27 May 2012

Pompidou Centre

It's our last day in Paris.  We're off to Belgrade first thing in the morning.   I'm not sure if I'll have regular access to the internet there, so blog postings may become intermittent.

We had a few hours spare, so we headed off to the nearby Pompidou Centre.   After some indecision, we acquired tickets to the art museums as well as the view (€13) rather than tickets that merely allowed us to ascend to the roof and take in the view (€3). 
Hence, we fitted in a visit to the temporary Matisse exhibition as well as to the permanent displays.   I was impressed by the Matisse exhibition.   I'm no expert on art, and I knew even less about Matisse, but the exhibition had some great works and was logically arranged.
The permanent display falls into two categories:   modern art and contemporary art.   This gallery thus picks up about where d'Orsay finishes.    "Modern art" is defined as about 1905 to 1960, and "contemporary art" is 1960 to the present day.  Both displays are arranged in a logical sequence, with quite good descriptions of where things fit in.

Not sure why this is "art"!

I liked a number of the "modern" pieces, but I struggled with many of the "contemporary" pieces.  This is not to say that some of them aren't quite "nice" to look at, but what makes them "art"?   And what is the criteria for "good" contemporary art, that is, why are some artists chosen whereas presumably there are hundreds out there that don't make the cut?   Perhaps I reveal my ignorance in asking these rhetorical questions, and maybe I should confine myself to just gazing on the various works and getting enjoyment out of those that appeal to me.

I liked this Picasso

One thought that crossed my mind was to compare this gallery with MOMA in Hobart.   Of course I'm aware that while MOMA has, I understand,  had the generous support of David Walsh, it presumably hasn't had the same resources over an extended period of years (since 1947) as the Pompidou Centre.   Nevertheless, if I recall correctly, MOMA doesn't attempt to set out its holdings in any sort of logical sequence or to categorise them to any extent - or, if it does, it wasn't obvious to me at the time of our visit.   And,  if I may say so, a very significant difference is that I didn't find any of the works at the Pompidou Centre to be confronting, as are many of the works at MOMA.    That's not intended as a criticism, as MOMA is of course at liberty to do as it wishes, but it would be a pity if MOMA gave rise to the impression that for modern/contemporary art to be "good", it must be confronting.

View towards Sacre Coeur

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