The Georges Pompidou Centre is the next art mecca featured in our Parisian series of new “Art in Real Life” posts. After the massive and crowded Louvre (where we saw a huge variety of paintings from 1280-1845), I found it exciting to experience art from the last century in the dynamic and slightly less touristy Pompidou Centre. Inside, I took a handful of photos that demonstrate the wide variety of sizes that Modern and Contemporary artists employed when constructing their masterpieces. It was certainly enlightening to see these works of art in their actual contexts and experience them on a human scale.
The Pompidou Centre can be confusing. First of all, it’s not just a museum. Scratch that – it’s not a museum at all. The Centre is really a complex that houses the Musée National d’Art Moderne (which is a museum) as well as a cinema, library, venue for exhibitions, restaurant, and a center for acoustic and music research. All of this is encased in a Renzo Piano/Richard Rogers building that was completed in 1977–a striking inside-out design that led to its label as Paris’s “own monster.” However, the building has also been credited by the New York Times with turning “the architecture world upside down . . . [it] revolutionized museums, transforming what had once been elite monuments into popular places of social and cultural exchange, woven into the heart of the city” (click here for the full article).
The museum within boasts the largest collection of Modern and Contemporary Art in Europe: over 60,000 objects. And despite being in a large complex, the two floors in the Centre devoted to art are in fact extremely easy to navigate and visitor-friendly. The first floor highlights the various movements of Modern Art as you move from room to room, while the second explores themes and materials prominent in the Contemporary Art world. While it was exciting to see in person many of the artworks I’d studied in school, I also enjoyed engaging with the collection’s lesser-known works by important artists. I’ve included some of them here and I hope you enjoy them as well.
Read on to view some of the Pompidou’s Modern and Contemporary masterpieces!