The French Ministry of Culture appoints Xavier Rey, 39, director of the National Museum of Modern Art at the Center Pompidou
Xavier Rey was appointed director of the Musée national d’art moderne du Center Pompidou, one of the most coveted positions in the French museum world, at the age of 39. Rey is currently director of the Museums of Marseille; he takes office on October 1, replacing Bernard Blistène who resigned last month.
Rey is part of a new regime, joining Laurent Le Bon, director of the Musée national Picasso-Paris, who was appointed president of the Center Pompidou last month in Paris, succeeding Serge Lasvignes who left on June 28.
He joined the institution at a difficult time. The Center Pompidou in Paris will close for four years from the end of 2023 for essential maintenance work. The plan is for the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of France, designed by Richard Rogers and Renzo Piano and inaugurated in 1977, to reopen in time for its 50th anniversary in 2027.
The Center Pompidou also got bogged down in a management feud after it was initially announced that Blistène would share the management of Kanal-Center Pompidou in Brussels with Kasia Redzisz despite a majority vote of the international jury for the latter candidate. Redzisz was then appointed sole artistic director.
Since his appointment in 2017, Rey has directed numerous exhibitions at the 19 museum sites in Marseille, including Picasso: Imaginary Voyages in 2018 and Man Ray and Fashion at the Cantini museum in 2019. He was previously director of collections at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, organizing large-scale exhibitions such as Cezanne Portraits in 2017.
Rey has also worked closely with Chinese institutions, organizing an exhibition of 87 paintings by 19th-century French artists from the collection of the Musée d’Orsay at the China Art Museum in Shanghai in 2012. The experience should prove useful to him. in light of the Center Pompidou’s nascent relationship with Chinese authorities after the Paris gallery established a satellite branch in Shanghai in 2019.