Chris Dercon to take over at Grand Palais

Cupola of the Grand Palais, Paris

Chris Dercon, the former director of Berlin's Volksbühne Theatre in Berlin and prior to that of London's Tate Modern, will take charge of the Grand Palais and Musée du Luxembourg in Paris from January 2019. 

Dercon's appointment as president of the French government cultural body, Réunion des musées nationaux-Grand Palais (Rmn-GP), responsible for the iconic venues was confirmed by French culture minister, Franck Riester. It comes after his predecessor in the post, Sylvie Hubac, moved to take over the Conseil d'Etat, the legal advisory department of the national government, in June. Dercon's five year contract takes in a period of significant transition, with the Grand Palais, which hosts art fairs Fiac and Paris Photo as well as major exhibitions, scheduled to undergo a major refurbishment beginning in late 2020 and to re-open in January 2023.

The appointment marks a new departure, with the role normally awarded to administrators rather than curators or art historians. It's not the first time that Dercon has taken up a position outside the standard circuit for the world's leading curators: in 2017 he succeeded Franz Castorf as head of the avant-garde Volksbühne Theatre, but was forced to resign in April 2018 after facing stiff opposition to a programme focused on the visual arts. 

8 November 2018