The Art World Rallies to Save Paris’s Art Space Le Plateau at the Eleventh Hour

To fight the possible closure, over 200 artists and art world personalities signed an open letter addressed to Mayor Anne Hidalgo.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo earlier this month. Photo: Richard Bord/Getty Images For Les Napoleons.

Last week, FRAC Île-de-France’s Paris location, Le Plateau, was in danger of closing in the face of a total discontinuation of municipal funding for 2018. Over 200 Artists and art world professionals including Camille Henrot, Daniel Buren, and Hans-Ulrich Obrist, penned an open letter to Paris’s Mayor, Anne Hidalgo, asking her to reconsider, and on Monday, December 11, when the city voted on its annual budget, it tempered its withdrawal as a result of this support.

FRAC Le Plateau is part of France’s regional collection of contemporary art, which is spread over 23 exhibition spaces across the country, each funded by the state and their local regions. Last year the space welcomed 15,000 visitors including 7,000 school children.

Buying up the work of mostly emerging artists since 2000, the FRAC has the third largest collection in the country, after the national center of visual arts (CNAP) and of the national modern art museum housed in the Centre Pompidou.

Le Plateau, which has been in the city’s Belleville neighborhood since 2002, has presented solos of Pierre Paulin, Ryan Gander, Charles Avery, Keren Cytter, and Cao Fei.

The signed letter first appeared on December 4 in the French newspaper Libération, alleging that from 2018 the City of Paris could withdraw funding from the space. 

The city said it would withdraw its €140,000 contribution to Frac le Plateau’s €1.9 million total budget, with the region covering around €1.5 million and the state supplying the rest. The cut, according to the Plateau’s direction, would have put the venue in great jeopardy, especially considering the city’s €40,000 slash to its subsidy back in 2016.

To fight the possible closure, over 200 artists and art world personalities signed the open letter addressed to Mayor Anne Hidalgo, urging her to reconsider the devastating impact the withdrawal of funding could have on “one of the major institutions of contemporary creation in France.”

On Monday, December 11, the Paris Council voted to maintain some of its aid, €95,000, for 2018. A statement from Le Plateau officials credits the newspaper campaign and the outpouring of public support for the venue for the city’s change of heart.

“Thanks to this decision, the program planned especially in Paris and Plateau next year will be largely maintained. We would like to warmly thank all those who made this vote possible, all those who have shown their support for the Plateau and the actions we are taking.”

The full letter signed by members of the art world is translated from the French below:

Long live the Plateau, the Frac île-de-France location in Paris! Open letter to Anne Hidalgo, Mayor of Paris.

We learn that the City of Paris plans to remove the aid it grants to the Regional Contemporary Art Fund Île-de-France from 2018. As artists, curators, and personalities from the world of art and culture, we wish to share our total consternation with you.

With Le Plateau, Frac Île-de-France has been in Paris since 2002, and has established itself as one of the major institutions of contemporary creation in France. Multiplying its activities throughout the Region, Le Plateau changed the landscape of contemporary art in Paris itself, thanks to the support of the City of Paris, the State and the Île-de-France Region. Does removing your support for the Plateau not risk seeing it disappear?

This place, the fruit of a citizen battle led by an association of residents of Paris’s nineteenth arrondissement, revealed many artists and young curators who were able to lead their first major projects. In many cases, the work done has opened the door to international recognition.

Plateau Frac Île-de-France introduced these artists to the Parisian public – initiated, amateur, but also removed from any cultural offer. By multiplying the partnerships with other actors in the field of culture, the National Education and the social field, Le Plateau asserts itself as the bridgehead of “Grand Belleville’s” artistic network of today, it is a remarkable local anchorage. Its mediation policy, marked by free access to exhibitions and events, is considered a model of its kind.

That is why we can neither understand nor accept the announcement that has just been made and we invite you, Madam Mayor, to reconsider your position, especially in consultation with the other two major contributors, the State and the île-de-France region, so that Frac Île-de-France is not amputated and that it can, with Le Plateau, continue to carry out its missions for the greater benefit of Parisians.

First signataires: Daniel Buren, Ulla von Brandenburg, Pierre Huyghe, Ryan Gander, Christian Bernard, Camille Henrot, Sophie Calle, Carsten Höller, François Barré, Pierre Paulin, Valérie Jouve, Annette Messager, Hans-Ulrich Obrist, Saadane Afif, Bernard de Montferrand, Philippe Parreno, Claude Lévèque, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Michel Blazy, Olivier Cadiot, Loris Gréaud, Fabrice Hyber, Christian Boltanski, Lola Gonzalez, Xavier Veilhan, Marc-Olivier Wahler, Aurélien Froment, Jean-Philippe Toussaint, Olivier Mosset, Philippe Quesne, Sarkis, Jean de Loisy, Philippe Artières, Philippe Decrauzat, Richard Fauguet, David Douard, Maria Inés Rodríguez, Jean-Marc Bustamante, Lili Reynaud-Dewar, Melvin Moti, Haris Epaminonda, Stéphane Dafflon, François Aubart, Alfred Pacquement, Claude Rutault, Laurent Montaron, Charles Esche, Gallien Dejean, Alejandro Cesarco, Caroline Bourgeois, Natasa Petresin, Alexia Fabre, Marie Cozette, Germaine de Liencourt, Elisabeth Lebovici, Melik Ohanian, Gyan Panchal, Ange Leccia, Pascal Rambert, Daniel Guerlain, Jean-Pascal Flavien, Elisabeth Ballet, Bruno Serralongue, Dove Allouche, Julien Berthier, Xavier Antin, Sylvie Fanchon, Claude Closky, Daniel Gustav Cramer, Pierre Bismuth, Laurent Grasso, Nicolas Bourriaud, Eric de Chassey, Kaye Donachie, Corey McCorkle, Isabelle Cornaro, João Maria Gusmão / Pedro Paiva, Natacha Nisic, Charles Avery, Mathieu Copeland, Damir Očko, François Curlet, Yoann Gourmel, Elodie Royer, Bertrand Lamarche, Zin Taylor, Vincent Ganivet, Karina Bisch, Pierre Bal-Blanc, Bernard Quesniaux, Miriam Cahn, Guillaume Leblon, Didier Trénet, Marcel Türkowsky, Sophie Legrandjacques, Mario Garcia Torres, Laurent Pariente, Elise Florenty, Joachim Koester, Stéphane Calais, Maxime Boidy, Johannes Kahrs, Romain Bernini, Charlotte Laubard, Florian et Michael Quistrebert, Olivier Vadrot, Ana Jotta, François Piron, Hans-Walter Müller, Clément Rodzielski, Hou Hanru, Benoît Maire, Catherine Elkar, Jean-Charles Vergne, Francesco Gennari, Benjamin Seror, Bruno Peinado, Paula Aisemberg, Alexandra Baudelot, Julien Prévieux, Nathalie Giraudeau, Nathalie Ergino, Franck Scurti, Jonathan Pouthier, Françoise Docquiert, Jean- Michel Sanejouand, Pierre-Olivier Arnaud, Sylvie Boulanger, Bernard Goy, Patrick Javault, Thomas Boutoux, Virginie Yassef, Nina Childress, Véronique Souben, Michel François, Francis Gelin, Mathieu Abonnenc, Céline Poulin, Jean-Luc Verna, Claire Le Restif, Ami Barak, Sylvie Froux, Sophie Auger, Lionel Balouin, Guillaume Désanges, Mathieu Mercier, Lucy Skaer, Catherine David, Emilie Renard, Mark Geffriaud, Michel Gauthier, Marta Gili, Romain Pellas, Etienne Bernard…


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