Didier Fusillier appointed head of the Réunion des musées nationaux-Grand Palais

From Maubeuge to La Villette, via Lille 3000, Didier Fusillier has proved himself an expert in the art of creating cultural events that are both cutting-edge and accessible to the general public. Having held the position of Director of the Parc et Grande Halle de La Villette since 2015, this fervent promoter of culture will take over the reins of the Réunion des musées nationaux et du Grand Palais des Champs-Élysées, as of September 1. This follows the departure of Chris Dercon, who is now heading up the Fondation Cartier.


A breath of fresh air for the national museums segment. On the recommendation of Rima Abdul Malak, the French Minister of Culture, the President of the Republic on Wednesday appointed Didier Fusillier as President of the Établissement public de la Réunion des musées nationaux et du Grand Palais des Champs-Élysées. His five-year term will begin on September 1, 2023.


“His name was an obvious choice, as he is capable of implementing a project aimed at the general public,” confides the Elysée. “The successful activation of a site as complicated as La Villette convinced Emmanuel Macron that he could brilliantly activate that of the Grand Palais.”


Rima Abdul Malak hailed the appointment of “this great cultural professional, bubbling with ideas, who will be able to put his vision, experience, talent for cooperation and sense of innovation at the service of the Rmn-GP and its multiple professions.”


Democratizing culture


Born in 1959, Didier Fusillier began his career in Maubeuge by creating the “Les inattendus” and “le Via” festivals, before directing the Manège, Scène Nationale, a cross-border project between Maubeuge and Mons in Belgium. From 1993 to 2015, he headed the Maison des arts de Créteil (MAC). During this period, he also oversaw the implementation of Lille’s project as European Capital of Culture for 2004. He subsequently directed the Lille 3000 cultural program.


From 2015, Didier Fusillier was President of the Établissement public du Parc et de la Grande Halle de La Villette, where he established a dynamic of openness and transversality through a rich program aimed at all types of audiences. The latter has combined renowned artists and new talent, cutting-edge experimentation and major popular events, bringing together a vast network of partners. Didier Fusillier is also the creator and promoter of the “micro-folies”, a concept developed in collaboration with 12 national cultural establishments and local authorities. This network, which includes almost 400 installations across the country and has an international reach, has made a major contribution to making art accessible to as many people as possible.


As head of the Réunion des musées nationaux et du Grand Palais, Didier Fusillier’s mission will be to complete the restoration of the Grand Palais in preparation for the Olympic and Paralympic Games, and then to successfully reopen the site by reviving the major events and emblematic exhibitions that characterize this institution.


Ground-breaking strategic partnership


Didier Fusillier will be working closely with the Centre Pompidou in an innovative strategic alliance during the period when the Beaubourg site is due to close, from 2025 to 2030. This initiative will create an exceptional program in six galleries of the Grand Palais, highlighting the collections of the national museum of modern art.


In keeping with its history since the 1900 Universal Exhibition, the renovated Grand Palais will play a central role in promoting the creative industries. Whether it’s fashion, crafts, gastronomy, publishing, art galleries or photography, the Grand Palais will reinforce its role as a catalyst for cultural enterprises and help consolidate Paris’s position on the international stage.


Didier Fusillier intends to exploit the renovated modular spaces, gardens, outdoor areas and numerous nooks and crannies of the building, as well as the calendar, to the benefit of the stakeholders involved, notably Universcience (manager of the Palais de la découverte) and the Centre Pompidou, as well as the organizers of fairs and exhibitions. The aim is to create a new programming dynamic, broaden the audience and attract more of the younger generation. Thanks to his local experience, he will be keen to support the sixteen national museums managed by RMN-GP. In addition, he will seek to establish partnerships with various public and private stakeholders in the regions, with a view to organizing exhibitions, festivities, immersive projects and artistic discovery workshops.


Thanks to Chris Dercon


Rima Abdul Malak also expressed her gratitude to Chris Dercon, who led the Réunion des musées nationaux and the Grand Palais from 2019 to 2023. Under his leadership, the Grand Palais restoration project has taken a new direction, characterized by a more sober, environmentally friendly approach in harmony with the monument’s history. Despite the challenges posed by the health crisis, Chris Dercon has injected new energy into programming, cultural mediation, the establishment of new partnerships, and a renewed approach to events organized within the ephemeral Grand Palais and, soon, in the nave of the Grand Palais.


The success of projects such as Paris+ by Art Basel, the exhibition dedicated to Anselm Kiefer, the immersive Grand Palais, the MUSE itineraries deployed in Saint Dizier, Maubeuge and Barentin, and the ambitious EuroFabrique initiative, which brought together 400 students from French and European art schools, bear witness to this dynamic. The Minister of Culture would also like to express her gratitude to Christophe Chauffour, Deputy Managing Director of Rmn-GP, for acting as interim Chairman over the past few weeks.



Read also>The French government announces a national strategy to promote arts and crafts

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