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Sophie Makariou: a “new impetus” for Guimet

Sophie Makariou, president of the Musée National des Arts Asiatiques, takes the mike. An hour on cultural policy, the transmission of knowledge, redeployment of the collections. Between heritage and contemporaneousness… Her itinerary is impeccable, her character resilient… Studies in classical Arabic at Langues’O, followed by the École du Louvre, a postgraduate diploma in history, then the École du Patrimoine… Sophie Makariou is a dynamic woman. She’s said to be demanding; above all, she’s a hard worker whose cutting intelligence has led her, in the space of a few years, to hold the reins of one of the finest Parisian museums. A heritage curator who directed the department of Islamic arts at the Louvre from 2009 to 2013, she has been president of the Musée National des Arts Asiatiques for four years now. As the new school year starts, making allusions to a “new impetus”, she outlines for us the major areas of her cultural policy.   You were appointed, in August 2013, president of the Musée Guimet. Have the four years gone by quickly? Horribly quickly! I remember saying, when I arrived, that it was necessary “to open the doors and windows”. The museum had survived, you might remember, a fairly difficult crisis period: a visitor-numbers crisis, and in some way, an image crisis. The museum was struggling to get back on its feet, to make itself visible, in a niche that was nonetheless defined: Asia, but without any further specifications. There were of course wishes to open up to contemporary art, for example, but for all sorts of reasons, these came up against a problem of continuity in action. In addition, I succeeded two presidents who had held single mandates, one short, the other cut short, which obviously didn’t allow them to get things done over the long-term....

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