French national network
of contemporary art centres


Open letter in support of the Palais de Tokyo and Curatorial Freedom

Open letter

Palais de Tokyo


There has recently been a worrying increase in the number of accusations and attacks levelled at cultural institutions in France and elsewhere in the world. In the name of political causes, they have been denounced for consciously supporting or failing to support certain ideologies, of offering an excessive or insufficient representation of issues and questions facing society. This has resulted in a rise in attempts at intimidation, calls for censorship, smear campaigns and a proliferation of false information targeting them.

Palais de Tokyo, which was already targeted in 2023 during the exhibition of Miriam Cahn’s work Fuck Abstraction has now been accused by a patron of organizing a program “dictated by the promotion of highly oriented ‘causes’ (woke, anticapitalism, pro-Palestinian, etc.)”, to cite the patron’s resignation letter from the Amis du Palais de Tokyo which she published on social media.

As we have seen in the past and in other contexts, such statements, and their diffusion through a popular tribunal on social media are dangerous for the art world, for artists, for institutional freedom and for our democracy.

In the name of DCA – French national network of contemporary art centres, we wish to express our support for the Palais de Tokyo and along with it our support for all cultural institutions facing these kinds of attacks around the world.

The role and mission of contemporary art centres and museums, whether public or private, is first and foremost to promote creativity, and to support and convey the points of view of the artists they accompany.

With an intellectual rigor and a precise contextualization that are in stark contrast to the false information all too often relayed on social media by their detractors, artistic institutions base their work on research carried out by curators, researchers, and other professionals. Their aim is to problematize, contextualize and put things into perspective in order to offer visitors artistic programs that –far from settling existing debates or taking partisan positions– enrich them from a critical perspective.

This is what Palais de Tokyo has done for the last 20 years and what it continues to do, playing a central role in contemporary art by supporting artists with a broad variety of practices and presenting rigorous exhibitions that explore multiple themes. From the outset, it has done so without skirting around the controversial issues which are often at the heart of international contemporary art.
Its mission, which has been underscored by the president of the Palais de Tokyo, Guillaume Désanges, is not to import the rifts that exist in our divided society but rather to shed light upon them through the prism of art and critique. It is a mission we share, and one that it is vital to defend.

Like art and artists, our cultural institutions must remain free, or else risk disappearing. To remain free, they must be able to work with the professionalism and peace of mind that allow them to provide the conditions for the confrontation of ideas that is at the heart of their mission.

If you would like to add your signature to this letter: Change.org

First signatories :
Judith Abensour, art critic, filmmaker, and teacher, École des Arts Décoratifs, Paris;
Boris Achour, artist, teacher at Beaux-Arts de Cergy;
Maike Aden, art critic, curator, teacher;
Paula Aisemberg, director of artistic projects, Emerige;
Maxwell Alexandre, artist;
Isabelle Alfonsi, gallerist, Marcelle Alix, Paris;
Bénédicte Alliot, general director, Cité internationale des arts, Paris;
Lotte Arndt, researcher and curator, TU Berlin;
Ivan Argote, artist;
François Aubart, art critic and teacher at Beaux-Arts de Cergy;
Guillaume Aubry, architect, artist, researcher;
Boris Atrux-Tallau, art worker;
Sophie Auger, director of Le Creux de l’Enfer, Thiers, president of Cipac – Federation of Contemporary Art Professionals;
Éric Aupol, photographer and teacher at ENSA Bourges, Bourges;
Joan Ayrton, artist and teacher at Villa Arson, Nice;
Agnès b, fashion designer;
Cécile B. Evans, artist;
Louisa Babari, artist;
Adeline Bailleux, blogger;
Franck Balland, head of cultural development, Fondation Pernod Ricard, Paris;
Éric Baudelaire, artist and filmmaker;
Cécilia Becanovic, gallerist, Marcelle Alix, Paris;
Mathilde Belouali, director, contemporary art centre Les Capucins, Embrun;
Marie-Laure Bernadac, honorary general conservator;
Etienne Bernard, director, Frac Bretagne, Rennes;
Maëla Bescond, director, contemporary art centre Passages, Troyes;
Virginie Bobin, independent curator;
Nathalie Bondil, director of the museum and exhibitions at IMA, Paris;
Houari Bouchenak, independent curator, photographer, researcher;
Margaux Brugvin, art critic;
Ulrika Byttner, general director of ESADHaR – Higher School of Art and Design Le Havre-Rouen and co-president of ANdEA – National Association of Higher Schools of Art;
Marie Canet, art critic et teacher;
Marie-Haude Caraës, general director of the École supérieure d’art et de design TALM;
Isabelle Carlier, general director, École Supérieure d’Arts d’Annecy;
Aude Cartier, co-president of TRAM – Paris / Île-de-France contemporary art network;
Pascale Cassagnau, art critic, Cnap – National Center for Visual Arts, Paris;
Sandra Cattini, director of Musée Gassendi, Cairn and Maison Alexandra David-Neel, Digne-les-Bains;
C-E-A | French Association of Exhibition Curators;
Stéphanie Chazalon, director of ICI, Institut des Cultures d’Islam, Paris and co-president of TRAM;
Marie Chênel, director, DCA;
Jagna Ciuchta, artist and teacher at Beaux-Arts de Cergy;
Thomas Conchou, director of the contemporary art centre at Ferme du Buisson, Noisiel;
Stanislas Colodiet, heritage conservator, director of Cirva, Marseille;
Éric Corne, artist, enseignant, ENSA Bourges; Francesca Corona, artistic director, Festival d’Automne à Paris;
Jérôme Cotinet-Alphaize, independent curator;
Dalila Dalléas Bouzar, visual artist and performer;
Caroline Cournède, director of MABA, Nogent-sur-Marne;
Fabien Danesi, director, Frac Corsica, Corte;
Gallien Déjean, art historian, curator, teacher at ENSAPC, Cergy and ECAL, Lausanne;
Éric Degoutte, director, contemporary art centre Les Tanneries, Amilly;
Jérôme Delormas, general director, école supérieure d’art et design de Grenoble Valence;
Jean-Baptiste Delorme, curator, MAM Paris;
Emmanuel Demarcy-Mota, director of Théâtre de la Ville and general director of Festival d’Automne à Paris;
Chris Dercon, curator;
Marianne Derrien, independant curator and art critic;
Vanessa Desclaux, art critic, curator, teacher ENSA Dijon;
Charlène Dinhut, programmer, Paris;
Laurent Dumas, chair of the board of directors of Palais de Tokyo;
Dorothée Dupuis, independent curator, director of Temblores Publicaciones, México;
Nathalie Ergino, director of IAC, Villeurbanne; Alexia Fabre, director, Beaux-Arts de Paris;
Patricia Falguières, professor of art history and theory, EHESS, Paris;
Cédric Fauq, chief curator, Capc – Bordeaux Museum of Contemporary Art;
Charlotte Fouchet Ishii, director, Beaux-Arts de Cergy;
Xavier Franceschi, curator, Cnap, Paris;
Florian Gaité, philosopher and art critic;
Vanina Géré, art critic and teacher in art school;
Jean-Michel Géridan, director, Centre national du Graphisme, Chaumont;
Nathalie Giraudeau, director, Centre photographique d’Île-de-France, Pontault-Combault;
Bertrand Godot, head of contemporary art programming, Le Carré, Château Gontier;
Patrice Goasduff, co-director of contemporary art centre 40mcube, Rennes;
Vincent Gonzalvez, head of residency service, Cité internationale des arts, Paris;
Fabienne Grasser-Fulchéri, director of Espace de l’Art Concret, Mouans-Sartoux;
Victorine Grataloup, director of Triangle-Astérides, Marseille, co-chair of DCA;
Géraldine Gourbe, curator, Nantes;
Émilie Goudal, art historian and teacher at the University of Lille;
Ronan Grossiat, general secretary of ADIAF;
Magalie Guérin, deputy director, Villa Noailles, Hyères;
Léo Guy-Denarcy, deputy director, TALM-Tours;
Anya Harrison, curator, MO.CO. Montpellier Contemporain;
Camille Henrot, artist;
Frédéric Herbin, university lecturer and researcher, ENSA Bourges;
Fabrice Hergott, director of Musée d’art moderne de la Ville de Paris;
Emmanuel Hermange, director, EESAB – Lorient;
Pierre Huygue, artist;
Audrey Hoareau, director, CRP/ Centre régional de la photographie Hauts-de-France;
James Horton, teacher, researcher, and curator;
Sarah Ihler-Meyer, art critic and curator;
Fabien Jobard, political science researcher, CNRS;
Sophie Kaplan, co-chair of DCA;
Mathieu Kassovitz, filmmaker and actor;
Christelle Kirchstetter, general director, École nationale supérieure d’art et de design de Nancy;
Martha Kirszenbaum, curator and art critic;
Valérie Knochel Abecassis, director of La Maréchalerie - contemporary art centre;
Céline Kopp, director of Magasin CNAC, Grenoble, secretary of DCA;
Morgan Labar, director, École supérieure d’art d’Avignon;
Rebecca Lamarche-Vadel, curator;
Jack Lang, President of IMA, Paris;
Marine Lang, General Delegate, Mécènes du Sud Montpellier-Sète-Béziers;
Sofía Lanusse, curator; Emma Lavigne, curator;
Jasmine Lebert, director, 3 bis f, centre for contemporary visual and performing arts, Aix-en-Provence;
Elisabeth Lebovici, art critic;
Loïc Le Gall, director of Passerelle art centre, Brest, treasurer of DCA;
Marie Legoux, administrative director, Cité internationale des arts, Paris;
Sophie Legrandjacques, director of Grand Café, Saint-Nazaire;
Adeline Lépine, director of 19, Crac, Montbéliard;
Claire Le Restif, director, Crédac, Ivry-sur-Seine;
Inge Linder-Gaillard, director, Beaux-Arts de Marseille;
Sylvain Lizon, director of Villa Arson, Nice;
Mari Linnman, co-director of Société des Nouveaux commanditaires, Paris;
Cédric Loire, art historian, teacher, École supérieure d’art de Clermont Métropole, co-chair of ANdEA;
Ingrid Luche, artist, teacher at ENSA Bourges;
Claire Luna, independent curator and art critic;
Ingrid Luquet-Gad, art critic and researcher;
Alexandra McIntosh, director, Centre International d’Art et du Paysage, Île de Vassivière;
Aïssa Maïga, actress and filmmaker;
Julia Marchand, curator;
Tom Masson, director, Galerie C, Paris;
Madeleine Mathé, director, Le Confort Moderne, Poitiers;
Magalie Meunier, independent curator;
Maya Mihindou, artist; Stéphanie Moisdon, curator and art critic, Le Consortium, Dijon;
Julia Morandeira, director of Kadist, Paris;
Lucas Morin, curator, Art Jameel, Dubaï;
Nicolas H. Muller, artist, Paris; Amel Nafti, director, Ecole nationale supérieure d’art de Dijon;
Julien Nédélec, artist and teacher at ENSA Nantes;
Sophie Orlando, author-researcher, art theory teacher, Villa Arson, Nice;
Frédérique Pain, director, ENSCI Les Ateliers, Paris;
Verena Paravel, filmmaker, artist, anthropologist;
Sandra Patron, director, Capc, musée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux;
Delphine Paul, director, École supérieure des Beaux-arts de Nîmes;
Lætitia Paviani, author-artist, Montreuil;
Julie Pellegrin, curator and art critic;
Gerald Petit, artist and professor;
Natasa Petresin Bachelez, head of artistic and cultural programming, Cité internationale des arts, Paris;
Mathieu Potte-Bonneville, director of the Culture and Creation Department, Centre Pompidou, Paris;
Alessandra Prandin, director, CAP centre d’art contemporain, Saint-Fons;
Julien Prévieux, artist et teacher, Beaux-Arts de Paris;
Judith Quentel, director, Eesab-Quimper;
François Quintin, director of the Collection Lambert, Avignon;
Sandrine Rebeyrat, director, École supérieure d’art de Clermont Métropole;
Camille Richert, art historian, teacher, curator;
Isabelle Reiher, director of CCC OD, Tours, co-chair of DCA;
Émilie Renard, director of Bétonsalon, centre for art and research, Paris, co-chair of DCA;
Céline Savoye, director, ÉSAD de Reims;
Georgia René-Worms, author-curator;
Vincent Romagny, researcher and professor at ENSBA Lyon;
Elodie Royer, independent curator;
Olga Rozenblum, author-programmer, researcher, Beaux-Arts de Marseille;
Béatrice Salmon, director, Cnap – Centre national des arts plastiques, Paris;
Antonia Scintilla, director, Fondation Pernod Ricard, Paris;
Françoise Seince, director, Ensad Limoges;
Dirk Snauwaert, director of Wiels, Bruxelles;
Etienne Théry, director, École supérieure d’art de Lorraine – Épinal;
Emmanuel Tibloux, director, École des Arts Décoratifs, Paris;
Agnès Thurnauer, artist;
Annabela Tournon Zubieta, art historian and translator, teacher at École des arts décoratifs, Paris;
Stéphane Sauzedde, director, HEAR – Haute école des arts du Rhin, Strasbourg – Mulhouse;
Fanny Schulmann, curator, MAM Paris;
Manuel Segade, director, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid;
Sylvie Séma Glissant, Institut du Tout-Monde, Paris Martinique Caraïbes;
SMITH, artist;
François Taillade, director of Cyclop, Milly-la-Forêt;
Anne Stenne, curator;
Massinissa Selmani, artist;
Sam Stourdzé, director of the Académie de France à Rome – Villa Médicis, member of the board of directors of Palais de Tokyo;
Laure Tixier, artist and teacher at ENSA Bourges;
Sarah Tritz, artist and teacher at the École des arts décoratifs, Paris;
Elfi Turpin, director of Crac Alsace, Altkirch;
Sophie Vinet, director, Les Bains Douches, Alençon;
Marie Voignier, artist;
Sébastien Vonier, artist and teacher at EBABX Bordeaux;
Jocelyn Wolff, gallery owner, Paris;
Sandrine Wymann, director of La Kunsthalle, Mulhouse;
François Vitrani, President of the Institut du Tout-Monde;
Marie-Ann Yemsi, curator;
Giovanna Zapperi, professor of contemporary art history, University of Geneva.

If you would like to add your signature to this letter: Change.org