Museums France

The Centre Pompidou shakes up its US fundraising arm

New leadership following fall out between the President of the Paris museum and former chairman of the American foundation

From left, Alfred Pacquement, director of the Musée National d’Art Moderne; Estrellita Brodsky, the new vice president of the Centre Pompidou Foundation; Alain Seban, president of the Centre Pompidou; Ann Colgin, the new secretary of the executive committee and Steven Guttman, the new chairman of the Centre Pompidou Foundation

The Pompidou Centre in Paris has appointed a new chairman to its US philanthropic arm, the Centre Pompidou Foundation, following a clash between Alain Seban, the Pompidou president, and Robert Rubin, the former chair. Steven Guttman, the founder of the New York-based company Storage Deluxe who has been on the Foundation's executive committee for the past three years, replaces Rubin.

The dispute was sparked earlier this year when Rubin, a former commodities trader, strongly criticised Seban's managerial style, including the Pompidou chief's decision to hire Fabrice Bousteau, the editor-in-chief of Beaux Arts magazine, as co-curator of the 2011 exhibition "Paris-Delhi-Bombay". Seban defended the move and rebutted Rubin's charge that the show "cost two to three times more [to mount] than other Pompidou exhibitions".

Seban told Agence France-Presse that Rubin “resigned a few weeks ago when the executive committee denounced Rubin’s comments.” Not so, says Rubin who told our sister paper Le Journal des Arts: “I left the Foundation of my own accord. I made this decision when Seban’s contract was renewed… I supported the Foundation before he joined the Centre Pompidou and I will continue to do so after he’s gone.” Rubin tells The Art Newspaper that Jean Prouvé’s Tropical House, 1951, which he donated to the Foundation in 2005, will enter the collection.

Meanwhile, Seban wants the Centre Pompidou Foundation to bring in more cash. "We need to raise money in the US; the Foundation has not been able to do this so far," Seban said (The Art Newspaper, Frieze New York, 3-4 May). Rubin responded that the value of works donated since 2006 is $19m. Members and officers of the Foundation board give between $20,000 and $100,000 annually.

Seban says that developing “an acquisition strategy [for the Foundation] which does not rely solely on donations” is now a priority, with the US organisation required to seek supplementary funding streams. The amount raised for this new fund currently stands at $200,000.

He adds: "I will support the Foundation in developing its range of activities towards high profile fundraising in order to support acquisitions but also research and publishing projects. I also fully embrace the Foundation’s announcement that it will reach out to the Latin American art community."

Guttman previously served on the board of the Miami Art Museum and was the North American chairman of the museum's international committee. The independent curator Estrellita Brodsky, the Foundation’s new vice chairman, was previously co-chair of the board at El Museo Del Barrio in New York.

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