The architects, Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers, turned common assumptions about what an art gallery should be on their head. Wanting to move away from the idea of galleries as closed treasure chests to create something more open and accessible, they stripped the skin off the building and made all the "bones" visible. The infrastructure was put on the outside: escalator tubes and utility pipes, colour-coded according to their function, climb around the exterior, giving the building its crazy snakes-and-ladder appearance. A recent extensive renovation has given the centre more gallery space and a general sprucing up, with slick lighting and a stylish café and rooftop restaurant. Unfortunately, the escalator on the outside of the building, affording wonderful views over the city, is no longer free access is with the museum ticket only.
There's no monumental entrance to the centre just a large, sloping piazza, popular with buskers, magicians, mime artists and portrait painters, not to mention a small encampment of homeless people. Inside, Levels One, Two and Three are devoted to the BPI or Bibliothèque Publique (MonFri noon10pm, Sat & Sun 11am10pm; free), which has an impressive collection of 2500 periodicals including international press, 10,000 CDs to listen to and 2200 documentary films to ponder from the relative solitude of one of its 2000 seats. The Musée National d'Art Moderne presides over the fourth and fifth floors, with the sixth floor reserved for special exhibitions.
Pages in section ‘Pompidou Centre’: Musée National d'Art Moderne, Fauvism, Abstract Art, Surrealism, Pop Art, Atelier Brancusi.
|© Rough Guides 2008||Printed from http://france-for-visitors.com/paris/pompidou-centre.html||About this website|