On the first Sunday of every month, Paris opens its museum doors to everyone--free. Though we haven't always taken advantage of this, today we decided to hop the metro and head to the Centre Georges Pompidou, in the 4th arrondissement of Paris.
The Centre Pompidou is known for hosting the Modern Art museum of France, as well as a large library, bookstore, and cinema. The building has been quite controversial, due to its colorful, very modern and different architecture. We went up to the 5th level, and looked around Paris, with a view of the Eiffel Tower, Sacre Coeur, St. Eustache--it was absolutely breathtaking.
We went in to to start in the "Big Bang" exhibition. As we walked by famous pieces of art I'd studied or heard about, as well as others I was completely unfamiliar with, I was surprised to hear more people speaking German than French. Some of the artwork was thrilling to see (after viewing several Picasso pieces, I think I now have more of a glimpse of what a genius he really was), while other things were things I frankly wouldn't want to see again ("La Robe de Chair"--the meat dress, for one. I don't even want to talk about it. Yuck.) It's interesting that some artists create art that explores sound, texture, color, light, materials, etc., while others' work is so full of pain, anger and anguish. I guess it is a good thing that they have that outlet, but I am also glad that I have the right to walk past it, to choose whether or not I want to explore its themes and ideas. Art's role in society seems to have changed in the last hundred or so years. The issues artists have faced are so very different than the subject matter of the "Masters" whose work resides in the Louvre, not far away.
As Dr. B and I were heading toward the lower floors, we stopped once again to appreciate the view, and to take a look at some outdoor sculptures on the eastern end. The colors, shapes and function of each aspect of this building just seems so playful and full of joy to me, yet the museum itself houses so much pain. It really is an intriguing contrast. I will be interested to find out, in two hundred years, what "modern art" will look like, and which of the pieces in the Pompidou now will still be on display.
Of course, in two hundred years, I'll just fly in without paying for a ticket. I hope the meat dress is gone. [Shudder.]