Jean-Marc Bustamante. Photo: ENSBA.

Beaux-Arts Director Jean-Marc Bustamante Departs, Criticizes Culture Ministry

Jean-Marc Bustamante, the outgoing director of the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts (ENSBA), France’s national arts academy in Paris, is criticizing the French culture minister for a lack of support after being lambasted by ENSBA students for failing to adequately grapple with a spate of sexual harassment allegations toward professors at the school, according to the Art Newspaper.

A petition demanding ENSBA confront the allegations currently has over one thousand signatures, and a pamphlet against the artist—whose three-year contract as director ends this summer and has not been renewed—was also circulated. Bustamante, a professor at ENSBA since 1998, was appointed director of the academy in 2015, following the controversial firing of Nicolas Bourriaud from the post by the minister of culture.  

According to Le Monde, a student threw flour on Bustamante during the school’s June 28 awards ceremony, and another read from a letter detailing his “total absence of consideration for the repeated reports of teachers’ harassment towards students and the disdain and caustic humor that characterize your attitude towards these problems.” Later, the sixty-six-year-old artist was summoned to the Ministry of Culture, where he learned from a cabinet member that his contract would end in September and not be renewed like he had requested. “I am very shocked by this event and by the lack of responsibility by the minister, who did not receive me [after the attack],” said Bustamante, who is now on sick leave.