French Museum Calls Report on Vincent Honoré’s Suicide ‘Exploitation of a Tragic Event’

French Museum Calls Report on Vincent Honoré’s Suicide ‘Exploitation of a Tragic Event’

MO.CO, a contemporary art museum in Montpellier, France, accused a French art publication of “exploitation” on Friday after it ran a report on the suicide of Vincent Honoré, who formerly served as the institution’s head of exhibitions.

Le Quotidien de l’Art reported last week that Honoré’s suicide had been determined a “work accident” by French social security and featured allegations from unnamed MO.CO workers who claimed Honoré had a tense relationship with museum management. The publication quoted a text from Honoré to a friend in which he said he felt “trapped.”

In an unusual move, MO.CO issued a lengthy statement Friday rebutting the Le Quotidien de l’Art article, saying that the museum considered the report “an unbearable exploitation of a tragic event which deserves dignified, measured and respectful treatment for all.”

The museum said it had set up a “psychological support unit” for staff there following Honoré’s suicide in November and wrote that his “memory was sensitively honored” in a number of ways, including via the staging of a Huma Bhabha exhibition that he had organized, which the museum has offered to the public free of charge.

Responding to Honore’s text about feeling “trapped,” the museum said that he had never taken sick leave “in recent years,” and that it had never denied a request by him for time off.

Le Quotidien de l’Art reported that Honoré had been facing a “hidden demotion” just prior to his death wherein certain unspecified responsibilities were to be taken away from him. MO.CO denied this, saying that his “positions and responsibilities have never been called into question.”

The museum did not deny that French social security had determined his suicide was a “work accident,” noting that the institution confirmed receipt of the decision in March. MO.CO is currently appealing that decision.

Honoré was 48 when he died by suicide last year. He had been head of exhibitions since 2019, and had before that been senior curator at the Hayward Gallery in London, where he gained a reputation as a closely-watched figure in the European scene.

The post “French Museum Calls Report on Vincent Honoré’s Suicide ‘Exploitation of a Tragic Event’” by Alex Greenberger was published on 06/07/2024 by