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Jean-Marc Bustamante Named Director of French Art School, Following Nicolas Bourriaud’s Dismissal

In surprising news from France, the new director of the École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts in Paris will be artist Jean-Marc Bustamante. The school’s former head Nicolas Bourriaud was fired earlier this year by Fleur Pellerin, the French culture secretary—a move that prompted speculation and accusations of nepotism.

One critic alleged then: “The confusion and intrigue highlight how top posts in the cultural sector are being shamelessly reserved for the favorites of those in power.” Some were speculating that Bourriaud was moved out so that a friend of President Hollande’s girlfriend would be hired, as previously reported here.

Bustamante has worked in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Tate in London, taught at ENSBA since 1998, and served as the artistic director of the Le Printemps de Septembre festival from 2012 through 2015, according to the Art Newspaper’s Gareth Harris. He also represented France at the 2003 Venice Biennale.

“Bustamante wants to put the artist at the heart of [ENSBA],” said Pellerin. As Le Monde wrote of Bustamante's appointment: “This is an outcome we did not expect.”