Palais de Tokyo Founder to Lead Fledgling Mexican Culture Center

Janice K. Johnson


French critic and curator Jérôme Sans, who twenty years ago cofounded the Palais de Tokyo in Paris with Nicolas Borriaud, will serve as the inaugural creative director of cultural center Lago/Algo, which opened in February in Mexico City, ArtReview reports. Lago/Algo, which occupies a restored 1964 lakefront pavilion in Chapultepec Park, is a dual-purpose cultural hub, with the Lago space housing a restaurant, and the Algo space serving as an arts venue under the auspices of Mexico City’s Galería OMR. The gallery in a press release referred to Algo as a “vibrant laboratory for new social and cultural models enlightened by the most radical contemporary practices.”

Sans is no stranger to the concept of the laboratory, having with Borriaud grown the Palais de Tokyo within just a few years to France’s largest non-collecting museum of contemporary art and one of the most important arts institutions in Europe. Following a two-year stint as artistic director of the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead, UK, he served from 2008 to 2012 as the first director of Beijing’s Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (now UCCA Center for Contemporary Art). He has curated a number of international exhibitions, including the Taipei Biennial, the Lyon Biennial, and the Danish pavilion at the Venice Biennale.

Lago/Algo has courted controversy since being announced as part of a billion-peso ($50 million) overhaul of the heavily forested park, which is frequently characterized as Mexico City’s “lungs” and which contains nine other museums, including the Museo Tamayo and the Museo Nacional de Antropología. Critics have looked askance at the handing over of Algo, an ostensibly nonprofit public space, to a commercial gallery. Artist Gabriel Orozco, who in 2021 was appointed by Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador to take charge of the park reimagining, has been accused of spending profligately on the project while the federal arts budget has suffered severe cuts and arts institutions in less wealthy areas go unserved.

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