The Musee D'Art Moderne is quite a piece of work.
When Gustave Eiffel unveiled his revolutionary piece of architecture, Le Tour Eiffel, in 1889, it was received with mixed emotion. It was destined to change the skyline of Paris forever, and met with much resistance. Likewise, the architects of the Centre Pompidou had to contend with their share of detractors.
Critics refer to it as “the oil refinery in the centre of the city”. It’s like a building turned inside-out. All of the service elements comprised of brightly colored tubes, are on the outside. The yellow ducts conduct electricity, blue is for air-conditioning, green is for the water system, and red is for transport (elevators). This revolutionary cultural center is home to the Musee National d’Art Moderne. The museum was initially housed in the Palais de Tokyo, where it opened in 1947. It reopened in the Centre Pompidou in 1977 and occupies the 4th and 5th floors of the building.
The collection is said to contain about 59,000 works of art, but only a small portion of that is on display. Pieces rotate in and out, exhibits are constantly in flux, which in itself is a very modern concept for a museum. The collection mixes media, from painting and photography, to cinema, sculpture, new media and design art.
The museum is divided into two categories: art from 1905 until 1960, and art from 1960 to the present. Fine examples of the work of Picasso, Matisse, Braque, Miro, Kandinsky and Klee, among others, chart the development of the modern art styles.
Warhol, Oldenburg, Jasper Johns and Frank Stella lead us through the mid-20th century. There are video exhibits, mixed media, and a screening room with access to visual and audio recordings of many artists.
If you are of the opinion that Paris is all about antiquity, the Centre Pompidou will shake you out of your stupor. The architects, Richard Rogers and Renzo Piano have created a new hang in an old neighborhood, the Beaubourg.
MUSEE NATIONAL D'ART MODERNE
Place Georges Pompidou
Metro: Rambuteau, Chatelet, Hotel de Ville
Open 11am-10pm Wednesday-Monday
Accepts Paris Museum Pass