“museum”

Centre Pompidou: pipe dreams

Delivered by architects Richard Rogers and Renzo Piano in 1977, the Centre Pompidou recently celebrated its 40th birthday. We retrace this museum, social and monumental adventure. An account of the “Pompidou touch”, an example of interdisciplinarity and cultural renown. The 40th birthday of the Centre National d’Art et de Culture Georges-Pompidou, in Paris, is a national event. The Centre Pompidou was quick to become a world icon, a symbol of France’s avant-garde spirit, supported by the French president Georges Pompidou, and known for its once contested architecture, designed by the Italian-British architectural duo, Richard Rogers and Renzo Piano. At the time, some compared the building to a supermarket… “All the better. People won’t be afraid of entering it,” Piano is said to have replied. “Pompidou wanted to reconcile France with the culture of his time, noting that while our country, under the influence of André Malraux, had turned to the arts with conviction, it experienced certain difficulties in taking in more recent innovations from contemporary creation,” observed the museum’s president from 1996 to 2002, Jean-Jacques Aillagon, to Le Figaro. Planted in a once working-class district, coming up with the museum plan, then building it, were real gambles, pulling along with it a few modern and contemporary art galleries, such as the very first one to set up in the area, Daniel Templon, at 30 Rue Beaubourg, in 1972, opposite the gaping hole that awaited the museum at the time. We should mention that on the international avant-garde scene – which was starting to globalise and meet strong competition –, Paris needed a museum to reshuffle the contemporary-art cards. Inaugurated in 1977 with an exhibition on Marcel Duchamp and curated by Jean Clair, the museum, directed by Pontus Hulten from Sweden at the time, put on one themed exhibition after...

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Data: Picabia, nihilism and humour at auctions

A painter with talent, cheekiness and an eventful life… Francis Picabia marked the 20th century with the eclecticism of his painting and his significant contribution to French and American intellectual life. And what does the market make of him? Francis-Marie Martinez de Picabia was born on 22 January 1879 in Paris. A single child born to parents representing Spanish aristocracy and French bourgeoisie, he grew up in a certain material comfort but was not spared from emotional affliction. He was seven when his mother died of tuberculosis, and he found himself stuck with his father, Juan Martinez Picabia, the Cuban consul in Paris, his bachelor uncle Maurice Davanne, a curator at the Sainte-Geneviève Library in Paris, and his grandfather Alphonse Davanne, a wealthy businessman and enthusiastic amateur photographer who at one time was president of the Société Française de Photographie. In this universe that was possibly a little too virile, Francis escaped boredom by painting. In 1895, after school, he signed up at the École des Arts Décoratifs with Braque and Marie Laurencin as his teachers. In 1899, Francis Picabia joined the Salon des Artistes Français thanks to his painting Une Rue aux Martigues. At the start of the 20th century, his painting owed a great deal to impressionism. He showed at the Salon d’Automne and the Salon des Indépendants, but also in galleries such as that of Berthe Weill or at the Galerie Haussmann. His paintings sold well. In 1908, Francis Picabia met Gabrielle Buffet, a young avant-garde musician who encouraged him to continue his research. Supported by his personal fortune, he gradually shook off his ties with his synthetic style and his dealers to trace a path through the 20th century’s “isms”: fauvism, futurism, cubism and orphism. His style stretched in all directions and adapted itself to every constraint, every manifesto. Some of his...

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Free admission to Toronto’s Aga Khan Museum for Syrian refugees

The Aga Khan Museum in Toronto is inviting Syrian refugees to visit its “Syria: A Living History” exhibition, running until 26 February 2017, at no charge. The museum’s general director, Henry Kim, declared: “We want Syrians to realise the value we place in their arrival in this country, and to understand that they are a vital part of the cultural mosaic of Canada.” The exhibition presents historic objects from a number of public and private collections, showing the influences of different cultures: Greek, Roman,...

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No official opening of the Louvre Abu Dhabi by French president

French president François Hollande has been stopped from officially opening the Louvre Abu Dhabi, whose construction has notched up a few technical problems. Its opening has now been postponed until November 2017. Originally, the museum was supposed to open in 2012. Work on the museum’s water basins and large cupola, designed by Jean Nouvel, has raised major obstacles for the project’s completion. The emirate has not however specified the reasons for the opening’s cancellation. François Hollande nonetheless wishes for a symbolic inauguration to be held before France’s next presidential elections in May...

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Fondazione Prada now bringing photography

The Fondazione Prada is to open a new photography gallery next month, in Milan’s oldest shopping arcade, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. According to The Art Newspaper, this photography gallery, on the fifth and sixth floors of the building in which Mario Prada opened his first store in 1913, will be named Osservatorio. The inaugural exhibition, called “Give Me Yesterday”, will be presenting works by fourteen Italian and international artists including Ryan McGinley, Joanna Piotrowska and Melanie Bonajo. The show is scheduled to start on 21 December and run until 12 March...

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