15 Photos That Will Make You Want To Visit The Centre Pompidou in Paris

by Lindsay Shapka in , , , ,


There are A LOT of museums in Paris, and it is impossible to see them all on your first, second, or even third visit to the city.

In fact, I didn't make it to the Centre Pompidou until my third time to the city — and was that ever a mistake! Not only is the exterior of the building a must-see, the museum is home to over 100,000 works created in the 20th and 21st centuries, and an INCREDIBLE view. 

A brief history of the museum

In 1969, the French president, Georges Pompidou, decided that there needed to be a new building to host the national modern art museum, a public reading library, and new music concerts.

The site for the new museum was chosen, and a worldwide architectural competition was announced attracting 681 competitors from 49 different countries!

Architects Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers won the competition for their “evolving spatial diagram” design allowing the whole of each 7,500 m2 floor to be used to display art and be organized however the curators see fit. According to the museum website, “[i]ts innovative, even revolutionary character has made the Centre Pompidou one of the most emblematic buildings of the 20th century.”

The museum opened on February 2, 1977, and since then has been one of the most visited monuments in France.  

What you are going to see 

Considered to be Europe’s leading collection of modern and contemporary art (from 1905 until the present day), there are some seriously big names housed in this museum — Henri Matisse, Pierre Bonnard, Georges Braque, Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock, Joseph Beuys, Andy Warhol, and Yves Klein to name just a few.

You’ll see all forms of media: paintings, drawing, photography, new media, experimental film, architecture, design, industrial work, and more! (Check out the photos below for some seriously cool pieces.)

Getting there and getting in

Location: The museum is located in the 4th arrondissement of Paris, in the Beaubourg area. It is within walking distance to the river, Les Halles, rue Montorgueil, and the Marais. 
You can get there easily by metro, RER, bus, car, bicycle, foot, and however else you like to move!

Opening Hours: The museum is open every day (except Tuesdays when it is closed all day) from 11 am to 10 pm, but the exhibitions close at 9 pm.

Admission: A single ticket for admission to all galleries and the "View of Paris" is €14; a ticket just to see the "View of Paris" (no access to the galleries) is €5.
Admission is FREE to all areas of the museum on the first Sunday of every month. 

It's impossible to miss the building that houses the Centre Pompidou. Covered in colorful pipes on one side (in blue, red, green, and yellow), and the zig-zag of elevators on the other there is no mistaking it. 

This is the view (above) of the building from Rue Beaubourg, where you can enter the public reading library. The public entrance to the museum is located on the other side of the building. 

You don't have to actually buy a ticket to enter the main floor of the building, which gives you access to the cafe, fantastic museum shops, public washrooms (for those of you who just need a bathroom break), and some fun art installations, like the sculpture pictured above. 

There is always at least one visiting exhibition at the gallery, like the works of André Derain, who was a French artist, painter, sculptor and co-founder of the Fauvism movement with Henri Matisse. 

The work pictured above by Derain seemed to glow from inside the canvas (and no, it wasn't just because of the light shining on it). 

Called the Tete blanche et rose, this work by Henri Matisse looks deceptively like a Picasso. 

And then there is the Femmes deviant la mer, a gorgeous piece by Picasso.

The Centre Pompidou actually has an incredible collection of works by Picasso, even more impressive than the Picasso Museum located only a few blocks away! 

This piece by Frantisek Kupka, Plans par couleurs, was located in one of my favourite sub-rooms in the gallery that was filled with portraits of women from the most abstract to the most detailed. 

I am so in love with any black and white piece that looks like the artist moved his hand back and forth in one big flourish and then called it a day.

I'm not kidding.

This is seriously one of my favorites. 

There is just something about this work.

It is like a mix between Girl With A Pearl Earring and Grand Odalisque, which is probably why artist Martial Raysse called it Made In Japan - la grande odalisque.  

No contemporary art collection would be complete without a work by Andy Warhol. This black and white version of Elizabeth Taylor is so long that it covered an entire wall! 

The floor filled with sculptural art installations like the one above is an Instagram dream! 

See-through cubes against a black and white wall — yup.

I love modern art. 

So, from this side, this sculpture looks like an emotional, heartfelt embrace. On the other side, however, the woman is making out with another man. 

Yup. 

Modern art. 

I had to stop myself from taking too many photos on this floor, as ever piece had a huge impact, including this work of colorful subway-tile-style squares. 

The one thing that I did not expect to see at this world-renowned museum was the incredible view!

As a visitor, you travel from floor-to-floor through a series of exterior escalators and corridors that are surrounded by clear plastic tubes — kind of like hamster tubes but human-sized. 

The higher you go, the more incredible the view — the Notre Dame towers, the Eiffel Tower, and the Sacre Coeur all come into your line of sight, not to mention the beautiful Parisian buildings that surround the museum. 

If you are hoping to get some really amazing photos, wait until you get to the very top and you can check out the view unobstructed by the plastic tube.

No photo that I took does it justice, but the one above comes close! 

NOTE: I learned after the fact that you can buy a ticket just to access the view for 5 Euros if you like! 

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photos that will make you want to visit the Centre Pompidou museum in Paris
photos that will make you want to visit the Centre Pompidou museum in Paris



The Work of Damian and Ron Moppett: The Artist Studio as Art Itself

by Lindsay Shapka in ,


Yard, 1978 by Ron Moppett (sculpture)
The Feinem Building, Matza Memorial Monument and the Venezky Building with Parkade, 1977; The Babich Arena with Ehrlich Ampitheater and Parking Complex, 1997; 12th and Dragomahn St., 1997; Century City, 1997; Century City (Second Configuration), 1997; The Hendrick Kubel Monument, The McKevitt Observatory, The National Trust Town and St. Mary's Church with Expansion Wing, 1997 by Damian Moppett (photographs)

For the first time Canadian artists Ron and Damian Moppett (father and son) are exhibiting selections from their vast collection of work together at the Art Gallery of Alberta. This unique show explores the similarity in their artistic practices and the different approaches that they use to interpret the subject of the artists's studio. 

Both are studio artists which, according to Ron, means that their job is to go to the studio every day and paint (or create). Both men are devoted to their craft. 

According to the artists, this grouping was their favourite of the exhibition.
Painting Nature with a Mirror, 1985 by Ron Moppett (left)
Match, 1986 by Ron Moppett (sculpture)
The Bells, 2010 by Damian Moppett (right)

The selected works for the exhibit Damian Moppett + Ron Moppett (Every Story Has Two Sides) are pulled from no specific time period, but were chosen by how they work together when displayed side by side.

You will see pieces by Ron stretching back to the 70s and Damian's oldest pieces are from the 90s. 

The Love Letter, 2014 by Ron Moppett

Ron was born in England in 1945, moved to Canada in 1957, and has had an incredible career to date which has involved solo and group exhibitions around the world. His paintings blur realism with abstraction and he uses stencilling, cut outs and layering to create his stunning, large scale works. 

Two Plaster Sculptures in Studio with Chairs, 2007 by Damian Moppett

Damian was born in Calgary, Alberta, Canada in 1969 and works in all forms of media, including photography, sculpture, painting, video, and drawing. His pieces explore the idea of what art is and the process of making it. The artist studio, and the materials within it are represented in most of his pieces as works of art themselves.  

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7 Must-Visit Art Galleries Around The World

by Lindsay Shapka in , ,


I was recently disappointed on a visit to an art gallery while travelling in Vancouver, BC. The admission was way more than the poorly lit, unimpressive exhibits and sparse displays were worth in my opinion. The gift shop was more interesting! 

When visiting big cities, it is easy to fall into the assumption that their art galleries are going to be impressive and well-worth spending an afternoon in, but as I have often discovered, this is not always the case.

But how do you know if a gallery is going to be good or not? This post is a good place to start!  

Here is my list of galleries that are well-worth your time, and money:

1. Art Gallery of Alberta (AGA)

The structure that houses the AGA — designed by the late architect Randall Stout — is as much a work of art as the art that it houses! It is a beautiful swirl of glass, steel and zinc that is inspired by both the Northern Lights and the curve of the North Saskatchewan River that runs through the heart of the city that it is located in (Edmonton, Canada).

The exhibits are always revolving and showcase art created in Alberta, Canada, and around the world, including visiting exhibits of works from top museums and galleries in Europe! It also contains an award-winning restaurant, and a cafe with an incredible view. 

2. The Tate Modern

This blocky, industrial looking building is located on the south side of the River Thames in London, England. It houses an incredible collection of works in it's permanent galleries that are FREE to visit, and don't disappoint!

There are always a few galleries that contain paid exhibits, and these are full of works by working artists, or travelling collections of famous ones. It has a lovely cafe overlooking the river, and a rooftop restaurant. 

3. The Hamburger Banhof

After a reconstruction by architect Josef Paul Kleihues, the Hamburger Bahnhof reopened in 1996 as the Hamburger Bahnhof: Museum für Gegenwart (Museum for Contemporary Art) — one of the first state museums in Berlin devoted to "living art." 

This beautiful gallery — my absolute favourite in Berlin, Germany — is now all skylights, white walls and polished wooden floors and is the home of an outstanding collection that focuses on art created since 1960. 

The central collection is from Berlin entrepreneur Dr Erich Marx, that includes work by Beuys, Rauschenberg, Lichtenstein and Warhol (whose iconic Mao has a permanent home here).

4. The Louvre

Located in the heart of Paris, France, the Louvre will not disappoint. BUT, you must step off the beaten path a little bit, and actually absorb what you are seeing rather than try to just cross the "must-see" items off your list.

First of all, take a moment to really absorb where you are! The gallery is housed in the former royal palace and the ceilings, views, and architecture are breathtaking! There are priceless treasures in the galleries (yes, more than just the Mona), so many that you could spend days and still not see them all!

There are restaurants and cafes located on site, but they are a bit pricy. (Check out my post: Tips For Visiting The Louvre).

5. The Musee d'Orsay

I could have stayed at the Musee d'Orsay in Paris, France for days. The Impressionist works in the collection are stunning, priceless and have a home in this former train station that is now full of natural light, high ceilings, and whitewashed walls.

Like most of my favourite galleries, the building is as interesting as the art, which says a lot because the art is stunning. You will find a vast collection of works by Monet, Pissarro, Degas, and other masters. 

6. Uffizi Gallery

Located near the river in the centre of Florence, Italy, this stunning gallery showcases the best of the Renaissance with sculpture, large-scale artworks, and fascinating sketches housed in a beautiful colonnaded building.

This is the home of Botticelli's famous, breathtaking pieces "The Birth of Venus" and "Primavera" (pictured). There are incredibly long lines to get into this gallery in the summer months, but it is well worth it. 

7. Picasso Museum

This museum/gallery was a total surprise to me, as I had no idea that Picasso had done anything more than the abstract works that we know him best for.

This museum showcases his early, figurative works that are full of colour and incredibly interesting. The building is historic with gorgeous courtyards and sets the tone for the fantastic art that is displayed within. You will find it in Barcelona, Spain. 

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10 Photos That Will Make You Want To Visit The Tate Modern In London

by Lindsay Shapka in , , ,


Bust of A Woman, 1944     Pablo Picasso

Located on the south bank of The River Thames in London, the Tate Modern is the world's most popular contemporary art gallery (more than five million visitors stroll through its doors every year!), and one of the top sights in London.

Study for Homage to the Square, 1963-1964     Josef Albers

The building, that houses the more than 60,000 works on constant rotation, was once a power station that was transformed by award-winning Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron.

It is now a contemporary, light-filled space that boasts incredible views of the river and St. Paul's Cathedral. (For some great photo ops — and great coffee — head to the coffee bar on the 4th floor). 

From Line, 1978      Lee Ufan

One of the best parts about visiting galleries and museums in the UK is that admission is FREE! Yup, you read that right. There are often special exhibits that require a fee, but you will see more than you can possibly absorb with all the free art on display, so don't fret about having to shell out extra cash if you don't want to! 

If you have visited my website before, you know how much I LOVE taking photos of art when I am in Europe, and as you can imagine, I have hundreds of photos from my most recent visit to the Tate. Here are some of my favourite shots.   

Otaiti, 1930 (detail)      Francis Picabia 

Large Split Relief No. 34/4/74, 1964-5      Sergio Camargo

Fascism–The Most Evil Enemy of Women. Everyone To The Struggle Against Fascism!, 1941      Nina Vatolina

Autumn, 1948      Henri Laurens

I aspire to ripeness of form. I should like to succeed in making it so full, so juicy that nothing could be added.
— Henri Laurens

Figure (Woman), 1956-7      Magda Cordell

Planning your trip:

The Tate Modern is located on the south side of the river at Bankside. The website has VERY detailed instructions on how to get to the gallery using various forms of transport. Admission is FREE, except for special exhibitions, and the gallery is open Sun to Thu from 10 am to 6 pm, and Fri and Sat from 10 am to 10 pm. 

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The Tate Modern in London
 



The Readymade World of Marcel Duchamp

by Lindsay Shapka in , ,


When I was studying Art History, the most fascinating artists to me were the ones that made an effort to do something entirely different — the men and women that stuck their tongue out at the norm and refused to make the highbrow art world happy.

The wacky Marcel Duchamp, a Parisian who moved to New York in 1915 to escape the war, was one of these artists.

Bicycle Wheel, 1913      Marcel Duchamp    

Duchamp is most well known for his readymades — an object from popular or material culture presented as-is, without any further manipulation, as an artwork by an artist.

He believed that art should appeal to the intellect and not the senses, and thought that presenting everyday objects as art would do just that. 

His most notorious (and hilarious) readymade was the Fountain (below) —  literally a urinal that was turned 90 degrees and signed with the pseudonym "R. Mutt", a play on the manufacturer J.L. Mott Iron Works.

Fountain, 1917      Marcel Duchamp

Duchamp submitted the work anonymously to the first annual exhibition of the American Society of Independent Artists in 1917 as a test to see how open the Society was (ironically he was a founding member himself). Not surprisingly, the majority of the Society's member's declared that the piece was NOT art and they refused to exhibit it in the show.

Duchamp immediately resigned from the Society. 

Stieglitz's photo above is the ONLY known image of the original Fountain, as it mysteriously disappeared after it was rejected by the Society in New York.

Duchamp dealt with this loss by producing several more versions of the Fountain by simply buying new urinals and signing them "R. Mutt/1917" (one of the copies can be seen at SFMOMA — San Francisco Museum of Modern Art). 

Whether you agree that it is 'art' or not, you have to admit that these works elicit a reaction, and I would think a reaction to their work — which usually leads to a conversation — is ultimately what any artist hopes for. 

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The Life and Work of Celebrated Canadian Artist Alex Janvier

by Lindsay Shapka in , ,


Alex Janvier may be a prolific and significant Canadian Aboriginal Artist, but there are no teepees, totem poles, or feathered headdresses in his portfolio.

His impressive 50-year artistic career and his contribution to the art world caused him to receive the Governor General Award in 2008, but there was once a time when the Canadian government was ready to hinder, rather than help, the progression of his career.

Intrigued? So was I. 

After some research, attending a few lectures, and speaking directly to the artist himself, here is what I’ve discovered.  

The Beginning 

Janvier’s father was the last of the hereditary Chiefs in the Dene line (an Aboriginal Band that resided in the Northern boreal and Arctic regions of Canada). When he was a child, missionaries and colonizers trying to integrate the Aboriginal people into their society, broke this line by sending him to the Blue Quills Reservation School. At this school, away from his community, he was taught that the ways of his people were evil, and he suffered indescribable physical abuse at the hands of priests and teachers. 

At the age of 17 (in the 1950s), he left the reservation and began studying at the University of Alberta Faculty of Extension before registering in the Fine Arts program at SAIT (Southern Alberta Institute of Technology). At the time, he was the ONLY Aboriginal student in the school.

When the Indian Affairs department of the government caught wind that they were paying for him to receive a fine arts education, they threatened to pull funding unless he switched to a trade more suited for "Indians". Luckily, his instructors stood up for him and managed to convince the department to let him remain in the fine arts program, but only with reduced funding(!).

When he completed his studies, the department took some of his work from him as payment for his education.  Pieces that are speculated to be those taken as "payment" have recently surfaced and are pictured above. 

His Work

Another issue that the Department of Indian Affairs had with his work was that it wasn’t "Indian" enough. They expected to see totem poles, paintings of Chiefs, and dream-catchers that could be used to advertise the "Indian" culture to the outside world. 

Janvier’s work instead draws influences from surrealism and automatism, looking abstract and almost dreamlike. Though there are Aboriginal influences in his work, they are influences that will only be recognized by people who actually know anything about his culture.

For example, the Dene people use lines and dots made from rocks and sticks to communicate when on hunting trails, both of these symbols can be found in Janvier’s works. As well, the idea of automatic drawing links back to the hunter’s dream which is revered in his culture. He also uses patterns in his pieces drawn from the traditional beadwork and birch-bark artistry of his mother. 

Political Background

Coming from this background, it is not surprising that some of Janvier’s work has been somewhat political. For example, on some of his paintings, the number "287" is painted near his signature. This is his treaty number (a number assigned to him as an identifier when he was young) and was his way of protesting how Indian Affairs looked at his people as numbers instead of human beings. 

When I spoke to the artist — after he had kissed me on the cheek and tried to set me up with his grandsons — he told me that when he first started working, there was a group that included him and other Aboriginal artists that were referred to as the "Indian Group of Seven". To me, this is a label of reverence considering the Group of Seven is a celebrated group of Canadian painters whose work is known all over the world. 

Alex, however, told me that they were called this “in a mocking way” — basically being told that they could never live up to the real Group of Seven.

Other than their cultural background, there was another big difference between the two groups. Janvier and his colleagues received NO funding for the government.

The reason? They were not taxpayers. 

This funding disparity is something that the artist has continued to lobby for, along with his attempts to break through the line that separates Aboriginal Art from Canadian Art.

Right now, the two are considered different things, and Alex hopes, one day, they will be one and the same.

I couldn’t agree more. 

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The Life and Work of celebrated Canadian Artist Alex Janvier