A report by the Court of Auditors highlights Palais de Tokyo’s weaknesses

Inaugurated in January 2002, the Palais de Tokyo occupies 22,000 square meters and is the most spacious art center in Europe2 In central Paris, which recently celebrated its 20th anniversary, the era of the necessary balance sheet, the Court of Auditors made the point in a report published on March 2. A thorough review of its governance, management and guidance has revealed its inherent fragility, exacerbated by the pandemic.However, the Cambon Street agency’s observations are not alarming and call for more to be done “refined” Working with the state on issues of transparency and setting local examples depends on both public and private funding.

Known to people in the region as “PalTok”, created in a joint form, it was established in 2011 as a single-person simplified joint stock company (SASU) with the state as its sole shareholder. Assumed to be more flexible than a public institution, this status is intended to facilitate its commercial development. It is not without raising ethical questions, however, as its leaders are exempt from the favor of the High Authority for Transparency in Public Life when they join the private sector. This was the case in 2021, when its president, Emma Lavigne, departed for the Bourse de commerce-Collection Pinault, the German artist Anne Imhof at the Palais de Tokyo that same year.

In order to avoid the risk of conflict of interest, the art center has since introduced internal regulations that were considered insufficient by the Audit Court, calling on the Ministry of Culture to be more vigilant about the appointment of the board of directors. “Interested in the evolution of ratings for certain contemporary artists”.

leaky building

The report also questioned the economic model of the agency, which is part of the culture ministry but must derive around 60 percent of its budget from the private sector. Between 2012 and 2018, Palais de Tokyo tripled its cash flow, but Covid-19 brought the tail end of the game. This follows SASU’s accounts which were also affected in 2016 after a whopping €259,000 of ticket revenue was embezzled by an agent who was later dismissed and subsequently hit by successive defaults on payments by two franchisees . Giving carte blanche to an artist who takes over an entire site is also sometimes unprofitable. Consequently, according to reports, the losses entrusted to Anne Imhof amounted to 1.3 million euros.

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