Unique is a pretty overworked description, but in the case of Gehry’s cloud-like glass and steel structure it’s the only word that does it justice. This amazing creative and technical feat, a collaboration between engineers, IT specialists, technicians, artisans and builders working together with a shared vision in partnership with Gehry and Bernard Arnault, collectively achieved the almost unimaginable. A futuristic replacement for the Palm house built in 1860 (a favourite meeting place for high society ladies of the time), the monumental building has eleven galleries (only three of which are currently open). The elegant glass sails, each one unique in radius, resemble a three-masted ship on the high seas.
The main function will be to exhibit on a rotating basis the ever evolving personal collection of Arnault’s contemporary art. Exhibitions will include SIGMAR POLKE, GERHARD RICHTER, WOLFGANG TILLMANS OLAFUR ELIASSON Gehry’s extraordinary structure is so sculptural it’s almost itself an artwork housing art. Surprisingly the galleries are somewhat ‘regular’ and unprepossessing. With such an extraordinary building, will the art exhibited match the architecture? The names sound promising. It is intending to be an arts centre in the widest sense. A large auditorium will be a meeting place for musicians and artists with a programme of symposiums, recitals and master classes as well as concerts by talents such as Lang Lang and the incredible and iconic 70’s group Kraftwerk. Go during the day to experience the incredible effect of light through the glass and the panoramic views of Paris from one of the many terraces. You can even see the Eiffel Tower. Surreal at night when the tower is illuminated like something from Disneyland, but daylight is better…. and best when it isn’t raining!
It’s quite an overwhelming experience, a bit too much to take in on a first visit. THE EYE will be returning.
On my way to the Picasso Museum I passed the small Musée Maillol (named the artist and sculptor ). Noticing there was an exhibition about the scurrilous Borgia family, THE EYE couldn’t resist going in. A family of villains you would choose to cross swords, or anything else, with. Highly skilled in the art of self promotion (mainly with the knack of killing those that stood in their way), it made some of today’s unsavoury characters appear angelic.
The Picasso Museum opens at 11.30 and you need to pre-purchase a ticket. Thinking she would beat the crowds and be there early, THE EYE made a supreme effort, gobbling down her croissant and coffee, only to find a queue of even more eager beavers that had beat her to it. Without a ticket it’s a minimum wait of over an hour. Luckily it wasn’t raining!
The museum, on four floors in the Marais, took five years to renovate. The new interior has high ceilings, chandeliers and other interior furnishings commissioned from Diego Giacometti. There is a bright modern feel to house the huge number of Picasso’s own works as well as his personal collection of works by other artists including Cezanne, Matisse, Modigliani, Douanier Rousseau and many others. The collection resulted from many years of negotiation between the Picasso heirs and the government in lieu of death duties. Although breathtaking in scope and diversity, most of the major works are in museums around the world and what is on show at the Museum are mainly works that Picasso kept and chose not to sell. But that’s a great deal even though there are none of the most ‘famous’, iconic works which can be seen at MOMA, and the MET in NY or the Art Institute of Chicago. Not a gripe just a fact.
The man was a true genius and probably the greatest artist of modern time. Paintings, sculptures, ceramics in huge numbers. Where on earth did he find the time to do it all in between womanising, socializing, and being the occasional family man?
Well, it wasn’t all about culture……
Paris was gearing up for the festive season.
A great evening. He is a terrific performer. Also warm, really engaging with the audience. On stage for the full two and a half hours with terrific musicians and singers including Joss Stone and Marc Almond. One of my group got so carried away by this blast from her past she was rocking in the aisles. The highlight for THE EYE was the incredible blues singer Ruby Turner. Love her voice and love how she belts it out.
Lots of singing on the way home!!