The only thing I can really compare the Pompidou to is the Tate Modern in London. They are both on the ‘statement’ end of the modern art scale (also knows as ‘weird’, ‘WTF’ or ‘who the hell would pay money for that’), and both can be guaranteed to make me furious, curious and laugh out loud in the space of a few minutes.
What I was most shocked by on this visit was how much of the art I remembered from the first time I ever when to Paris almost ten years ago. Sure it had moved around a bit, but I thought that there was a larger art turnover in Modern art galleries (why I thought it would be any different to classical galleries is beyond me). Maybe there is a cycle of display but I just managed to double up in the ten year gap? Oh well, I guess if you have paid all that money for dozens of hanging stockings all holding different spices, you want to show it off.
One thing that the Pompidou does really well is to intersperse this hanging sock crazy-town displays with some actual real life quite good paintings. My favourite was this large scale beauty by Joan Mitchell (1974). I’m not sure if it is the colours or just how uncomplicated it is that appeals to me, but I think when I eventually buy a house a replica of this may appear as a feature wall.
The upper floor of the Pompidou is all about old modern art – think Miro, Picasso et al. I wasn’t really in the mood for angular breasts and giant walls of blue so instead I escaped onto the roof terrace to take in the stunning view over Paris.
Ironically I think that the best of the Pompidou is actually in the lobby. If you are running short of time, just take a look at the architecture on the outside, and then go inside for your Ta Da moment.