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Centre Pompidou’s chief US fundraiser awarded France’s top honour for boosting acquisitions of American art

The Beaubourg gallery also appoints a new curator tasked with discovering young Chinese artists

by Gareth Harris  |  8 June 2016
Centre Pompidou’s chief US fundraiser awarded France’s top honour for boosting acquisitions of American art
Steven Guttman
The French government has bestowed its highest honour on Steven Guttman, the chair of the Centre Pompidou Foundation, the US philanthropic and fundraising arm of the Paris museum. Guttman, the founder and chairman of UOVO, a fine art storage and collection management services, has been head of the non-profit organisation since 2012.

He was awarded the Chevalier de l’Ordre national de la Légion d’honneur (Chevalier of the French Legion of Honour) for his instrumental role “in acquiring and encouraging gifts of American works of art for the Centre Pompidou”, according to a statement. Since it was established in 1977, more than 450 works valued at over $50m in total have been acquired by the foundation for the Centre Pompidou.

Meanwhile, the Pompidou is making in-roads into the contemporary art scene in China with the recent appointment of Yung Ma as curator in the contemporary and prospective creation department. Yung, who takes up the post for three years from 13 June, is currently the associate curator at the M+ museum in Hong Kong.

The new role falls under a three-year partnership agreement established last year between the K11 Art Foundation, founded by the Hong Kong-based billionaire Adrian Cheng, and the Centre Pompidou.

According to a Pompidou statement: “Yung Ma will focus on developing an in-depth knowledge of different movements, as well as identifying outstanding young artists, from Greater China. Over the course of his tenure, he will also have opportunities to organise with Centre Pompidou’s team, a number of programmes, co-presented by K11 Art Foundation.” Officials at the Centre Pompidou plan to open a temporary exhibition space in Seoul next year, and another in China in 2018 (the latter is due to remain open for five years).

In the past two years, the K11 Art Foundation has launched a raft of curatorial initiatives, having collaborated with several European institutions including the Palais de Tokyo and the Musée Marmottan Monet, both in Paris, and the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London.

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