Centre Pompidou

Thursday, 1/15/09

The Outside of Pompidou:


Visite des chef-d’oeuvres du Centre Pompidou 

We visited the Centre Pompidou with a new tour guide - Anne, a specialist in modern art.  We started our tour with an explanation of the Centre Pompidou's unique structure- with all of its pipes visible on the inside and outside.  The museum structure is in itself a work of modern art, but its pragmatic purpose is to be able to present very large installations and works of art.  The first chefs-d'oeuvre - masterpiece - we saw exemplified different avant-garde styles from the beginning of the twentieth century.  The colors and shapes of the paintings we looked at were much less realistic than any art we had seen in Paris so far.  Anne asked us if we thought that an abstract sculpture from the early 20th century was art and we all of course said “yes.” Then when we saw a more radical work, and she asked again if this was a piece was art. This time no one said anything- the piece was a signed toilet bowl (a replica of Marcel Duchamp’s famous urinal).  Anne explained the artist's motive in creating this piece: that art is anything the artist views as art, and it does not matter how much personal time or work was put into creating it.  We continued on with many more vibrant modern pieces.  Unfortunately, we had a very busy schedule and had to leave without seeing too much art of the past decade, but what we did see was great.


A few examples of what we saw:


View of Paris with statues in the foreground: