Discovering the 4th arrondissement: the Centre Pompidou
Today, we are discovering for you the "Centre Pompidou", the beating heart of Parisian modern art !
The History of the Pompidou Centre
The Pompidou Centre was the flagship cultural project of President Georges Pompidou to which it owes its name, and was opened in 1977 after five years of work and controversy. An international competition was conducted specifically for this project and the eventual winners were the architects Piano and Rogers, who distinguished themselves and were consequently entrusted with the construction of this amazing monument, in the 4th arrondissement of Paris, near Châtelet-les Halles. The president wanted to make this building 'both a museum and a creative centre, where visual arts exist alongside music, movies, books, audiovisual research, etc.'
Architecture and Presence in the Urban Space
Imposing and intriguing, the Centre features colourful pipes, metal walkways, glass facades and tubular stairs in the square of the Beaubourg district. If it has often been criticised in its early years, the Pompidou Centre is now an emblem of Paris, perfectly integrated into the urban and touristy area. In this lively and vibrant district, animated by street artists, you can also admire the Stravinsky Fountain, a real work in situ created by sculptors Jean Tinguely and Niki de Saint Phalle, and is a popular place for passers-by to stop. This visual and musical system helps to extend the influence of the Centre outside the main building - a bit like an open-air museum.
A Cultural Centre
The Pompidou Centre is best known for containing the first collection of modern art in Europe, and the third largest in the world. Along the galleries of the museum can be found the works of the great masters of Surrealism, Expressionism, Cubism and Abstract: Duchamp, Picasso, Dali, Klein, Pollock, and more. A contemporary section continues to host more recent works and there are numerous art installations. The Centre also has several theatres and busy film studios; not to mention the famous Public Information Library, the largest in Europe, with over 400,000 documents that can be freely accessed by researchers, students and other enthusiasts. As its founder wished, the Pompidou Centre provides privileged access to all the arts; photography, video and cinema, painting, graphic arts, music, performing arts, literature and poetry.
The wide range of temporary exhibitions also attracts the interest of the millions of visitors who flock to the doors of the Pompidou Centre each year. With five galleries reserved for ephemeral collections, the Centre regularly hosts the world's best exhibitions. Recent exhibitions include Lichtenstein (2013), Edvard Munch (2011), Pierre Soulages (2009), Kandinsky (2009) and Matisse (2012). An exhibition on Magritte is expected in 2017, and one on the subject of Gaston will soon be held in the Centre's library. Numerous forums and festivals occur throughout the year, allowing visitors to explore the history of art and to learn about new artistic practices.
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