Paris' Biennale (1959-85)

    The Biennale of Paris was created in 1959, at the beginning of André Malraux’s tenure as Minister of Culture. It was intended as a way of promoting France’s interests on the global art scene and its main difference with other such events had to do with its emphasis on the emerging artists. The first editions of the Biennale were organized by Raymond Cogniat and Jacques Lassaigne who were both civil servants and whose career had started at a time when Paris’ role was supposed to be central in the art world. By the end of the 1960s when this was obviously no longer the case, Paris’ Biennale evolved in another direction, that of an event of a more experimental and political nature, and even more so after the art critic Georges Boudaille replaced Lassaigne in 1971. After the creation of the Centre Pompidou in 1977 and the arrival of Jack Lang as the new Minister of Culture in the early 1980s, the Biennale entered a major identity crisis that eventually caused its disappearance in 1985, after having tried to expand on a larger scale for its last edition.