Art historian and curator Christine Macel has been announced as the new director of museums for Les Arts Décoratifs, in Paris. In her new role, which she will step into in early October, Macel will be responsible for the organization’s two museums, the Musée des Arts Décoratifs and the Musée Nissim de Camondo. (Les Arts Décoratifs additionally operates two schools, the École Camondo and the Ateliers du Carrousel.). She arrives from Paris’s Centre Pompidou, where she has served as chief curator since 2000. Macel replaces Olivier Gabet, who departed earlier this year to serve as director of the art department at the Louvre.
Macel is an expert in the areas of the art of the Middle East, North Africa, and the former Eastern Bloc. In her role as chief curator of the Louvre, she established and oversaw that institution’s “industrial creation center.” She has curated more than fifty shows, including solo exhibtions at the Louvre of the work of Sophie Calle, Gabriel Orozcom Philippe Parreno, Anri Sala, and Franz West. In 2017, she served as artistic director of the Fifty-Seventh Venice Biennale.
Her appointment came as a surprise to some, as her background is in contemporary art, rather than in heritage, design, or applied arts. “It is important for us to keep certain centuries-old works on display or in our collections because they still have so much to show us; it is our duty to study them from a decidedly contemporary perspective, sharing their beauty with the audience of today,” said museum board chair Johannes Huth. “This is Christine Macel’s vision.”
“Ever since my first brush with contemporary art,” Macel noted, “I’ve been fascinated by how its diversity, its porous nature, its tendency towards reciprocal contamination, all interact within the different fields of creation.”