“Martin Bethenond”

Palazzo Grassi: 10 years already 

May 2005. The newspaper Le Monde published a commentary by François Pinault:  “Je renonce” in capitals, I give up. What was the big collector giving up? The building of a contemporary art museum to house his collection on Seguin Island in Boulogne-Billancourt, just west of Paris. “Administrative obstacles” had got the better of the project, launched in 2000.But François Pinault, being the businessman that he is, would not let the giving up of this project gnaw away at him. Less than a year later, in April 2006, he inaugurated the Palazzo Grassi in Venice. He brought out the big guns for the occasion: the acquisition of a building for €27 million, five months of renovation entrusted to Japanese Tadao Ando for €5 million. In 2007, the Fondation Pinault extended its empire to the Punta della Dogana, having obtained the green light from Venice to invest in and develop the site. This April, the Palazzo Grassi, made over by Pinault, will be ten years old. At the latest Art Media Agency dinner-debate, its director Martin Bethenod retraced “this fine adventure at a frenzied pace”. It was in 2010 that Martin Bethenod joined the frenzied pace, as chief executive officer and director of the Palazzo Grassi-Punta della Dogana. François Pinault obviously knew who he was dealing with. Martin Bethenod was behind the FIAC’s return to the spotlight — he was its General Director from 2004 to 2010 —, but also a critical success thanks to his artistic direction of the Paris Nuits Blanches event in 2010. So what’s the Bethenod recipe? Solid knowledge of the world of art and its workings. Knowledge that he acquired at the French Ministry of Culture as deputy head editor of Connaissance des Arts, and also at the Centre Pompidou where he was head of the...

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