Thursday, 20 August 2009

Paris panoramas and contemporary arts (2)

After a walk around Belleville looking at street art, my little break in Paris continued the contemporary art theme. This time, I was back on the beaten tourist path at the Pompidou Centre.

elles@centrepompidou sees the Museum of Contemporary Art in the famous building give more than half its space to work by female artists. This thematic display from its collection not only showcases a lot of interesting and important work, but also raises questions about gender and the art museum.

It was great to see so much of the permanent collection display given over to women artists, but such attention is a relatively new departure for the museum. 40% of its art by women was bought in the last four years.

Other museums and galleries are much further behind, though: Running in Heels points out that the National Gallery shows four paintings by female artists and the Louvre ... none. This show has helped to draw attention to their poor records, and encourages us to ask: will there be more women's work on show in future? Just in case there won't, you have until January next year to see elles@pompidou.

The building is as much an attraction as the art inside for many visitors. Indeed, there is a panorama-only ticket which allows you to take the famous escalator to the top level and look out across Paris. While I wouldn't recommend missing the museum, the view is certainly worth a visit in its own right. You can even enjoy it from the rooftop restaurant terrace (although prices are high).

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