Laurent Le Bon Announced as President of Centre Pompidou

June 26th, 2021

French president Emmanuel Macron has named Laurent Le Bon the next president of the Centre Pompidou, Paris. Le Bon, who served as a curator at that institution from 2000 to 2008 before being appointed to lead the Centre Pompidou-Metz, has since 2014 been the president of Paris’s Musée Picasso. He will replace departing president Serge Lasvignes, who is retiring next week after leading the museum since 2015. Macron’s choice will be confirmed at the governmental Council of Ministers meeting scheduled for June 30, with Le Bon slated to take up his post July 19.

Le Bon, an experienced purveyor of comprehensive exhibitions by big-name artists and praised by French center-right politician Franck Riester for his “ambitious loan policy and numerous partnerships and cooperation agreements with major regional, national and international museums,” is widely seen as a conservative pick to head Paris’s preeminent institution of modern and contemporary art. He comes to the job just as the museum prepares to shut down in 2023 for a four-year stretch of renovations leading up to the Pompidou’s fiftieth anniversary. Additionally, Le Bon will be charged with overseeing the institution’s expansion into Jersey City, New Jersey, where it is expected to open a semi-independent outpost in 2024.

Another of the museum’s semi-independent satellite branches, Kanal–Centre Pompidou, Brussels, has offered up some news regarding its own recent choice of leader. Hackles were raised earlier this week after that institution’s board of directors overruled an independent jury’s appointment of Kasia Redzisz as director and instead split the job between her and Bernard Blistène, the outgoing director of the Centre Pompidou, Paris. After an open letter condemning the move as “outrageously sexist” circulated, officials there released a statement acknowledging that both Redzisz and Blistène “have a role to play in the future of Kanal” and that the board will meet July 21 to hammer out the details of a “collaboration [that] fully integrates Kasia Redzisz as artistic director, while allowing the Foundation to benefit from Bernard Blistène’s experience.”