for the director of the Villa Medici, Eric de Chassey to retrieve the post, the Ministry of Culture denies any favoritism through the eviction of Nicolas Bourriaud. Le Canard Enchaîné propagated the rumor that Eric de Chassey had gained access to the position thanks to his proximity to actress Julie Gayet.
Nicolas Bourriaud, born in 1965, is a historian and art critic. He co-led the Palais de Tokyo with Jérôme Sans, until 2006, in Paris, before taking up the post as Gulbenkian curator for contemporary art at the Tate Britain until 2010. That same year, he assumed the functions as Head of Inspection of artistic creation to the Ministry of Culture. He was appointed director of the National School of Fine Arts in Paris in October 2011.