Daniel Buren Files Complaint for Intellectual Property Infringement against Iheap Art School in Paris

Daniel BurenPhoto via: Coze
Daniel Buren
Photo via: Coze

The French artist Daniel Buren has filed a complaint at the High Court of Paris accusing the Iheap (Institute de Hautes Études en Arts Plastiques) of “unfair and parasitic competition and infringement of intellectual property.”

According to a press release by the Paris-based art school, Buren is attempting “to destroy a pedagogical and critical project similar to the one he preached at [his] time as professor of IHEAP.”

The original IHEAP was launched in 1988, after the City of Paris commissioned the iconic curator Pontus Hulten to create a graduate school for contemporary art research in the style of the Bauhaus and Black Mountain College.

Buren was one of its permanent teachers, alongside other luminaries like Niki de Saint-Phalle and Jean-François Lyotard. The school operated until 1995.

In 2012, the organization that also runs the Biennale de Paris opened the Iheap, re-purposing the name (in lowercase, this time) of its predecessor. The school offers a two-year postgraduate diploma program open to a wide range of professionals—including artists, historians, philosophers, and writers—for a tuition fee of €2990.

Buren isn’t impressed. Already in 2012, shortly after the launch of the project, he posted an open letter on his website, on behalf of the association Friends of the IHEAP, stating that the pretended continuity of the school was a farce.

“We want to let people know that IHEAP has absolutely no connection with this fake-Iheap, and warn those who might show interest precisely because of the affiliation, that this fake-Iheap is but an usurpation,” says the letter.

Buren also took issue with the charging policy of the new iteration: “While the IHEAP remunerated young artists attending the sessions, it’s interesting to note that the fake-Iheap wants to make them pay! It is a dishonest intellectuality destined to fleece the gullible,” he complained.

Buren wasn’t immediately available for comment when contacted by artnet News.

For more on Daniel Buren see artnet News’ Top 10 Most Expensive Living French Artists.


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