Olivier Michelon Tapped as New Chief Curator of the Fondation Louis Vuitton

Will Michelon manage to bolster the foundation's reputation?

Olivier Michelon will be the new chief curator of the Foundation Louis Vuitton in Paris from March 2016.
Photo: La Depeche.

Olivier Michelon, who has been at the helm of the Musée des Abattoirs—the FRAC institution in the Midi-Pyrenees region—for over three years, will leave his position in Toulouse to become the new chief curator at the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris next March.

In a statement released on December 3, the modern and contemporary art museum in Toulouse said that Michelon would still be in charge of its upcoming exhibition dedicated to Antoni Tàpies, which opens on February 12.

Michelon was appointed as head of Les Abattoirs in March 2012, when he was 36 years old. He previously worked at the Musée départemental d’art contemporain de Rochechouart in the French region of Haute-Vienne, France 3 reports.

The museum has announced that a recruitment panel will soon start looking for a replacement for Michelon. In the meantime, the museum’s chief financial officer, Arnaud Segond, and the curator and director of collections, Valentin Rodriguez, will be in charge of the institution.

Fondation Louis Vuitton, in ParisPhoto: ©Iwan Baan

Fondation Louis Vuitton, in Paris
Photo: ©Iwan Baan.

The much-awaited $143 million Fondation Louis Vuitton—LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault’s long-held dream—opened to the public on October 27, 2014, after a special inaugural weekend that coincided with the Parisian art fair FIAC.

Designed by Frank Gehry, with whom Arnault first started discussing plans back in 2001, the building’s construction officially began in 2008 in the Bois de Boulogne, a sprawling green lung in an affluent area west of Paris.


Bernard Arnault.
Photo: © 2014 Patrick McMullan Company, Inc.

But pundits haven’t been so keen on the results so far. Among many other critical voices, artnet News’s Benjamin Genocchio called it a “handbag palace on steroids,” while the young art writer and artnet news contributor Christie Chu deemed it “a real missed opportunity for my generation to experience art in a new way.”

This might explain why the foundation has decided to bring in a new chief curator, shortly after its first anniversary. Maybe what the foundation needs in order to connect with the international public is fresh blood, an innovative outlook, and a solid curatorial record like Michelon’s.

Fondation Louis Vuitton, in ParisPhoto: ©Iwan Baan

Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris
Photo: ©Iwan Baan.

Another possible reason for the new appointment could be connected to the rumor that Arnault’s competitor both in business and art world status, François Pinault, head of luxury goods giant Kering, is currently looking at potential sites for his own private museum in Paris.

Follow Artnet News on Facebook:

Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.
Article topics