Toulouse Art Festival 2015 Cancelled

Jorge Pardo at Musée des Augustins © Studio Jorge Pardo. Photo: Nicolas Brasseur for the Festival international d'art de Toulouse 2014

In a decision that has taken many by surprise, the Festival international d’art de Toulouse, slated for next May, has been cancelled just six months before it was due to open.

The town hall of this southern French city has cut the €1.5 million budget by 10 percent and offered to turn the yearly festival into a biennial. It was and remains the event’s main funder.

“I don’t understand why the decision had to be taken so quickly,” Penelope Curtis, the president of the scientific committee and director of London’s Tate Britain, told the Quotidien de l’Art. “It’s too sudden. It would have been possible to do the next edition and then think about what to do next. I’m disappointed for the artists.”

The artist Jean-Marc Bustamante, who has served as artistic director since 2012 (after a first stint between 2004 and 2006), didn’t hesitate to call the decision a “coup.” “It was like: ‘Thank you Jean-Marc and good-bye’,” he said.

Although the town hall insists it was still early days in the project, parts of the program were already well underway, including an homage to the late Austrian artist Franz West.

“Jean-Marc Bustamante is disappointed and I can understand,” the delegate in charge of the event, Frédérique Mehdi, told Le Monde. But cumulating two years’ worth of budget “would allow more ambitious projects,” she argued. “This isn’t political interference, but a real proposition.”


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